YouTube Added: 08.07.2013
CESIUM LEVELS SOAR IN FUKUSHIMA PLANT GROUNDWATER
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says radioactive cesium levels at one of the plant’s observation wells have soared over the past 3 days.
Tokyo Electric Power Company regularly monitors groundwater around the reactor buildings to check for radioactive substances and analyze the accident’s affect on the environment.
On Monday, TEPCO recorded 9,000 becquerels of cesium 134 and 18,000 becquerels of cesium 137 per liter of water at a well between the No. 2 reactor building and the sea.
Both radioactive substances were up about 90 times from the level logged 3 days ago.
The same well also showed high levels of beta rays on Friday. The rays would have been emitted from strontium and other radioactive materials.
TEPCO officials say they do not know why cesium levels have risen suddenly, or what effect the spike is having on the nearby ocean.
Seawater in the port next to the Fukushima Daiichi plant has been showing increasing levels of radioactive tritium since May. A water sample taken Wednesday last week contained 2,300 becquerels of tritium per liter, the highest reading since June 2011.
Jul. 9, 2013 – Updated 01:01 UTC
TRITIUM LEVELS ON STEEP RISE AT FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the level of radioactive tritium found in nearby seawater is the highest it has been for 2 years.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it detected 2,300 becquerels of tritium per liter of seawater collected from a port near the nuclear plant on Wednesday.
That’s twice the amount detected about 2 weeks ago, and the highest since monitoring began in June 2011.
But the figure is still about one-twenty-fifth of the government-set limit for water to be released into the sea.
The tritium found in seawater stayed at around 100 becquerels per liter for one year through April. But it started to rise in May.
On Friday, TEPCO workers tested water collected from a well near the port. They detected 900,000 becquerels of radioactive substances, including strontium, per liter.
That’s the highest level ever found in samples from observation wells.
TEPCO officials say they have yet to confirm the cause of the spike in readings, but they cannot rule out the possibility that contaminated groundwater seeped into the sea.
The company plans to build more observation wells and solidify the ground to prevent underground water from reaching the ocean.
Jul. 6, 2013 – Updated 16:50 UTC
EXTENDING REACTOR LIFE CAN BE CHALLENGE
Japan’s utility companies with aging nuclear reactors face an uphill battle to clear requirements under newly established rules.
The new rules, implemented on Monday, limit reactor operations to 40 years. There is a 20-year extension option if certain conditions are met.
A special inspection will be necessary if power companies want to extend reactor service.
The inspection calls for ultrasound tests on welds and other parts inside the reactors. Concrete samples taken from the container vessel must also undergo tests for strength and shielding ability.
After completing the tests, utilities must file an application for extension with the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
In Japan there are 7 reactors running for more than 37 years. Those operators will have to apply by July 2015.
Meeting the extension requirements will not be easy. Installing new electric cables is one example.
The 13 reactors that came on stream before 1979 use electric cables coated with flame-retardant paint. New rules say in principle the actual cables must be non-flammable.
Power companies say replacing extensive cable systems would be labor-intensive and costly.
Jul. 8, 2013 – Updated 07:33 UTC