Newly discovered Fukushima plant contamination can delay decontamination

TOKYO (AP) – A draft investigation report on the Fukushima nuclear energy plant in 2011, adopted by Japanese nuclear authorities on Wednesday, says it has detected dangerously excessive ranges of radioactive contamination at two of the three reactors, elevating issues about closure challenges.

The interim report says that information collected by investigators confirmed that the sealing plugs that sat on prime of the reactor’s vessels 2 and three had been as lethal contaminated as nuclear gas waste that had melted and fallen to the underside of the reactors after the tsunami and earthquake in March 2011.

Consultants mentioned the underside of the sealed plug, a triple-layer concrete-shaped lid, 12 meters (39 ft) in diameter that sits on prime of the first containment vessel, is coated with excessive ranges of radioactive Cesium 137.

Reactor cap No. 1 was much less contaminated, in all probability because of the plug being hit a bit in place and disfigured because of the impression of the hydrogen explosion, the report states.

The consultants measured radiation ranges at a number of places contained in the three reactor buildings and examined how radioactive supplies moved and security tools labored throughout the accident. In addition they mentioned that air flow makes an attempt on unit 2 to stop reactor harm by no means labored, and that security measures and tools design nonetheless have to be investigated.

The quilt contaminants don’t have an effect on the setting as a result of the containment vessels are enclosed contained in the reactor buildings. The report didn’t present additional particulars on or how the cap contaminants would have an effect on decommissioning.

Toyoshi Fuketa, President of the Nuclear Regulatory Fee, referred to as the outcomes “extraordinarily critical” and mentioned they might make it tougher to take away molten gas. “He mentioned determining take away the lids can be an enormous problem.

Eradicating an estimated 900 tonnes of molten gas waste from three reactors is a frightening activity that’s anticipated to take a long time, and officers haven’t been capable of describe precisely when or the way it might finish.

The plant in Fukushima would start eradicating molten gas waste from Unit 2, the primary of three reactors, later this yr earlier than the tenth anniversary of the accident. However in December, plant operator Tokyo Electrical Energy Co. introduced and the federal government a delay till 2022. They mentioned the event of a robotic particles elimination arm – a joint undertaking with the UK – has been delayed because of the pandemic.

Based on the present plan, a remote-controlled robotic arm will probably be inserted from the facet of the reactor to succeed in the molten gas combined with molten components and the concrete ground of the reactor. Finally, the lids should even be eliminated, however their contamination is a serious setback.

The group of consultants went into areas within the three reactors that had been beforehand extremely polluted and inaccessible after the radiation ranges dropped considerably. They search information and proof earlier than getting misplaced within the cleanup.

Huge radiation from the reactors has precipitated about 160,000 individuals to evacuate from the whole plant. Tens of hundreds nonetheless can’t return house.

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Comply with Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi



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