More steam seen coming for Fukushima No. 3 reactor building

TOKYO —

Workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan have reported steam inside a battered reactor building for the second time in less than a week, the operator said Tuesday.

Steam was seen around the fifth floor of the building housing the No. 3 reactor shortly after 9 a.m., Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said, adding workers were continuing with the operation to inject cooling water into the reactor and a pool storing nuclear fuel.

TEPCO said monitoring equipment showed no significant changes, including in the levels of toxic substances the broken reactor is releasing.

Steam was spotted in the same area on Thursday last week but had disappeared by the next day, with TEPCO saying it did not know for sure what had caused it.

It said it was looking at the possibility that accumulated rainwater had been the source.

The reactor, devastated by a massive tsunami in March 2011, is too dangerous to approach, and workers had seen the steam on a camera feed, the utility said.

The roof of the building was blown off in a hydrogen explosion days after meltdowns that were sparked when cooling systems were flooded as the tsunami swept ashore.

(C) 2013 AFP

  • 2

    RedMango

    No comment

  • 4

    Knox Harrington

    The only thing missing with these clowns is a "Mission accomplished" banner. Considering how they claimed thing "stable" some years ago, it seems unnervingly shaky.

    Seems to me it's time for people with some form of competence to intervene and take over. Maybe that's why there is no word from the Japanese Government?

  • -3

    David Wagner

    Go shimpai naku....daijoobu dakara....

  • 9

    zichi

    Well after the spell of very hot dry weather, it can't blame it on rain this time?

  • 4

    AKBfan

    Seems incredible that they haven't got this under control yet. WTF have they been doing all this time?

  • 4

    smithinjapan

    That's two headlines for TEPCO before noon. I'm pretty sure they won't admit there are any problems until there's further meltdown.

  • 11

    gogogo

    Do the math Tepco!

    The nuclear material has melted through the concrete containment flooring!

    It is why contaminated water has entered the ground water, why it is so highly radioactive, why suddenly it has reached the sea (the ground is supersaturated with water) and why you are seeing steam!

  • 7

    Citizen2012

    WTF have they been doing all this time?

    Spending public tax money !

  • 2

    Disillusioned

    SNAFUPCO!

  • 3

    Alex Einz

    zichi.. off course they can... watch em claiming its last years rain....

  • 6

    zichi

    With the recent debris removal from the destroyed upper floors was something disturbed like a fuel rod that was in the debris but then dropped down to another floor?

  • -13

    Mick_Hardwick

    I`m tired of reading these Fukushima related articles. I wish JapanToday would put some real news at the top of the page.

  • 0

    kidojapan

    many employees cooking steam rice?

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    Something is hot.

  • 2

    Redcliff

    @ zichi

    Interesting hypothesis, if it did happen I am sure we will be the last to know.

  • 1

    Knox Harrington

    Mick,

    There's an easy solution if you're tired... Don't read!

    Problem is the amount of news. There are so many mishaps and so much clownish, incompetent behavior it almost feels unreal to hear about it.

  • 1

    wildwest

    Leaking into the sea and steam rising, reminds me if a bad case of gasto I had but this makes me feel sicker, because with gastro it's possible to get over but this is looking fatal.

  • -1

    konjo4u

    Maybe it is too dangerous to go into for a while.

  • 3

    Cricky

    Yep, let's start all the reactors what could possibly go wrong!

  • -1

    yokatta

    The sign is a kaaaaboooom coming!

  • 1

    Farmboy

    So... here's the video from the 18th showing the steam. It starts out pretty mild, but those little puffs of something would seem to indicate it's not just rainwater on a hot day, and the latest release, today, sounds worse.

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/news/library/movie-01e.html?bcpid=59368209002&bclid=347242463002&bctid=547413532002

  • 0

    Airion

    Squirrel!!

    :-O

  • 0

    Franck TheGaijin

    wonder when that story will finish...

  • -1

    kurisupisu

    Which way is the wind blowing and how far does radioactive steam travel???

  • -1

    Ron Barnes

    we fixed that a few days ago. did not we.

  • 0

    Star-viking

    Farmboy,

    So... here's the video from the 18th showing the steam. It starts out pretty mild, but those little puffs of something would seem to indicate it's not just rainwater on a hot day, and the latest release, today, sounds worse.

    The 'puffs' could just be because of varying air currents in and around the structure. We've had a lot of rain in lower Tohoku over the last few weeks - rainwater falling on a hot surface seems to be the most likely explanation. As for what that surface is, who knows? No increase in airborne radioactive reported though.

  • 0

    only one

    may be this will be out of the news in our life time but don't count on it- the cancers will start in another 5 to 10 years although....

  • 0

    Kent Mcgraw

    Actually, after Chernobyl, everyone using nuclear power should have had a back up plan for what if something goes wrong. The short sightedness makes me wonder if you can ever trust government. Why weren't there studies before building a nuclear power plant about how to control a nuclear breakdown? I think this will happen elsewhere as well, not just in Japan. In the USA every nuclear power plant is built on a fault and the earthquakes are due to hit the USA on each fault. Anyway if they want to cool it put about 10 tons of dry ice on it and then encase it in cement.

  • -1

    sushilover

    Nuclear power is safety and convenience. What's a bit of steam? No ginger! (Geddit?)

  • 0

    Crazedinjapan

    I like this part "showed no significant changes, including in the levels of toxic substances the broken reactor is releasing" Say no more!

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    Tepco calls it 'steam-like gas' in Farmboy's link above.

    We know what Tepco think it could be as they commented "workers were continuing with the operation to inject cooling water into the reactor and a pool storing nuclear fuel." Same old, same old.

