Monday, July 18, 2011

Japan Nuclear Plant Finally Taking Center Recommendation

A trial fitting last month of a cover
 for Fukushima Daiichi's Unit 1 No. 1,
meant to limit the release of radioactive material.
It appears that Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) is taking the Center's recommendation to cover the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex.  It appears that they are achieving a  "cold shutdown" in which the reactor cores are kept under 100 degrees Celsius, the boiling point of water.  Tepco is also injecting nitrogen into the most heavily damaged unit, No. 3, following similar work on units No. 1 and No. 2. The nonreactive nitrogen is meant to prevent outside air from entering the containment structures, where the air's oxygen can react explosively with the hydrogen produced by the damaged reactors. Hydrogen-oxygen explosions shortly after the disaster were blamed for most of the radiation dispersals that forced the evacuation of everyone within 12 miles of the plant.

Tepco is also attempting the treat the highly radioactive water strewn all over the facility.  They are using a U.S.-French-designed water-treatment system.  Tepco plans to protect the facility from additional damage by another earthquake and tsumani.

The Center has been recommending a sarcophagus over the facility for months.  The site should also be hardened to prevent the escape of contaminated water.  Such protective measures should include a cover or covers that completely prevents the release of additional radiation into the environment.    (WSJ, 7/17/2011Photo courtesy Tepco/European Pressphoto Agency)

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