Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

Nearby radiation levels remained unchanged after Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported vapor rising from Fukushima Daiichi unit 3 this week, while underground the utility is trying to block contaminated water from reaching the ocean.

Recent developments related to the Japanese plant blacked out by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami include:

Vapor at Fukushima unit 3. Source: TEPCOVapor at Unit 3

On Thursday, TEPCO reported that vapor was visible on a video feed of unit 3. In a release, the utility said it appears to be coming through the central part of the fifth floor of the unit, which lost its roof in a hydrogen explosion early in the crisis. Measurements near the unit have not shown a significant increase in radionuclides, and TEPCO believes rainwater is evaporating off the reactor's containment vessel head.

Work Ongoing to Seal Levees

Work began July 8 to inject sealant into the ground between the unit 2 reactor building and a levee in an effort to keep contaminated groundwater from reaching the sea. The Asahi Shimbun reported Saturday that TEPCO plans to complete a double-layered barrier by the end of the month, although the source and path of the radioactive water remain unclear. TEPCO maintains the water stems from leaks that occurred in 2011, although officials from Japan's new Nuclear Regulation Authority are unconvinced, ordering their own task force to study its source and the best way to block it. Construction of the underground barrier followed the recent detection of high levels of contaminants in test wells.

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