Tepco: Frozen water ruptures pipes at Fukushima plant — Cooling system stops at Spent Fuel Pool No. 4

Published: January 29th, 2012 at 11:10 am ET


Title: Frozen water blamed for leaks at Fukushima plant
Source: NHK
Date: Sunday, January 29, 2012 23:42 +0900 (JST)
Emphasis Added


  • Tokyo Electric Power Company has found water leaks in 14 locations at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant
  • Leaks apparently occurred after frozen water ruptured the pipes
  • [Tepco said] leaked water did not contain any radioactive materials
  • [Tepco] said about 40 liters of water leaked from a cooling system for a spent fuel pool at the No.4 reactor
  • Leak forced the system to stop for one hour and 40 minutes, but the pool’s temperature did not rise
  • Tokyo Electric said 7 tons of water had leaked from the No.6 reactor
  • Ruptured pipes caused 3 water leaks on the previous day
  • [Tepco] official Junichi Matsumoto admitted that the utility failed to take sufficient steps to prevent frozen pipes

Read the report here

See also: [intlink id=”mainichi-absolutely-progress-being-made-fukushima-plant-reporter-japanese-media-turned-away-issue-story” type=”post”]Mainichi: “Plastic piping [is] likely to freeze and crack in the winter” -Fukushima Worker[/intlink]

UPDATE: [intlink id=”tepco-leakage-included-radioactively-contaminated-water-only-cesium-removed-nhk-claimed-radioactivity” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]


Published: January 29th, 2012 at 11:10 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Tepco: “Radioactively contaminated water” came from ruptured frozen pipes — Only cesium was removed — NHK had claimed no radioactivity January 29, 2012
  2. Tepco Employee: What are they doing? Predicted that pipes would freeze causing water leakage — Now 23 points leaking — Tepco: “It’s hard to keep man power” January 31, 2012
  3. Fox News: “Leak at Fukushima nuclear plant threatens dangerous meltdown… Trouble is looming” — Officials: “No idea when it can resume cooling system for spent fuel pool” (PHOTOS) July 7, 2014
  4. Kyodo: Alarm sounds at Fukushima plant, Unit 4 cooling system stops (VIDEO) February 24, 2014
  5. NHK: Another fuel pool loses cooling system at Fukushima Daiichi — CBC: May take days to repair March 18, 2013

50 comments to Tepco: Frozen water ruptures pipes at Fukushima plant — Cooling system stops at Spent Fuel Pool No. 4

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    What a surprise. Now take a look at Tepco’s state-of-the-art anti-freeze insulation (page 15)


      • arclight arclight

        “For a given length, a smaller-bore pipe holds a smaller volume of water than a larger-bore pipe, and therefore water in a smaller-bore pipe will freeze more easily (and more quickly) than water in a larger-bore pipe (presuming equivalent environments). Since smaller-bore pipes present a greater risk of freezing, insulation is typically used in combination with alternative methods of freeze prevention (e.g., modulating trace heating cable, or ensuring a consistent flow of water through the pipe).”


        bad planning?

        • arclight arclight

          maybe someone didnt get the non existant memo??

        • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

          Dear Arc: You are on top of the details illuminating big pictures, for sure! TYVM. This more than amply shows how little real, if only administrative, concern beyond cosmetics, palliative retail reality for dumbed down and non-motivated public consumption (all efforts for show) there are going on under TEPCO, Japanese and U.S. Gov’ts. and all associated with the FukuDai Cataclysm (FC?). Thank you again.

        • Crime against Humanity via negligence

      • jec jec

        Workers cant read. Since some workers are said not to be able to read , not a surprise–and could be foreign workers. If instructions given ?? but basic cold weather precautions to anyone who lives where it freezes. And just a thought, foreign hires may go home with a special radioactive PRESENT to their families.
        DUH.. or maybe DUD?

        • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

          Dear Jec: You also make an excellent point that illuminates the larger context, which is “the workers can’t read” (sometimes or often). This is true. TEPCO and the larger Japanese nuclear power programs have historically always relied on the uneducated, and socially most oppressed Japanese and foreign labor for their most dangerous nuclear power plant and waste handling work. Surely many of these humans, equally valuable to all of us in universal reality, are not always able to read. This reliance on members of the Japanese milieu who are already so routinely discriminated against by a culturally bigotted larger Japanese population makes it so much easier to sweep nuke worker maladies under the carpet, or into some incinerator. This hiding of the , injured, dead and dying workers with a pall of bigotry is, apparently, almost always by previous reports and testimony that we’ve seen in ENE, done with nearly any INFANT born in Japan who has obvious external and observable medical and genetic problems. There are going to be lots more ashes and bones of dead infants AND nuke workers as time rolls on without any real cold containment and as long as we allow the incinerators (ovens of Dachau!) to keep doing their thing without EXTERNAL observers (both foreign and representative cross-sections of Japanese citizens themselves). The U.S. is not culturally off the hook. What the Japanese larger culture allows to happen in Japanm we afflict BILLIONS of foreign workers abroad in more than 150 countries where our parasitic, murderous corporations and qualitatively do no less immoral and non-humanist, acts of murder. it is NOT all relative. Supporting a nation like China, by exporting most of our higher paying jobs there, where they have ZERO real worker protections and NO EPA, is a great example of the fact that U.S. citizens are no better than the Japanese culture that sees that nearly all physically deformed babies are incinerated or placed in dumpsters.

    • Gotham

      It seems the pipes inside the building are the ones that are freezing and bursting – not the cooling pipes.

  • dosdos dosdos

    Off for 100 minutes, and no temperature rise in #4 SFP?

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      …no significant rise which would have an immediate effect on human health, that is. Probably.

      But I think it helps if the surrounding temp is -8Β°C….strange though.

    • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

      Dear Dos: Logically, and in agreement with you, that sounds very radioactively fishy. lol (the electricity not cooling a super radioactive cache of spent fuel for 100 minutes without any warming–the only thing that comes to mind as to why maybe that has any remote chance of being true is just that it was cold outside; but I do not thing that’s how it works. More likely, there was an increase in temperature.)

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    I recall the picture of the bulging pipes & I suspect that those pipes burst *too.

    Does someone have a picture of those orange bulging pipes?

    I like how they snuck in:

    Tokyo Electric said 7 tons of water had leaked from the No.6 reactor.

    It just gets worser & worser.

  • trinityfly trinityfly

    The Keystone cops!! All this technology and all the brains in Japan can not foresee the freezing of the pipes! Funny how I figured out it would be a great idea to wrap my out door water lines with heat tape and insulation. They apparently did not. What else have they not done properly? We are so doomed.

  • harengus_acidophilus

    Exceptional breakthru in scientific research.
    Japan scientist found evidence of solid water.
    Further investigations are in progress…


  • ion jean ion jean

    Water froze cause they forgot how to heat water pipes in winter…no radioactivity found in water cause all their instruments are broken…the Japanese people are still saying “please” for their overdue compensation from TEPCO…when is this company going to be Gitmoed??? (Oh yeah, when hell freezes over, which apparently it has as SFP 4 just cools itself without water, yeah right!!)

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    I could while away the hours
    Conferring with the flowers
    Consulting with the Radioactive rain.
    And my head I’d be a-scratchin’
    While my thoughts were busy hatchin’
    If I only had a brain…

    If I Only Had A Brain

  • Hemisfear311 Hemisfear311

    Another bogus TEPCO report

    The SFP cooling system must have been malfunctioning before the ruptures.

    If the water inside the pipes was flowing it wouldn’t be freezing and rupturing the pipes. Even a small flow of water in the pipes would have prevented freezing. For this to happen, the flow of water must have stopped some time before.

    Furthermore if a system like that was to freeze solid while it was running the flow of water would have been reduced bit by bit until it eventually froze, meaning that it would have stopped cooling the SPF gradually, which would probably have been detected.

    40 liters, 100 minutes and no radioactivity?

    If the temperature if so low that the pipes were frozen solid, how could any water escape then? But then of course the escaping water was probably a solid block of ice that could be picked up, and safely stored.

    We are supposed to believe that in an instant the water froze solid and burst the pipes in 14 locations. Fortunately with Japanese efficiency workers were able to replace the pipes and have the system up and running again in a couple of hours.

    Who knows what really happened?

  • CB CB

    Wouldn’t the water running through the pipes travel to fast to freeze?

  • jahdesm jahdesm

    they could not add pipes and water does not circulate otherwise it doesent freeze hemisfear311 is right

  • Well if TEPCO says no radioactive materials have been released, it must be true right? Why would they lie? Oh yeah, because that’s all they do.

  • jec jec

    REACTOR 6 –Well the Minister DID mention in a brief that Fukushima I and Fukushima II (Daini) had simialr or “like” issues, just not what they were for Daini. Of note one webcam on the Fukushima Webcams –says Daini but points to Daichi. Its on the right side of the page, or was. So not a single webcam of Fukushima II to view. It could be blown off the face of the earth for all we know-in “cold shutdown..” of course.

