NHK: Water level “far lower than previously thought” at Reactor No. 2 — Just two feet deep — Anticipated it was 5 times higher — Decommissioning reactor could be “much more difficult” (PHOTO)

Published: March 26th, 2012 at 12:48 pm ET
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Title: TEPCO: Just 60cm of water in Fukushima reactor
Source: NHK World
Date: March 26, 2012 at 21:40 JST

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has found that the cooling water in one of the damaged reactors at Fukushima is only 60 centimeters deep, far lower than previously thought. [...]

TEPCO had thought that the water level was about 3 meters [9.84 feet]. [...]

[...] indicates that the water continues to leak into the reactor building through the suppression chambers under the vessel.

The utility argues that the fuel is still being cooled [...]

But the low level suggests that decommissioning the reactor could be much more difficult. The operator may need to repair more parts of the containment vessel so it can be filled with water to block the strong radiation. [...]

Read the report here

Tepco Press Handout:

SOURCE: Tepco

Title: Water level of Fukushima No. 2 reactor only 60 cm above bottom
Source: Kyodo
Date: March 26

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Monday found that the water filling the No. 2 reactor’s primary containment vessel is only 60 centimeters above the bottom when it checked the interior of the crippled reactor using an endoscope.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Junichi Matsumoto [...]  acknowledged that the lower-than-expected water level suggests that a large part of the injected water is leaking from the vessel. [...]

Read part of the report here

Published: March 26th, 2012 at 12:48 pm ET
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26 comments

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  1. UPI: Fukushima at risk of a new meltdown — Level of cooling water 29 feet lower than estimated March 30, 2012
  2. Tepco backpedals on No. 2 water level: “Possibly” 2.8 meters of water inside reactor, had been claiming much higher — Now just “quite unlikely” fuel is exposed January 20, 2012
  3. NHK: “Possibility that there is little water left inside the Number 2 reactor” because of full meltdown — New gauge measuring water level not operating because temps are too high June 25, 2011
  4. AP: “Hardly any cooling water inside one of the reactors” — Water level only 6% of estimate — Radiation at 10 times fatal dose March 27, 2012
  5. Asahi: Fukushima chief Yoshida felt “explosion occurred in the containment vessel” at Reactor No. 2 — Yet none of 4 special investigations have explained why it will only hold 2 feet of water May 1, 2012

26 comments to NHK: Water level “far lower than previously thought” at Reactor No. 2 — Just two feet deep — Anticipated it was 5 times higher — Decommissioning reactor could be “much more difficult” (PHOTO)

  • jahdesm jahdesm

    60 centimeters of water enough to cooling the core ,what a bullshit


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    • aigeezer aigeezer

      Yes, this begs the question "where is the corium", doesn't it? If the top of the water is 2 feet above the bottom of a slope-sided vessel, that doesn't seem to leave a lot of room for core material in the same vessel.

      We are inching closer to the truth, I guess.


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      • kongrufus kongrufus

        @Aigeezer:
        I very much agree! Considering that the volume of water needed to keep even just a quarter of the original core material cool has got to be a lot more than what two feet of water in the RPV amounts to, there simply can't be anything more than a minute smudge of corium left in there. We should scream this point out loud to as many people as possible every opportunity we get. THIS MUST PROVE THAT FUKUSHIMA DAICHII HAS SUFFERED THE WORLDS FIRST FULL CHINA SYNDROME!!!!


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      • gottagetoffthegrid

        aigeeze on your questions regarding where the fuel is/might be:

        for reference have a look at this image– my comments below reference it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Reaktor.svg

        the camera is taking pictures inside the primary containment vessel, not the reactor pressure vessel. the fuel would have fallen into the room with numbers "19" and "13" (and has probably burnt down through "20".

        the camera was inserted into the room with "14" in it.


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        • aigeezer aigeezer

          Thanks, gotta. That is very useful – I keep forgetting the details amid all the claims and counterclaims.

          I seem to remember that #18 was once suggested as the vessel of last resort, but that most people here seem to think it's mainly a question of how far down #20 it really is, and estimates have ranged from feet to miles.


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          • aigeezer aigeezer

            … and #18 is the water in the #24 "doughnut", to be more precise, and our source "Happy" thinks the core may have gone there.

            I'm not sure if that means he thinks it is still present in #24, or if he thinks it exited down through there and beyond.

            Burning through #18/#24 may be even easier than burning through the center of #20, depending on the effectiveness of the water, I imagine.

            Thanks again for the diagram. I hope I'm interpreting things appropriately.


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  • 3C

    Wait a minute, I'm confused.
    Where is the corium?
    Oh! I forgot, it is on it's way back to GE.
    (And that's no joke)


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  • The coolant level is 2 feet…

    This will make decommissioning the reactor difficult:

    What that means:

    The fuel inside the reactor has melted to almost nothing (as the average fuel rod is 13-18feet long).

