Today’s NHK news regarding status of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station as of 21:00 on March 31
They are making slow progress on the water removal.
●Work continues to remove contaminated water Tokyo Electric Power Company is continuing its efforts to remove radioactive water pooled in the basement of the turbine buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The presence of water contaminated by high-level radiation at the Number 1 through Number 3 reactors is hampering work to restore the reactors' cooling systems. It is not easy trying to extract the water because some of the tanks into which it is to be fed are themselves full. By Thursday morning, work was over to empty a tank into which contaminated water from the turbine building of the No. 3 reactor will be stored temporarily. On the same day, a similar operation to empty a tank started at the No.1 reactor. Work is also continuing to remove contaminated water found in tunnels just outside the No. 1 reactor building. On Thursday, work began to transfer the water from the tunnel to a storage tank to prevent it from flowing out to sea. Tepco says that by the day's end, the water level in the tunnel has lowered by about one meter. Tepco will install monitoring cameras to keep track of the water levels in the tunnels to prevent any overflow. Also on Thursday, unfavorable weather conditions forced Tepco to postpone a plan to spray a synthetic chemical on the radioactive debris scattered on the grounds of the plant as a result of a series of explosions at the plant in mid-March. Tepco is hoping that the adhesive chemical will prevent the radioactive dust from being carried away by winds
Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:43 +0900 (JST)
●Nuclear watchdog defends its decision
Japan's nuclear safety watchdog says it sees no reason to change the zone for which the government advised residents to stay indoors or evacuate voluntarily. The Nuclear Safety Commission made the remark to reporters on Thursday, following reports by the IAEA that radiation levels twice as high as its criterion for evacuation were detected in soil at a village outside the zone. Commission member Seiji Shiroya said evacuation criteria in Japan are decided according to how much radiation people would be exposed to, not radiation levels in the ground. He said the IAEA's findings should be used as references, but that the commission's decision on the zone is correct. Shiroya said the commission studies various factors, including radiation levels in the air and amounts of airborne radioactive substances taken into the body through breathing and eating. He said the IAEA probably measured radiation on a grass surface with available equipment, but that he believes the commission's figures are more accurate when considering the effect on the human body.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:37 +0900 (JST)
●IAEA reports high radiation outside exclusion zone
The International Atomic Energy Agency says radiation levels twice as high as its criterion for evacuation were detected in a village 40 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. This is outside the 20 kilometer exclusion zone and the 20-to-30 kilometer alert zone where the Japanese government advises voluntary evacuation. The nuclear watchdog reported the findings at a meeting of its members in Vienna on Wednesday. The IAEA said its experts measured levels of Iodine 131 and Cesium 137 in soil around the plant between March 18th and 26th. It said measurements in Iitate Village, 40 kilometers northwest of the Fukushima plant, was double the IAEA operational criteria for evacuation and that it has advised Japan to carefully assess the situation. In Tokyo on Thursday, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that the government has been notified by the IAEA of its radiation findings. Edano said the reported radiation levels in Iitate will not have an immediate impact on human health but could be harmful if exposed over a long period of time. He said the government will closely assess the long-term impact and take appropriate action.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 13:29 +0900 (JST)
●Plant workers rushing to remove contaminated water
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, is stepping up efforts to remove radioactive water pooled around reactors at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The water has been hampering work to cool the reactors. Water contaminated by high-level radiation has been found inside turbine buildings at the No.1 through No.4 reactors, as well as in tunnels outside the buildings. On Thursday, workers began transferring about 150 tons of contaminated water from the No.1 reactor tunnel to a storage tank to prevent it from flowing out to sea. They have so far lowered the water level in the tunnel by about one meter. They're also expected to finish emptying tanks into which water from turbine condensers would be transferred, so the condensers could then take contaminated water from the turbine buildings at the No.1 through No.3 reactors. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says work to remove contaminated water from the No.3 reactor turbine building basement finished on Thursday morning. Tepco continues to transfer radioactive water from the turbine building at the
Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:57 +0900 (JST)
●Radiation in seawater at new high
Radiation 4,385 times higher than the legal standard has been detected in seawater at a location 330 meters south of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Tokyo Electric Power Company says 180 becquerels per cubic centimeter of radioactive iodine-131 have been detected in seawater sampled on Wednesday afternoon. The figure is far above the 3,355-times level detected on Tuesday. Wednesday's sampling also revealed cesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years, at a level 527 times higher than the legal standard. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says no fishing is being carried out in waters within 20 kilometers of the plant, and the radiation is likely to be diluted significantly by the time humans take it in through seafood. The agency says it will monitor radiation levels in seawater at points 15 kilometers from the plant, in addition to surveys being carried out by the science ministry at 30-kilometer points.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:55 +0900 (JST)
