Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant weathered a typhoon this week, while its owner Tokyo Electric Power Co. promised to hire more workers at the site and nuclear utilities around Japan suggested they would likely not be ready to restart their reactors by the end of the year.

Recent developments related to the 2011 station blackout that severely damaged reactors at Fukushima include:

Workers pump rainwater at Fukushima Wednesday. Source: TEPCOTyphoon Spreads Contaminated Water

A typhoon dumped significant rainfall on the plant Wednesday, flooding tank farms and moving contaminated material around the site. Workers discharged more than 40 metric tons of water from within low barriers that surround groups of tanks, the Asahi Shimbun reported. Workers first stored the water in a temporary tank to confirm its radiation levels were within government limits but later resorted to opening valves on the barriers around nine groups of tanks as water levels rose.

TEPCO monitored radiation in drainage ditches at the site during the storm and found elevated levels of contamination in one location 150 meters from the sea. TEPCO announced Thursday it will clean up the ditch where water was found to contain beta-emitting contaminants measured at 1,400 becquerels per liter. Measurements the previous day were only 19 becquerels per liter. The high measurements suggested the contamination did not come from the water released from around the tanks.

TEPCO to Hire More Workers

Following earlier leaks of radioactive water accumulating at the plant, TEPCO promised this week to hire more workers. In a document submitted to regulators investigating recent leaks, the utility said it's in the process of hiring an additional 200 people to help manage the water, Kyodo reported. That will include 20 workers transferred from the company's Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant.

Safety Inspections Won't be Finished This Year

Four utilities recently announced they would submit the final documents for safety checks required to restart their reactors in November and December, Kyodo reported. The timing implies that none of the 10 units in question will likely be cleared to restart by the end of the year.

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