Hydrogen levels quintuple at Reactor No. 2 in last two weeks

Published: March 26th, 2012 at 6:49 pm ET
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Hydrogen Density of Primary Containment Vessel at Reactor No. 2:

  • March 11 @ 0.06%*
  • March 16 @ 0.11%
  • March 22 @ 0.18%
  • March 24 @ 0.25%
  • March 26 @ 0.30%

*Hydrogen density before the recent rise remained relatively consistent for months, ranging between 0.04% and 0.08%

Tepco handout link: http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/images/handouts_120326_06-e.pdf

 

Via Scientific American: The high temperatures that the fuel rods create boil water and continually turn it into steam. If no fresh water is introduced to cool the rods then they continue to heat up. Once the rods reach more than 1200 degrees Celsius, the zirconium will interact with the steam and split the hydrogen from the water. That hydrogen can then be released from the reactor core and containment vessel and, if it accumulates in sufficient quantities—concentrations of 4 percent or more in the air—it can explode, as has apparently occurred at reactors No. 1 and 3, and possibly No. 2 as well.

Follow-up to:

Published: March 26th, 2012 at 6:49 pm ET
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