●Areva to help TEPCO remove contaminated water
The head of the Japanese subsidiary of the world's largest nuclear energy firm says he is ready to help remove contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima plant. The news comes after radioactive iodine-131, about 3,355 times regulated standards, was found in the sea near the Daiichi power plant on Tuesday - the highest recorded level so far. The President of AREVA Japan, Remy Autebert said his firm is ready to provide Tokyo Electric Power Company with all the knowledge it has accumulated in dealing with contaminated water. At an NHK interview on Wednesday, Autebert said that 5 experts of the France-based firm had been sent to Japan and will provide technical assistance. AREVA says it has previously dealt with removing contaminated water from decommissioned power plants
Thursday, March 31, 2011 08:01 +0900 (JST)
●Test to contain radioactive dust
Teams working on the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are going to use a synthetic resin to try and prevent radioactive dust from becoming airborne or being washed into the sea. The hydrogen explosions earlier this month at the Number One and Three reactors spread contaminated dust and debris over a wide area.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company will begin sprinkling synthetic resin in certain places from Thursday. The resin is water-soluble and it is hoped that it will contain the contaminated dust. TEPCO will use 9000 liters of synthetic resin to produce a 60000 liter solution. It will be sprinkled around the Number four and six reactors using water trucks. TEPCO will study whether the sprinkling prevents the dispersal of radioactive material. If successful, it will expand the scope of the sprinkling.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 07:57 +0900 (JST)
●Troubles at Fukushima plant persist
Workers are still struggling to resolve the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant where the disposal of radioactive water is hindering cooling efforts. The chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company, Tsunehisa Katsumata told reporters on Wednesday that it is uncertain when cooling functions can be restored to stabilize the situation at the plant. He also said he doesn't think residents who have had to evacuate their homes near the plant will be able to return for several weeks. Radioactive iodine and cesium have been found in water coming from a tunnel outside the turbine building of the No.1 reactor and in the basement of the turbine buildings of reactors No.1 to 4. Work to pump the contaminated water into the turbine condenser came to a halt at the No. 1 reactor after the condenser became full. Meanwhile, work to pump water out of the basements of the No. 2 and 3 reactors has yet to begin. Some 600 tons of water inside the tunnel at the No. 1 reactor is to be moved to a tank near the No. 4 reactor, but no plan has yet been made to pump the radioactive water from the basements of the No. 2 and 3 reactors. Radioactive iodine measuring 3,355 times above the safety standard was found in seawater near the power plant on Tuesday. The power company plans to monitor radiation levels in the ocean by collecting additional seawater samples 15 kilometers offshore. On Wednesday, it measured radiation levels in the air in 23 locations within a 20 kilometer radius of the plant. Though external power has been restored to the central control room of the No. 1 reactor, more checks must be made of key equipment and instruments before the electricity is turned on.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 07:56 +0900 (JST)
●Smoke from Fukushima Daini
nuclear plant Tokyo Electric Power Company says smoke was seen coming out of electrical equipment in the turbine building at the No.1 reactor of the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant. The Daini plant is located about 10 kilometers south of the crippled Daiichi plant. The company says an alarm was activated at around 5:50 PM on Wednesday to show an abnormality in the electrical equipment on the 1st floor of the turbine building. Company workers confirmed smoke was being emitted from equipment which supplies power to a motor pump that collects outdoor water. The company says the workers turned off the motor and that the smoke stopped at around 6:13 PM. The company is investigating cause of the smoke, and suspects trouble with the electric equipment. It says all 4 reactors at the plant are safely shut down with their temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 21:02 +0900 (JST)
●TEPCO chief shows no road map to end nuclear accident
The chief of the Tokyo Electric Power Company says he cannot now present a road map for resolving the serious accident at the firm's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, as many factors remain unclear. TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata made the remark at a news conference on Wednesday. He said a large volume of underground water with a high concentration of radioactive substances beneath the facility is hampering his firm's all-out efforts to cool reactors of the plant. He stressed the need to quickly restore the plant's cooling system. Katsumata added that salt residue from seawater used to cool the reactors should be removed from the plant to prevent corrosion. He said TEPCO faces the challenge of preventing radioactive substances from leaking out of buildings and nuclear reactor vessels. He referred to containment of radiation by covering reactors with concrete walls that would serve as a shield, as was done for the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine. Katsumata also said the firm is jointly examining all available technologies with officials and experts of the Japanese, US and French governments.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 20:32 +0900 (JST)