After sending workers into unit 1 for the first time since a series of hydrogen explosions caused radiation levels to spike at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. has reported progress toward installing a makeshift cooling system for the reactor.Eight workers on Thursday connected eight pipes 30 cm wide to ventilation devices that will help diminish airborne contaminants in reactor buildings that have prevented work on the reactor, Kyodo news reported.Once they complete the ventilation system, crews will begin flooding unit 1’s containment to cool its damaged core. According to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, water from the unit will be pumped in through pipes currently used to feed nitrogen into the core to stave off hydrogen buildup. Water then will be extracted through different openings in the containment, run through a cooling system and recirculated so as to replace the water circulation inside the core that removes decay heat from fuel rods under normal conditions. The new pumping setup is scheduled to be in place by the end of the month, and the Asahi Shimbun quoted TEPCO as saying it plans to install similar systems at units 2 and 3 by July.On Thursday, another aftershock measuring 5.3 magnitude at its epicenter hit eastern Fukushima prefecture, but reports indicate it did not affect work at the nuclear plant.
(Photo: Air filtration units readied for use inside unit 1 at Fukushima Daiichi. Source: TEPCO)
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