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Japan:TEPCO fails to clearly see inside damaged reactor

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has failed in an attempt to get clear images from inside damaged reactors using fiber-optic lines.

Tokyo Electric Power Company is trying to determine the state of nuclear fuel inside the plant’s Number 1, 2 and 3 reactors. The fuel melted through the wall of each reactor’s core units and fell to the bottom of their containment vessels after the March 11th 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

On Thursday, TEPCO inserted an optical fiber scope known as an endoscope through a hole into the containment vessel of the Number 2 reactor.

Photos taken by a camera attached to the endoscope show parts of walls and pipes inside the containment vessel. But the images were blurred, probably due to radiation and vapor from contaminated water, leaving details, including the surface of the contaminated water, unclear.

TEPCO says that the photos showed no serious damage or deformation to walls and pipes.

The utility also measured the temperature of the inside of the vessel for the first time since the disaster at 44.7 degrees Celsius. The figure almost matches the 42.6 degrees already shown by thermometers around the vessel.

It’s the first time that TEPCO has examined the inside of the damaged reactors since the disaster. The company says it must understand the state of the reactors before it can complete its shutdown of the plant.


TEPCO failed to link data device to backup power


The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it failed to supply emergency electricity to a devise that sends information on the reactors to a government nuclear safety agency.

Tokyo Electric Power Company revealed this at a news conference on Thursday.

The device ceased to send real-time data because it was not connected to a backup power supply and lost electricity immediately after the March 11th 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The device provides key information including reactor temperatures and radioactivity levels near buildings to the government-controlled Emergency Response Support System, or ERSS.

The lack of real-time data may have affected the government’s immediate response to the disaster.

TEPCO says it had planned to connect the device to an emergency power source in November 2010 — 4 months before the March 11th disaster. The utility says it did not complete the procedure as an available cable was too short to connect the device.

TEPCO adds that it discussed a date for connecting the device with the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. But TEPCO says it did not see connecting the device to emergency power as an urgent task.

Senior agency official Yoshinori Moriyama says the agency plans to ensure that all nuclear plants across Japan install backup power and that the agency will diversify methods of data transmission.


Laaska News.