Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

The last week at Fukushima Daiichi brought an inspection of dislodged debris that fell deeper into unit 3's spent fuel pool, as well as a promise by Japan's nuclear regulator to reopen an investigation into damaged isolation condensers at unit 1.  

Recent developments in Japan related to the Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear plant blacked out following the 2011 earthquake include:

Fuel removal equipment inside the Fukushima unit 3 SFP. Source: TEPCOUnit 3 SFP Debris Sinks but Misses Fuel

A section of wrecked fuel handling equipment fell into the unit 3 spent fuel pool during debris removal Feb. 6, and on Wednesday underwater camera recordings confirmed it did not come to rest against the SFP's liner or fuel racks. In a release, TEPCO said it identified the debris as the roughly 1.5-metric-ton "fuel handling machine mast" used to grip and lift fuel assemblies. Radiation levels of the SFP water and areas outside the unit did not change, according to the company.

NRA Orders New Inspection of Unit 1 Condensers

The head of Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday said his agency will order an on-site inspection of isolation condensers in unit 1 to determine if they were damaged in the earthquake before the tsunami blacked out the plant, the Mainichi Daily News reported. The move follows recent allegations by the chief on-site inspector for the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission that TEPCO officials mislead his team into thinking the area was too dark to enter. TEPCO has denied the earthquake damaged the condensers, which can provide critical cooling functions during an emergency. Although the area on the fourth floor of unit 1 was, in fact, adequately lit, the area still has very high radiation levels, and the NRA didn't specify a time when the new inspection would take place.

Photo: A portion of the spent fuel crane equipment in the unit 3 spent fuel pool that fell during debris removal, as photographed Wednesday. Source: TEPCO.

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