Tokyo Electric Power Co. offered the world its first look inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant this week, while the Japanese government proposed time limits for nuclear plant licenses and turned its attention to another investigation into the accident.Recent developments at the tsunami-stricken nuclear plant include: Camera offers first images from inside unit 2 PCVTEPCO operators threaded an endoscope into the primary containment vessel of unit 2 (video below), providing them the first glimpse of the damage inside the reactor. Data and images (summarized by TEPCO in this .pdf) from the probe confirmed concurrent sub-boiling temperature readings from plant instruments. But they also indicated water levels inside the PCV are lower than initial estimates. No fuel was visible from the areas the endoscope was able to reach, and much of the footage was distorted by the high level of radiation absorbed by the camera. Rust is evident on some surfaces of the PCV, which was cooled using salt water immediately after the accident.
Japanese reactors to face maximum 60-year livesIf approved by Japanese legislators, new regulations would limit power reactor operation to 40 years with a possible 20-year extension. On Thursday the Yomiuri Shimbun reported the Japanese cabinet is likely to approve the rule, modeled after licensing requirements by the American Nuclear Regulatory Commission, by the end of the month. License extensions, which government ministers maintain would be rare, would be overseen by a new regulatory agency to be established in April within the environment ministry.Another investigation examines damage caused by quake vs. tsunamiFurther study of the causes and response to the multiple-reactor accident is well underway. An investigative panel convened by the parliament and granted subpoena powers will re-examine and expand on a similar investigation that concluded last month. Chief among its subjects is the contention by TEPCO and the earlier investigation that the earthquake did not damage reactors before the subsequent tsunami blacked out the plant, which has implications for the earthquake preparedness at other Japanese plants.
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The pdf is interesting, but not all that informative. Does anyone know if the full video has been posted somewhere?
Alex, Stay tuned! It will be up shortly!