Steam seen in Fukushima No. 3 reactor building

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  • 12

    smithinjapan

    "TEPCO said it had confirmed the reactor remained subcritical at 9:20 a.m., one hour after the steam was first spotted."

    B-b-b-b-b-but I thought they've all been 'stable' since January of 2012!

    "...its operator said Thursday, but stressed there is no sign yet of increased radiation."

    Yeah, until tomorrow's admittance that a bunch of radiation has escaped, but that it's "not harmful", until Saturday's admi-- oh wait, that's a day off! -- until Monday's admittance that it could be harmful.

    "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, as well as utilities, are hoping to restart them."

    Who can blame them? All of the NPPs were built far away from danger zones, they are all brand new and have another 30 or 40 years to go until they reach the deadline to decommision, they're all run by power companies with spotless records and who work completely for the people in a safe and satisfatory manner while lowering prices. Oh wait...

  • 3

    GameOn

    > but stressed there is no sign yet of increased radiation >

    Great...no sign yet, does that mean they are expecting an increase?? How can they even be thinking about restarting reactors when they can't even mop up the calamity they caused...

  • 2

    edojin

    With all this modern technology around us, isn't there some way in which the Fukushima nuclear power plant can be severed from the mainland and towed out to deep sea where it can be ditched several miles under water? The way things are going now, one of these days that No. 3 reactor (as well as the other crippled ones there) is going to blow sky high again.

    The paragraph that says: TEPCO said it was not “an emergency situation,” the latest event serving to underline how precarious the plant remains more than two years after it was wrecked by a tsunami ... doesn't sound too encouraging. Wonder what a real "emergency situation" would be?

    Just letting off steam ... sure ...

  • 14

    Disillusioned

    Lets make something perfectly clear! The plant was not wrecked by the tsunami! It was wrecked because of inadequate safety measures and back up plans. If sufficient safety measures had been in place there would been no meltdown!

    Steam coming from the housing can only be coming from the cooling pools, which house the fuel rods. This also means the steam must contain certain levels radioactive particles. TEPCO is lying again!

  • 5

    Cricky

    Just steam from 5th floor, guessing it escaped from there but was generated lower, got to be kidding it is harmless. Drip feed the truth and it becomes the norm, but we will have to wait for the Judge.

  • 10

    zichi

    but stressed there is no sign yet of increased radiation.

    The radiation level around the outside of the destroyed reactor building is about 10 SIEVERTS/hour no worker can go near it. The radiation inside will be even higher. There's broken nuclear fuel rods mixed into the debris.

    TEPCO and the gov't said they can fix it all by 2020 but the NRA called that the wildest type of pie in the sky.

  • 8

    marcelito

    well said Disillusioned...but they certainly can`t admit that a couple of days before the election the result of which is shaping up to be an early Christmas gift to the nuclear village. Admitting that the steam indeed contains radioation would be most " unfortunate" and might even " confuse " the public just as it is getting ready to cast its votes for the pro nuke LDP.

  • 6

    SauloJpn

    "Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said was not “an emergency situation”"

    The next move will be.

    "We are deeply sorry that we underestimated the amount of radiation leaking with the steam."

    We have seen it quite a few times to expect any better from Tepco.

  • 9

    SquidBert

    Steam seen in Fukushima No. 3 reactor building

    How very uncharacteristic for a reactor in cold shut down.

  • 7

    nandakandamanda

    Great sentence this: "The pool is on the fifth floor and stores devices and equipment removed from the reactor before the disaster as part of regular operations."

    Devices and equipment? How quaint.

    First mention of any pool, so the article must have been cut down.

    If this is an example of Tepco clarity, I'll eat my hat. What it should be saying, although my memory is a bit fuddled, is "The pool on the fifth floor is or was full of spent fuel rods and earthquake debris. Some of the fuel rods are not spent, being temporarily placed there during maintenance, and some are packed with MOX plutonium mix." Any steam in that location indicates high water temperatures, when it is vitally important that the pool and rods remain cooled. http://enenews.com/kyodo-melted-fuel-fukushima-reactor-3-highly-lethal-mixed-uranium-plutonium-oxide-mox-be-removed-last-new-plan

  • 2

    Dennis Bauer

    Here we go again!

