Asahi: Tepco can’t find where huge amount of highly radioactive water is leaking at Reactor No. 2 — ‘Fractures’ in containment vessel suspected

Published: December 12th, 2012 at 9:44 am ET
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Title: TEPCO unable to locate source of leak in Fukushima reactor
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Date: December 12, 2012

TEPCO unable to locate source of leak in Fukushima reactor

The operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is grappling to locate the source of a leak of highly radioactive water in the crippled No. 2 reactor [...]

A remote-controlled robot is now scouring the basement of the reactor building [...]

TEPCO suspects the radioactive water is leaking from fractures near the pressure suppression chamber [lower part of containment vessel].

It was the first detailed inspection near the chamber. [...]

A huge volume of highly radioactive water, used to cool down the fuel, has since been leaking from the reactor, TEPCO said.

Watch: NHK: "The unimaginable was happening" -- Workers say part of Reactor 2 containment vessel destroyed -- After alarming pressure readings, "we heard a loud bang... pressure is now zero" (VIDEO)

Published: December 12th, 2012 at 9:44 am ET
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37 comments

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37 comments to Asahi: Tepco can’t find where huge amount of highly radioactive water is leaking at Reactor No. 2 — ‘Fractures’ in containment vessel suspected

  • or-well

    Ex-SKF says the robot has fallen and can't get up.


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  • weeman

    Look at the picture in article note the wall and the marks on wall, radioactive water had to be 2 or 3 ft in past.


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  • ftlt

    These bleeding non announcement announcements, that add nothing new to what has been released already, are just a tactic to convince the population that something is being done…

    It is so heartbreaking… I feel for the Japanese people…

    In WW2 the Japanese Army made almost no plans to feed their troops in the field… Other than, it was their duty to provide their own food in the field… Starvation was a leading (major) cause of death for Japanese soldiers in WW2.. This culture is still being lead by these types of leaders… It is pure insanity!!! Adding quickly – not that our are much if any better..


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    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      This is being reported by The Asahi Shimbun, the spineless cowards that bent over backwards to keep the Japanese people in the dark and protect TEPCO and the Japanese government. Everyone that works for the Asahi Shimbun (and the Japanese press, for that matter) should be forced to work on-site at Daiichi for a couple of months – without being allowed to wear dosimiters. They can read their own paper to figure out how irradiated they are. I mean, look at how concerned they were about the homeless guys that dropped dead working there.

      If they survive the two-month punishment, they must then get on their knees in public and apologize to all the people of Japan for the future pain and suffering caused by their cowardice.


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  • farawayfan farawayfan

    Might want to follow the holes left by the corium outflows. Oh wait, that's the honest answer, nm.


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    It is surprising not to see standing water in the Torus basement. Pressure was lost when molten corium overflowed the Containment and spilled into one of the pipes, like the one in the picture weeman spoke of. My guess is that the bulk of the corium melted through the bottom of the Containment, and the concrete base below it, and exited the building. There is probably little 'fuel' left in the Containment to be cooled. And all that water simply pours (rather than "leaks") right through the containment and into the hole left as the corium exited the building. That "huge volume of highly radioactive water" they are talking about is now in the Pacific Ocean.


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  • many moons

    And if the robot finds the source of the leek, will the robot be able to fix it?


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  • razzz razzz

    I can't believe the blobs have left the building, yet. If any one of the three did, that means water will begin acting as a moderator and causing fission unless water caused a hard crust to form around the blob(s) and the crust only cracks when disturbed thus releasing heat and/or allowing water in then to moderate. This is besides the ongoing and forever decay heat being released along with off gassing.

    It doesn't much matter if the melted fuel blobs are under the building(s) or still laying on concrete because either way the concrete is cracked and cracking allowing groundwater to flow around the blobs.

    If missing cooling water flowed or flows down a hole made by a blob burn through or is leaking through cracks in the concrete base-mat, it is gone into the elements i.e. groundwater tables, Pacific Ocean, aquifers.

    Unit 2 events are what happens when your reactor meltdown but doesn't exploded into the atmosphere. More melted fuel in place to contaminant everything locally.

    Could help if any crust layer that might have formed is actually a glassifying layer after heat reacting with concrete and/or sand sediments.


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    • Razz

      There are many reports of iodine-131 detections indicating ongoing criticalities

      I suppose the criticalities could be in the reactor buildings but the spread of water contamination into the pacific and into fresh water aquifers seem to indicate that the coriums are "underground."

      Also, recall that Tepco announced a complete melt-through in May of 2011


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      • WSJ Thur Nov 3, 2011 p. A11

        "Damaged Japan Nuclear Reactor May Still Be Active"

        "Nuclear fission byproducts have been detected at one of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the government said Wed, raising the possibility that some parts of the melted core may still be active"


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      • moonshellblue moonshellblue

        Does anyone know the results of the Spent Fuel Pool water analysis in reactor 3 or 4 to look for Leaker Fuel Element which is a breakdown or cracking of the cladding around the fuel pellets. This would cause fissioning in the pools and seems likely due to all the damage but hopefully not.


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      • razzz razzz

        moonshellblue, majia:

        Haven't read about any SFP water test results. I'm they have done them and know the results but they never tell the public.

