Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has enhanced efforts to pump up contaminated groundwater before it reaches the ocean. Meanwhile, ten Fukushima Daiichi workers set off radiation detection equipment after cooling off under contaminated misters.

Developments in the last week related to the Japanese reactors blacked out and severely damaged in 2011 include:

Pumping equipment at Fukushima Daiichi. Source: TEPCONew Pumping Efforts Come Online

TEPCO continues to add systems to help remove the estimated 300 metric tons of contaminated groundwater flowing into the sea daily. Pumping began Aug. 9 at a newly dug well east of unit 2 that pulled more than 13 tons from the ground on its first day, according to the Asahi Shimbun. Then on Thursday, the utility announced it had begun pumping water from the first of 28 pipes placed at six-foot intervals along the shore and reaching about 15 feet into the ground. Kyodo reported they will be completed Sunday and should pump about 70 tons daily into an underground structure near the unit 2 turbine building. TEPCO is also installing underground barriers to block the water, which has led to greater volumes backing up in wells and channels outside reactor buildings.

Workers Contaminated

On Monday, exit monitors detected radioactive contamination on ten workers who'd been sitting beneath a misting device used to prevent heat stroke. In a release, TEPCO said the maximum dose on their heads and faces was 19 becquerels per square centimeter, which was cut back to 6.9 Bq/cm2 after wiping down the contaminated areas. Whole-body counts found no internal doses. The contamination was below a 40 Bq/cm2 threshold requiring further screening, according to TEPCO, and they were allowed to leave. Testing of the water source did not show cesium or other contaminants above normal levels, and the Asahi quoted company representatives as saying it may have become contaminated in the piping.   

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