    Hence the difficulty. / (impossibility).


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  • Replacant Replacant

    So they dont know whats going on in the reactors, gasp shocked surprise {sarcasm off} Where are the geological scans of the plant with images of whats happening underneath? They can do that to discover natural gas to go fracking, why cant they look to find the corium? I guess it costs too much money, like evacuating the areas most heavily contaminated.


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  • Sirius

    Irony on: If 60cm are enough, let's lower the risk of all that heavy useless water in all reactors around the world and make it the new official safety level. /Irony off


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Is the low water level effecting the outpouring of radiation? ..because I was thinking of going for a bike ride. But probably won't now.


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  • Wreedles Wreedles

    It seems from this that they've done another endoscopy…

    Where are the videos?

    Where are the temerature measurements?

    Where are the radiation measurements?


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  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    "But the low level suggests that decommissioning the reactor could be much more difficult. The operator may need to repair more parts of the containment vessel so it can be filled with water to block the strong radiation. [...]".

    What's so hard about decommissioning Reactor 2? Empty the remaining water from Containment 2, and fill it with concrete. Not much of the corium remains in Containment 2 any longer. Try looking about 60' beneath Containment 2. Oh, wait. I'll bet you HAVE looked, and know EXECTLY where Corium 2 is located. You are just not telling the public! And the docile Japanese public continues to let you guys walk around free?!


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  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    It's now safe to conclude: Corium 2 is x-Containment 2.


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  • Radio VicFromOregon

    So, this might be what Arnie Gundersen is talking about. The pancake effect. The density of the melted fuel into a pancake shape reduces the fissioning considerably save for the fuel that makes it's way into crevices and also out the reactor. This would put off lower rad and temp readings allowing TEPCO to say all is well, including the alim that water is covering the fuel, while in reality, the core is undercovered, but fissioning at a lower level. A deadly deception, which would also make retrieving the corium impossible.


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  • Well isn't the cooling water somewhat like an automobile cooling system? They are pumping water into the core to cool it but the water is recirculating. So they must have known all along that the coolant water was leaking big time by all the new water they have been adding. Where is all that water going? The basement foundation must have cracks so irradiated water is constantly leaking into the surrounding soil and most likely into the ocean. This is definitely the biggest pollution event we have ever seen and ruining an important global food source the Pacific Ocean. Completely criminal and nothing being said about it. My Prime Minister of Canada Stephan Harper is touring Japan. Framed around the "Tsunami Disaster". More whitewash. Sure the earthquake and tidal wave sucked big time but the ongoing radiation releases and three melt throughs (wheres the corium guessing games) is a huge news event that is obviously purposefully ignored and sucks even more.

    God Bless


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  • entropy

    If we strip away all the bs tepco has been spreading. But believe even they were so suprised by the water they let us know. The fuel went up or down. Sideways, there is no evidence of it. Up went some, down went some and it has sunk so low, 2feet of water covers it. Difficulty in decon because, with that level of water, the radiation must be astronomical. Then if we don't believe tepco at all, it all went up and this endoscope is subterfuge so we don't sue before the end.


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  • chrisk9

    Where they are measuring appears to be through penetrations into the suppression chamber (torus area). That is not where I would think the melted fuel could possibly be located. Directly under the vessel in the drywell basement is where pressure vessel control rod drive and instrument penetrations are located. Due to gravity and weaknesses in the penetrations themselves the fuel should have fallen directly into this basement area. This is historically where very high dose rates and potential for very hot particles exists. From my experiences I would guess that this area is where one would find a large quantity of melted fuel.

    Decommissioning!! what the ****, the only way to take measurements is through penetrations with a team of 35 people who still get a fairly large dose. People can hardly get through the top door of the suppression chamber because of the dose rate, much less be able to enter the drywell at all.

    I also like how even TEPCO's report is ambiguous. The survey map and dose report could have been much clearer and complete, and is less complete than normal operating standards for a normal plant survey.


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    • Reactor 2 blew out the containment-torus conduit early in the accident, right at ground level. Same time period units 1, 3 and 4 were blowing up (first days). And TEPCO reported containment breach for unit 2 months before admitting breach at the others.

      If you look at the damage reports from when they scoped the TMI2 core you can see that the molten corium can have an odd angle of drainage to the vessel wall, and control rod drives in a BWR can help more to isolate the melt-through at an angle rather than straight down into the dry-well. From the first endoscopy videos it's clear they were looking at the torus vents (we only saw an intact one, of course) because they knew from just days into the accident that's where the corium went. The torus itself was breached rather quickly, and unit 2 was the first one we were told was leaking to the trenches and sea.

      Thus 60 cm of water in the containment below the conduits is likely irrelevant to where the corium is, in my opinion.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    @JoyB..I agree.
    http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/images/handouts_111130_08-e.pdf
    Page 10 discusses Unit 2..
    Losts going on considering.."cold shut-down" has been attained(sarc).


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