Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—June 6, 2011 – Update as of 4 P.M. EDT.
TEPCO Continuing to Manage Water Issues at Fukushima Daiichi
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is testing a filtering system it will use to decontaminate highly radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi site. More than 105,000 metric tons (28 million gallons) of contaminated water has collected in the basements of the reactor and turbine buildings from reactor cooling operations and is accumulating at a rate of 500 tons per day, the company said. The filtering system, expected to begin operating June 15, will decontaminate this water, enabling storage in temporary tanks for reuse as cooling water. Two hundred and seventy tanks with a combined capacity of nearly 8 million gallons are to be installed at the facility.
A newly installed gauge at Fukushima Daiichi reactor 1 shows pressure inside the reactor close to atmospheric, confirming that the pressure vessel has been damaged. Additionally, two robots detected high radiation levels (300 to 400 rem/hour) from below the floor of the reactor 1 building. TEPCO plans to install new pressure gauges at reactors 2 and 3 to reconfirm readings inside those reactors.
The company continues work to reduce the humidity inside the reactor 2 building to allow workers focused on recovery to enter the building for more than very short periods. TEPCO reports that humidity levels inside the building continue to be very high even after it had reduced the pool temperature through a system it installed last week to recirculate water. The company originally believed the used fuel pool was the source of the humidity.
A gubernatorial candidate promoting more nuclear reactors beat a rival who wanted to freeze them in a quake-hit northern prefecture Sunday, as Japan’s troubled nuclear energy industry faced its first major ballot-box test since the Fukushima Daiichi accident, The Wall Street Journal reported today. Shingo Mimura, the incumbent governor running for his third term, easily won the election against a former prefectural assembly member endorsed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan. The challenger, until recently a supporter of nuclear power himself, during the final weeks of the campaign had called for putting plans for new power plants on hold.
The U.S. Department of Energy is sponsoring a June 6-7 workshop on preliminary lessons learned from the Fukushima accident at Crystal City, Va. Participants include DOE Deputy Secretary Dan Poneman, Assistant Secretaries Inez Triay and Peter Lyons, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Robert Budnitz and NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff.
Japan’s science ministry has begun sampling soil to develop a map showing radioactive contamination in the Fukushima prefecture. More than 2,200 samples will be taken throughout the prefecture by the end of June, and the report is to be released in August.
Dr. Patrick Moore, Clean and Safe Energy Coalition co-chair and Greenpeace co-founder, speaks at the Bloomberg Japan Conference today at the Japan Society in New York City. Dr. Moore’s topic is “The Case for Nuclear Energy in Light of Fukushima.”
A government panel on nuclear waste disposal established by Japan’s environment ministry has decided to allow municipalities to burn highly radioactive debris if they have incinerators that can remove the radioactive substances.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Japanese government has revised its estimate of radiation released from Fukushima Daiichi the first week after the earthquake. The article, “Japan Raises Estimate of Initial Radiation Release,” points out that “the latest figure is still only about 10 percent of the radiation released from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors meeting opens June 6 with a focus on the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The NRC will hold a public meeting June 8 to hear a petition to suspend the operating licenses of General Electric Mark 1 boiling water reactors in the United States.