News from Fukushima – more leaks, more problems.

I have just seen this news item at the Australian ABC news site. I hope that I can get some confirmation and clarification from some other sites, but that might take some time.

TEPCO is now reporting another leak and another spill into the ocean, associated with the nr. 1 reactor.

The company says the water level inside reactor No. 1 was much lower than it thought, exposing about 1.5 metres of the fuel rods.

It says the rods have likely melted and workers are still trying to cool them in water at the bottom of the pressure vessel.

The company believes that about half the reactor core in reactor No. 1 has been damaged and has been pumping in up to eight tonnes of water an hour into the pressure vessel to try to keep the rods cool.

TEPCO says new measurements taken this week, after workers in protective suits fixed gauges in the badly hit reactor No. 1 building, indicate that water pumped into the pressure vessel had quickly leaked out.

The water level inside had fallen below the bottom of the four-metre-long fuel rods, suggesting they had been exposed to the air, increasing the risk of a dangerous full meltdown.

However, the vessel’s relatively low outside temperature of 100-120 degrees Celsius indicated that the rods had dropped to the bottom of the vessel and were under water there, TEPCO said.

The dousing operations – in which tens of thousands of tonnes of water have been injected with fire trucks, concrete boom pumps and other pumping systems – have created massive amounts of highly contaminated run-off water.

TEPCO has struggled to stop spills into the Pacific Ocean and has now reported another, saying water had leaked into the sea from a concrete pit near reactor No. 3, one of the plant’s six units.


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