    Doesn't sound very imaginative or adventurous.

  • -2

    Fadamor

    Seems incredible that they haven't got this under control yet. WTF have they been doing all this time?

    You sound like you know how to quickly solve this problem considering how you're complaining about how long they're taking. I suggest you go there and show them how it's SUPPOSED to be done seeing as you have the answers they're looking for. Go ahead, suit-up and fix the problem. Huh? You haven't done it yet? What are you waiting for? WTF have you been doing for the past two years?!

  • 1

    hereforever

    Mick, just the opposite. Report everything happening and maybe the people of Japan will stand up and fight the government to ensure there is a future for them, their country and children!

  • 3

    NZ2011

    Fadamor,

    I don't think anyone suggesting that this is an easy problem to solve, but here are a few facts about this company, incase you have forgotten;

    This company had been given safety recommendations which might have averted this whole disaster, which it decided to not follow because of costs, and as the industry was (and perhaps still is despite promises otherwise) very much self regulated.

    The government inquiry decided this was a completely man-made disaster, that while the massive earthquake and following tsunami might have cause some damage it was the lack of backup power that ultimately cause this meltdown.

    The company withheld information, both initially from the government and from the public about the severity of the situation in the early days, until the explosions were undeniable, and even the Prime minister at the time heard about that on TV before he did from Tepco.

    Further enquires, which may now be sadly rendered useless based on the result of the election, revealed that this company and others have been working under the assumption that its practices were safe rather that actually having sufficient processes in place.

    This company declined help from Russia, America and France to assist in the early days of this disaster, which who knows may have lessen the impact if perhaps some power could have been restored more quickly, but more importantly this company still refuses independent or international testing, over site or assistance within the facility itself insisting that it has the situation under control.

    This company despite its claims of control and containment are nearly on a daily basis making press releases that in-fact they aren't in control, and more concerning either have little to no idea what is going on or are conspiring to be dishonest in their representation of the current situation.

    At this point, and possibly never, not a single person has been held accountable at all, even though there is and has been clear negligence.

    What could they differently, almost everything and significantly better I suggest.

    If you are running make shift power for cooling, have two (or more) systems incase one fails, which has happened several times, this is what caused this caused this man-made disaster in the first place.

    Have international overview and expert overview which assists with planning, this isn't a private company issue, this is a National and International disaster.

    It is now more and more likely that there is containment breaches, I would suggest that the likelihood that eventual failure of containment has always been pretty high, so rather than continually downplaying this risk do something about it.

  • 5

    zichi

    The stories of TEPCO and its various antics are appearing in the foreign press. In the UK, the media are questioning TEPCO's competence to deal with the nuclear disaster. It wouldn't be long before it starts to reflect on the country has a whole.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    zichi: Good. That's the only way this nation ever manages to try and move forward -- by gauging how it appears in the eyes of others. Too much criticism from foreign governments, though, will likely just end up in the knee jerk reaction of 'they don't understand our culture' or at best a couple of suspended sentences for TEPCO employees.

  • 1

  • 0

    hoserfella

    You sound like you know how to quickly solve this problem considering how you're complaining about how long they're taking. I suggest you go there and show them how it's SUPPOSED to be done seeing as you have the answers they're looking for. Go ahead, suit-up and fix the problem. Huh? You haven't done it yet? What are you waiting for? WTF have you been doing for the past two years?!

    Fadamor - one of the silliest, most immature little posts I've seen in a while. AKBFan is asking what everyone around the world is asking. That is, How could Dai-ichi still be in the complete mess its in now, almost two and a half years later? I'd say those who live and pay taxes in Japan are worthy of an explanation.

    Unfortunately, anyone with a little experience in Japanese culture realized long ago that crisis management and leadership are not available here.

  • 0

    Dennis Bauer

    I am sure TEPCO will come out and say "everything is allright don't worry"

  • 1

    gogogo

    Foreign media and the press need to put pressure on Tepco and the JP government to hire people that know what they are doing, it is the blind leading the blind

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    Sadly if ever Tepco pulled out of there, no-one would want to replace them and the place would quickly turn into Apocalypse.

    Right now it is kind of Rube Goldberg - Heath Robinson affair, but it is probably the best we are ever going to get and hard as it may be, the workers there deserve some encouragement.

  • 2

    zichi

    Let's go back to 2011 when explosions, at least two of them destroyed the No3 reactor building. Both TEPCO and the gov't were still in denial, and the Cabinet Secretary Edano was telling the country everything was going to be alright and there wasn't any danger to people's health.

    After the explosions TEPCO said it was caused by hydrogen venting from the reactor. Some of the nuclear workers including the then plant manager thought the explosion was a steam explosion from inside the reactor containment vessel. At the time there was a large volume of steam pouring out of the reactor building but TEPCO never explained were it was coming from.

    Now, two and a half years on TEPCO everyone is suppose to already know the new steam is also coming from inside the reactor containment vessel or maybe the suppression ring. TEPCO's PR manager Ono stated that in a recent briefing. He claimed the new steam and the steam explosion in 2011 is coming from the No3 reactor shield plug.

    Most of what can only now be called the top floor of the No3 building, has been cleared of most of the debris, and new steam is still coming out. But the radiations levels are very high. Near the steam is about 0.5 SIEVERTS/hour, but the levels on the top level are very high, up to 2.2 SIEVERTS/hour. That's nothing to do with rain water falling onto a hot reactor containment vessel which has been TEPCO's explanation so far. No worker will be able to go near this reactor building for decades.

    The steam is coming from inside the reactor containment vessel or the compression ring and contains very high levels of radiation.

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