Newly discovered Fukushima plant contamination might delay cleanup


The consultants stated the underside of the sealed plug, a triple-layered concrete disc-shaped lid 12 meters (39 toes) in diameter sitting atop the first containment vessel, is coated with excessive ranges of radioactive Cesium 137.

The No. 1 reactor lid was much less contaminated, presumably as a result of the plug was barely knocked misplaced and disfigured because of the impression of the hydrogen explosion, the report stated.

The consultants measured radiation ranges at a number of areas contained in the three reactor buildings, and examined how radioactive supplies moved and security gear functioned in the course of the accident. Additionally they stated venting try at Unit 2 to stop reactor injury no means labored, and that security measures and gear designs nonetheless should be examined.

The lid contamination doesn’t have an effect on the surroundings because the containment vessels are enclosed contained in the reactor buildings. The report didn’t give additional particulars about if or how the lid contamination would have an effect on the decommissioning progress.

Nuclear Regulation Fee Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa referred to as the findings “extraordinarily critical” and stated they’d make melted gasoline elimination “harder.” He stated determining tips on how to take away the lids could be a serious problem.

Eradicating an estimated 900 tons of melted gasoline particles from three reactors is a frightening process anticipated to take a long time, and officers haven’t been capable of describe precisely when or the way it might finish.

The Fukushima plant was to start out eradicating melted gasoline particles from Unit 2, the primary of three reactors, later this yr forward of the 10th anniversary of the accident. However in December, plant operator Tokyo Electrical Energy Co. and the federal government introduced a delay till 2022. They stated the event of a robotic arm for the particles elimination — a joint undertaking with Britain — has been delayed because of the pandemic.

Beneath the present plan, a remote-controlled robotic arm can be inserted from the facet of the reactor to succeed in the molten gasoline blended with melted components and concrete ground of the reactor. Finally the lids additionally must be eliminated, however their contamination is a serious setback.

The workforce of consultants entered areas contained in the three reactors that have been beforehand extremely contaminated and inaccessible after radiation ranges got here down considerably. They’re looking for information and proof earlier than they get misplaced within the cleanup.

Large radiation from the reactors has brought on some 160,000 individuals to evacuate from across the plant. Tens of hundreds are nonetheless unable to return residence.

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

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