Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another Leak at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant, Saved by (Probably) Duct Tape

Now that the accident is officially "over", Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant takes on an atmosphere of a deserted, abandoned place where occasional maintenance is done with all-mighty duct tape. (Nothing against duct tape.)

A TEPCO worker found a leak from a Kanaflex hose near the Reverse Osmosis facility (part of desalination process) during a routine inspection round. The water was not radioactive, as it was the filtered water from the nearby river that TEPCO has been using to mix with the treated water before the water is injected back into the reactors for cooling. The leak was plugged by a tape, but the leak hasn't completely stopped (one drip per 2 minutes, according to TEPCO's handout for the press, 12/29/2011). TEPCO plans to replace the hose. (I hope so.)

From TEPCO's press release on December 29, 2011:

It looks like a puncture. By the way, there are apparently a number of similar punctures throughout the length of the hoses that make up the water injection system. Some of them due to quality problem, but many of them are caused by a weed (Imperata cylindrica L.). The weed pierced through the Kanaflex pipes all over the plant as it grew during the summer; now it is winter and the plants shrivel and die off, unplugging the holes they had made and causing small leaks all over the place. One tough weed.

I suppose this is not what NISA and TEPCO had expected. Totally "so-tei-gai" (想定外).


Anonymous said...

Great..leaking sieve of water..radioactive or not..what kind of quality control....and a weed to take down TEPCO. Revenge of nature!

Nancy said...

Someone call the duct tape technicians

Anonymous said...

If they need to add water to the cooling loop, how much and where is the water leaving? And how contaminated it the missing water?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@nancy, hehehe. If it is good enough for Apollo 13, it is good enough for Kanaflex at Fuku-I.

Atomfritz said...

Tepco speaks of "Tepco staff on patrol".
I wonder if they have now implemented patrolling?

Sounds strange to me, after spills of hundreds of cubic meters recently have only be found just by chance, and not by patrolling.

And, as only the little-radioactive tubing has been put into thermal insulation, but not the high-radioactive tubing, because this work would be too dangerous for the workers, I ask myself if they patrol the high-radioactive tubing at all.

Anyway, winter just started. The weeds get frozen, hard and dangerous to tubing. We are in for more surprises...

Anonymous said...

TEPCO has already presented us with a hell lot of surprises. We do not need any more surprises from them.

I recently discovered the following dispersion model, which someone had linked to Berkeley’s discussion page. It uses TEPCO emission data to model possible dispersion patterns for Neptunium and Plutonium

If this model is accurate, it is very disturbing. Where are all of the so-called experts who claimed these elements were too heavy to travel far from the plant site?

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