Thursday, January 19, 2012

(At Least) 1,100 Tonnes of Highly Contaminated Water Found in Trenches at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

No, this is not April 2011 when they found water whose surface radiation exceeded 1000 millisieverts/hour. (We weren't told how high it was, as their survey meter went overscale.)

TEPCO, ever since they found water leaking into the ocean from the evaporative condensation apparatus (desalination process) in December, has been checking the trenches that they know exist in the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant compound, and just about everywhere they look they are finding contaminated water of varying radioactivity in indeterminable amount.

The discovery on January 19 was rather "hot", as TEPCO's announcement shows:

Discharge valve pit of circulating water pump of Unit 2 pump room

  • Amount of "puddle": 500 cubic meters (500 tonnes)

  • Surface dose rate: 45 microsieverts/hour

  • Cesium-134: 7.1 x 10^3 Bq/cubic centimeter, or 7,100,000 Bq/liter

  • Cesium-137: 9.1 x 10^3 Bq/cubic centimeter, or 9,100,000 Bq/liter

Discharge valve pit of circulating water pump of Unit 3 pump room

  • Amount of "puddle": 600 cubic meters (600 tonnes)

  • Surface dose rate: 21 microsieverts/hour

  • Cesium-134: 3.8 x 10^2 Bq/cubic centimeter, or 380,000 Bq/liter

  • Cesium-137: 4.8 x 10^2 Bq/cubic centimeter, or 480,000 Bq/liter

They found two other trenches with contaminated water, with lower radioactivity. The locations of the above two pits are shown on this map. The only place where they didn't find any "puddle" was the Unit 2 Common Piping Duct:

Here's the summary table of discoveries of trenches with "puddles" of radioactive water:

I find it interesting that the surface dose rates do not necessarily correspond to the amount of radioactive cesium in the water. I believe they are measuring gamma rays, not beta. I wonder if TEPCO bothers testing other nuclides.

TEPCO assures us that the company doesn't think there are leaks to the ocean, because all the trenches that lead to the ocean have been plugged. They are very incurious as to where the water came (or is coming) from.

It may be good to recall what carried the water highly contaminated with strontium to the ocean in December was a regular side drain, not the concrete trenches and ducts.


Anonymous said...

well, it's to be expected that they are incurious. there is no way to tell which water came from where.

There's rainwater that got contaminated and ended up in these ditches. There was and probably still is outflow from the flooded PCVs. There's tsunami water in the basements of the turbine buildings. An unholy mess of pipes, cable penetrations, ditches, drains and pits connects it all.

It's pointless to lose sleep over this. You drain it as best you can, hope there isn't more to come and move on with the program.

no6ody said...

It's to be expected that they are incurious? Of course. If they actually found leaks and the media did their job of reporting, T3Pco would have to fix them, and that costs ¥ that could go to their stockholders. It doesn't make it a good thing, tho.

It's to be expected that they would be dishonest, and not disclose actual radiation levels, real leakage rates, and avoid revealing if any additional contamination goes into the ocean/air/groundwater. Above all, expect them to transfer as much of the cost of cleanup to the environment, government, and the Japanese people. That's the program. Delay, delay, and run away with the loot before it all comes crashing down.

Anonymous said...

When TEPCO "leaks" info to the media, they are already aware of the dire situation, and are doing "media" control. Every single sentence--is designed for specific goals. Right now, think they are letting these levels of contamination out-so when they tell the public of the extent of the contamination to LAND, it does not seem high. They are desensitizing the publics' perception. Also, the water being reported on--isnt cesium the one element they can not filter out with the reverse osmosis systems which dont work very well? So this may be from those darn plastic/cheap pipes installed after the earthquake. You know, those pipes who are not permanent? The very very cheap ones with the duct tape all over?

Anonymous said...

"It's to be expected that they would be dishonest, and not disclose actual radiation levels, .."

Millions of becquerels PER LITER, a camera technically rated at 1000 Sievert stressed by radiation levels in the CV, a blowout panel that actually blew, and we're to believe this stuff has not steadily been entering the atmosphere unobstructed ?

the picture

Chibaguy said...

@anon 12:04

Tepco doesn't care. What is this "program" you are not losing sleep over?

Atomfritz said...

The first trench alone with 500 cubic meters of radioactive water that EX-SKF mentioned contains "only" 8 trillion becquerels (or 220 curies) of radioactive cesium.

Maybe Tepco actually cannot do much about changing this.
If they would pump away the water, the radiation of the stuff that got logged in the concrete and the trench sludge would no longer be shielded by the water.

And this again could possibly actually worsen the radioactivity situation on the plant working areas around the trenches, which has to be avoided at all cost.

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