Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

A bumped valve accidentally increased the amount of water injected into unit 3 at Fukushima Daiichi this week, while Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced its response center will be used as a formal reconstruction headquarters.

Recent developments at the nuclear power plant blacked out and severely damaged following last year's earthquake and tsunami in Japan include:

Fukushima Daiichi unit 3 water injection system valves. Source: TEPCOWater Injection Accidentally Increased

Workers monitoring the system that pumps water into the RPV of unit 3 noticed that the volume increased from 5.8 cubic meters per hour to 7 cubic meters per hour Monday morning. The speed of the increase exceeded the plant's technical specifications, according to a TEPCO release. Operators quickly reduced the flow, and a later investigation found that a worker had inadvertently touched a valve handle controlling the injection rate while removing insulation to replace a flow meter. Other conditions monitored at the unit were unchanged, according to TEPCO.

J-Village Crisis Center to Become Reconstruction Headquarters

Since the beginning of the crisis, TEPCO has used a soccer training center 20 kilometers from the plant as an emergency operations center. Known as the J-Village, it sits on land previously donated by TEPCO in the towns of Naraha and Hirono, according to Kyodo News. On Thursday the utility announced it chose the site over Fukushima's prefectural capital to become its "Fukushima reconstruction headquarters," Jiji Press reported. It will assume some of the functions related to decontamination and compensation payments now handled at TEPCO's Tokyo office. The company also plans to eventually increase the number of its employees in Fukushima Prefecture from 3,500 to 4,000, which amounts to about 10 percent of its workforce.

Fukushima Reports Become Bestsellers

Investigations detailing the causes and timeline of the accidents have seen brisk sales among the Japanese public, the Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday. Despite its 412-page length and technical subject matter, 100,000 copies of the report from the Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident have been sold since March. The Japanese parliament's Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission report and accompanying CD-ROM have sold 35,000 copies since September.

Photo: Valves controlling water injection into unit 3. Source: TEPCO

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