        I remember TEPCO admitting the melted nuclear fuel went ex-vessel (reactor vessel) but that's about it. I don't think they would ever admit melted fuel breached the entire floor base-mat unless the entire building was falling into the bore hole left behind by the melt fuel. That would really be the end of the nuclear industry and probably the Pacific Ocean.

        They have groundwater mixing with contaminated cooling water in the tunnels, with the net result being more contaminated water than they started with or pumped in. So, I don't think the melted fuel had to actually leave the building to begin contaminating fresh groundwater.

        Now reports of contaminated water storage nearing capacity, into the ocean it goes, can't have the site unworkable with standing radiated water everywhere.


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    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      razzz says: "…water caused a hard crust to form around the blob(s) and the crust only cracks when disturbed thus releasing heat and/or allowing water in then to moderate."

      This is, in fact, what we have seen. When the corium is disturbed, it fissions due to moderation by ground water. Heat and high radiation levels result, which in turn shows up in later in sewage sludge in Japanese cities, as we saw in September and October of this year. And, we can see the results in higher radiation levels over the US, due to the release of radioactive gases and particulates. When a new crust forms on the corium, it is stabilized, and the spike in radiation releases diminishes.

      That the blobs left Buildings1,2,&3 in March of 2011 is without doubt. Corium at 2,500 – 3,500 degrees F will make quick work of mere steel and concrete. TEPCO was helpless, and didn't even get seawater flowing into the remains of Reactors1,2,&3 for weeks after 3/11/2011. We can only imagine how quickly molten corium ate through Containment Vessel floors, through the concrete base, and into the mudrock under Buildings1,2,&3. They may search the reactor buildings with robots for the next 38 years of the "clean up", but they won't find much corium left. It is long gone. Look at the condition of the Torus. The corium wasn't around even long enough to burn the red paint off. Nor do you see smoke or steam, as you would if there was corium nearby.


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      • razzz razzz

        Yeah, well, that's the part I don't get…molten fuel going into groundwater should cause it to fission and explode, worse than 3's reaction. At the very least a steam explosion. If a fuel blob diluted itself with foreign materials (besides the added boron) then it wouldn't be so radioactively hot to etch its way through concrete. Seems hard to pin point a blob for those reasons. Not that it matters, like I said, the blobs are not contained either way and exposed to the elements.

        The theory of Unit 4 filling up with hydrogen traveling from Unit 3's buildup via underground concrete channels and ducting with inoperable valves lends to 4's foundation and/or superstructure being undermined during the explosions. That's not counting any boiling off of its SFP. if the foundation is undermined, then it is worthless to build any secondary support inside the building itself. Like the spent fuel support additions. The damage on 4's lower floors is not consistent with a SFP explosion.

        These Mark I style containments were undersized to begin with on the drawing table, too small to contain a reactor meltdown. Besides the stupid design of putting holes in reactor bottom like a sieve. You don't want the molten fuel to pile up but to spread out thinly so water can carry off the heat. In a blob, water can't cool the interior. Thus the addition of hard venting immediately outside of the building because relieving pressure is all that can be done. Fuku didn't even have that.


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        • Sickputer

          Razzz sez: "Yeah, well, that's the part I don't get…molten fuel going into groundwater should cause it to fission and explode, worse than 3's reaction. At the very least a steam explosion."

          SP: It was all theory even in the mad miner scramble to dig a cooling tunnel at Unit 4 in 1986. Maybe the China Syndrome explosion is not as big as they feared. They obviously had three massive meltdowns at Japan to show that result.

          Maybe steam offgassing like we saw in Daiichi was the biggest fireworks. We will know someday… They will have meltdowns again at other locations. Probably in America, India, or China. If they steam radioactivity like a fog storm…we will have our answer.


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      • omniversling

        PuN
        "We can only imagine how quickly molten corium ate through Containment Vessel floors, through the concrete base, and into the mudrock under Buildings1,2,&3."

        Some calculations I made last year (repost):

        GE Mk1 reactors the control (hahahaha) rods come up from underneath, as they melted down with the fuel rods there would have been molten corium flowing down through the holes that the control rods pass though into the control rod drive cavity, quite probably enlarging the holes as it flowed. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Reaktor.svg

        At 2400-2800c corium burns through concrete at the rate of 5cm per hour, and the base of the concrete dry well beneath the pressure vessel is about 8m as far as I can discover (anyone with better knowledge?). The time it would have taken the corium to burn through that thickness is about 160 hours. There are 24 hours in a day so 160 hours is 6.6666 days. There's one for the numerologists amongst us! Debbil's work for sure..

        So let's say that after the fuel to start melting following the main cooling system failure during the earthquake (not tsunami, earthquake that fractured the cooling pipes), within about a week the corium would have been into the ground. Providing of course the thermal power of the corium was not exhausted by the concrete as is passed through.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corium_%28nuclear_reactor%29


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Too bad there isn't an antidote for a meltdown, because the radioactive water is permeating the land, continuously.


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  • vivvi

    Tepco couldn't find it's own ass with a mirror, both hands, and a copy of greys anatomy


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  • Sol Man

    I am grappling with this. Why is it that tptb can give the world erroneous non-solutions to the trade-political-banking-energy issues of the world, and what the People get out of the deal is misery/disease/war/death? And, all the while the power structure lives in the lap of luxury? These convoluted issues confound.
    Maybe O/T, sorry.


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