      • Hemisfear311 Hemisfear311

        CB, I love that avatar of yours πŸ™‚

        I only just realised what it was. Makes me think of the old song “He’s got the whole world, in His hands…”, only it seems to be slipping through His fingers. Very appropriate.

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    Am hoping what many of us have feared (additional meltdowns, #5 and #6, and failure to cool SPF #4 isn’t happening. Time to pray.

  • jahdesm jahdesm

    how can you change the pipe you must first remove older pipe and then all radioactive water floats out they newer do it and cooling water is not twisting so they are freezing

  • or-well

    For want of a plumber
    cooling was lost
    but Dumb and Dumber
    were counting the cost
    of pipe-wrap and duct tape
    and simple ring-clamps.
    Perhaps they are dimbulbs
    not the brightest of lamps
    at Tepco headquarters
    Accounting Department,
    or were out having a smoke
    during Bonus Allotment.
    Oh well just another
    mistake bureaucratic,
    nothing to see here
    it’s quite automatic
    and par for the course
    in a land neo-feudal
    that’s ruled by a few
    with the smarts of cheese doodles.

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      You wouldn’t believe how much I’m laughing at that one. Thanks, or-well!

      Laughin’ just to keep from cryin’, I guess.

  • sworldpeas

    “failed to take sufficient steps to prevent frozen pipes”



  • aigeezer aigeezer

    “Heat tape” could have prevented the problem, even at the last minute, although it requires a source of electricity.

    Pipes buried below the frost line don’t freeze, but I guess Tepco was in a hurry or saving money or something. It would have required something like a 6-foot trench.

    Pipes at ground level can and do freeze routinely here in Canada if the temperature is low enough, despite flowing water and/or high pressure. Flowing water “helps prevent” but does not “prevent” freezing if it is cold enough – the water gets a little bit slushy, which slows the flow, which enables more slush, which slows things further… until the flow stops. I’ve seen it often. I’ve also seen it in reverse if the temperature rises enough – a drip gets through, which melts a bit of ice, which allows another drip, and so forth, until flow resumes.

    Those of you who predicted this months ago are and were right on target. I can’t imagine why Tepco walked into this particular blunder. Hemisfear311 and CB (above) may be on to something in thinking this may be a coverup for something else.

  • vivvi

    Homer Simpson at the controls.

  • Stlouieishot

    so if this cooling system was removing heat from sfp 4 then there shouldve been no possibility of water freezing in the pipes. sounds to me like the pumping system failed, which would allow the water in pipes to freeze. there is no other explanation, -8 c is not cold enough to freeze water running through the pipes when the water is originally around 50 c and in motion.

  • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

    Yes, this frozen pipes story is Three Stooges on steroids.

    Yet here is some insight from having worked in high tech for
    35 years.

    There is the Peter Principle.
    That within an organization a person will rise to their level of incompetence.
    The problem is systemic within nearly all organizations.

    Couple that with grossly inflated egos and the greed of extra
    money from the “higher up” position and the mess ups can get
    quite large and expensive.

    Also keep in mind that a corporation like TEPCO (and especially banks and financial institutions) operate EXACTLY like the USSR of the 50s and 60s.
    No one dares do anything without permission from “higher up”.
    And it is very rare for some one to ask for advice from some one “below” them. Too embarrassing (politically) when you are faking it.
    Which means that decisions are often made by people who either forgot all or most of their prior experience or never had any experience at all in what they are attempting to manage.

    Not unlike an MBA trying to manage going in to space.
    Bean counting the money does not offer any insights as to how the real world works within the framework of Newtonian Mechanics. Toss in Quantum Mechanics (fission!) and the situation goes deeply “parallel universe”.

    Never mind that managers do not like details.
    They like bullet points on overheads.
    Short and concise.
    They want the world distilled down to short sound bites.
    “will it melt down or not!? That is all I need to know!”

    The managers will rarely ever understand how anything works, yet will fake it and make decisions that are very blind.
    And those in the trenches who know how things work are stuck with implementing a method that is doomed to failure.

    Hence, Fukushima.

    • Alice Alice

      Well put.

      If only I believed in the multi-universe model. Right about now, I wish I could escape to another ‘dimension’. Preferably one where ladybugs are the higher life form.

    • kongrufus kongrufus


      “…a person will rise to their level of incompetence”

      Interesting thought! I have had a similar sentiment rattling about in my head for a while now πŸ˜€ Thanks for putting it in communicable terms πŸ˜‰

  • gr81 gr81

    The big QUESTION: What is the REALITY that this BOGUS report being used to hide.