  • 6

    zichi

    The No3 reactor was in full operation at the time of 3/11. It also contained about 30 MOX fuel assemblies. Other MOX fuel assemblies were in the spent fuel pool. That pool suffered massive damage from the explosion including the 30 ton overhead crane falling. From infra red photos there are fuel assemblies outside of the pool mixed in the debris. Some of the spent fuel in the pool must have suffered damage when the crane and other very large sections of debris fell in.

    The No4 spent fuel pool also contains MOX fuel.

    The steam must be coming from inside the reactor?

  • 3

    kidojapan

    @smithinjapan

    if you will rely on Japanese Government and TEPCO updates, there were no problems eversince.............. I will not be surprise if they would tell that the cause of the stem was because an employee was cooking rice.

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    For background info on the No. 3 reactor, try this easy article:

    http://www.simplyinfo.org/?page_id=23

  • 5

    Thunderbird2

    Lets make something perfectly clear! The plant was not wrecked by the tsunami! It was wrecked because of inadequate safety measures and back up plans. If sufficient safety measures had been in place there would been no meltdown!

    So was it designed to withstand a massive tsunami and level 9 earthquake?

  • 6

    Farmboy

    “We do not believe an emergency situation is breaking out, although we are still investigating what caused this,” he said.

    Well, maybe you could treat it like an emergency situation until you find out that it isn't? That might provide a useful change in perspective.

  • 3

    amonaco

    This is just another anomaly they're trying (unsuccessfully) to cover up...

  • 3

    gogogo

    Tepco your concrete containment has failed please release the press release.

  • 0

    Ron Barnes

    Don't say this is a little thing. The next thing will be a BIG BANG. from the rapid expansion of steam as the core reacts and melts completely down.

  • -1

    Open Minded

    To produce steam you need a heat source at 100+ Celsius! Where does it come from? Apart from electrical devices running like engines or pump, I see only one possible cause... Hot shut down state!

  • 1

    hoserfella

    So was it designed to withstand a massive tsunami and level 9 earthquake?

    Thunderbird2 -yes, and it did. IF TEPCO had heeded warnings from twenty years ago to move the back-up generators from a basement to higher ground, no one would be talking about Dai-ichi today.

    As the investigation by Japan's own Diet stated;

    The commission chairman, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, declared with respect to the Fukushima nuclear incident: "It was a profoundly man-made disaster — that could and should have been foreseen and prevented."[214][215] "Across the board, the commission found ignorance and arrogance unforgivable for anyone or any organization that deals with nuclear power," the NAIIC report said.

  • 6

    Kent Mcgraw

    If only the Japanese were careful about nuclear power as they are about who gets a drivers license. The governmental standards of hypocrisy never end.

  • 6

    Disillusioned

    The plant was warned to waterproof the eke tric systems for the main and back up power. They were also warned to get the back up generators off the ground. They have also admitted many times that the meltdown was avoidable if they had the recommendations in place and that they were laced on their safety standards and contingency plans in the event of a tsunami. There should never have been a meltdown at this plant due to a 5m tsunami. Furthermore, after nobody is facing any criminal charges even after admitting to negligence causing nearly 200,000 people to be displaced and costing the country uncountable amounts of money.

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    There is some suggestion in the media that it could be residual rainwater drying off the top of the still hot reactor vessel.

  • 2

    Open Minded

    Horsefella: the pumps at the sea level were destroyed, hence reactor cooling became impossible, power or not.

  • 1

    Cricky

    Rain water drying off, now that is a good one. Never seen it happen on my roof!

  • 0

    warnerbro

    "The temperature of the container was about 38 degrees." And the temperature of the very humid air outside the container was what, 30 degrees or higher? That doesn't sound like a steam producing situation.

