Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

The last week in Japan brought another robot-led search for leaks at Fukushima Daiichi, another worker injury at the damaged plant, and the first formal acknowledgement that all of the country’s reactors will soon be offline.

Recent developments at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant blacked out by last year’s earthquake and tsunami include:

Edano: All Japanese Reactors To Be Offline in May

In a speech Sunday, Japan’s Industry Minister Yukio Edano said that all of Japan’s power reactors will be offline once Tomari 3 goes out of service May 5. The Japanese government supports bringing reactors back online that were shut down following the earthquake or for scheduled inspections. But local political resistance has left the Tomari reactor the sole unit currently generating power in a country that relies heavily on nuclear for its electricity. Federal and local officials have recently been negotiating to restart two reactors at the Oi plant, but Edano’s statements, quoted in the Asahi Shimbun, represent his government’s first acknowledgement that won’t happen before the last operating reactor comes offline. Once it does, Japan will power its grid without nuclear energy for the first time since 1966.

Inspection of unit 2 torus April 18. Source: TEPCORobot Searching for Leaks in Unit 2 Torus Returns Empty-Handed

TEPCO sent a robot to inspect hatches on the wetwell of unit 2 for leaks Wednesday, but none were found in the two locations filmed. Leaks suspected to be in the torus have sent the 200 metric tons of water pumped daily over the reactor core flowing into the plant’s lower floors. The Asahi reported TEPCO had assumed the hatchways were the source of the leaks. The company is planning a similar survey for unit 3

Fukushima Worker Injured by Ship

TEPCO reported a worker was sent to the hospital on Tuesday after getting caught between a ship and an embankment. According to a TEPCO release, he had been working in the harbor of the Fukushima Daiini plant on a project to cover the seabed in the neighboring Daiichi plant’s harbor. No radioactive material was found on his body, and his condition was listed as stable after being airlifted from the site.

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