  • 0

    zichi

    TEPCO are now saying the steam, which they are now calling vapor was created by rain falling onto the reactor containment vessel which it also says is "hot".

    To reach cold shutdown means the temperature inside the containment vessel must be less than 60 deg C. The containment vessel is made from thick concrete and steel plates. So if the temp inside is less than 60 deg C, I don't see how the outside would be hot enough to turn rain water into vapor, unless they lied about the actual temp inside the containment vessel?

  • 1

    Thunderbird2

    I've seen steam rising from pavements after rain... it's not an uncommon sight TBH

  • -1

    Fadamor

    Well, maybe you could treat it like an emergency situation until you find out that it isn't? That might provide a useful change in perspective.

    Great! The government should evacuate people in a 100km radius every time some mist (not steam) appears at the reactor. Then, after about the 3rd evacuation, authorities will be giving out your address to the lynch mobs. After a light rain I always see mist rising from the road in the Summertime. I guess we need to evacuate then as well, right? (rolls eyes)

    This is just another anomaly they're trying (unsuccessfully) to cover up...

    INORITE? TEPCO are idiots! It's an EPIC FAIL if you're trying to cover something up, but instead issue a press release reporting its existence. (rolls eyes some more)

    To produce steam you need a heat source at 100+ Celsius! Where does it come from? Apart from electrical devices running like engines or pump, I see only one possible cause... Hot shut down state!

    OR You could have a news reporter misusing the word "steam" which, by definition, is invisible to the naked eye. Mist would probably be a better term for how this is being described. (OW OW OW! Eyes rolled too far)

    From Wiki:

    Steam is the technical term for water vapor, the gaseous phase of water, which is formed when water boils. Water vapor cannot be seen, though in common language it is often used to refer to the visible mist of water droplets formed as this water vapor condenses in the presence of cooler air. Strictly speaking, in terms of the chemistry and physics, true steam is invisible.

  • -1

    Skeeter27

    What's the cause for the steam? Hmmmmm heat and water!!!!

  • 0

    techall

    Exactly when did a nuclear reactor that is leaking radioactive water into the ground water and the ocean and still leaking radioactive particles into the air cease to be and emergency?

  • 0

    ohayo206

    I would not trust any quality control or measurement studies from TEPCO. Can you say conflict of interest?? This situation definitely requires an unbiased third party investigation team.

  • 1

    zichi

  • -1

    nigelboy

    To reach cold shutdown means the temperature inside the containment vessel must be less than 60 deg C. The containment vessel is made from thick concrete and steel plates. So if the temp inside is less than 60 deg C, I don't see how the outside would be hot enough to turn rain water into vapor, unless they lied about the actual temp inside the containment vessel?

    I believe it's 90 deg C but as couple of them stated, it's just a mist IMO.

  • 1

    zichi

    Nigelboy There's really no clear definition of what a cold shut is? But if the temperature inside the containment vessel exceeds 80 deg C, TEPCO is required to notify the gov't and the governor. With the method of temperature measurement being using, there's a 20 deg C margin of error. The temperature range would be 60-100 deg C. According to TEPCO the No3 containment vessel is filled with nitrogen to prevent any further hydrogen explosions.

    I never considered the event to be anything major, I just question TEPCO saying it was rainwater on the containment vessel.

  • 0

    TheBigPicture

    Stuff spewing into the air from that plant is unsettling.

  • -1

    ka_chan

    Last time they saw steam, it was from the pig noses but no one had ever seen steam from there before so they did realize that a small amount of steam from the pig noses meant that the reactors were in meltdown. If the gravity cooling system was working they should have seen thundering amounts of steams. Maybe a repeat? Not going to get an explosion this time since any hydrogen can leave the open building.

  • 0

    gogogo

    Stuff spewing into the air from that plant is unsettling.

    Stuff is spewing daily steam or not, the entire thing is open to the air, they were going to cover it with a tent but I guess that idea was scraped.

  • 0

    Charles M Burns

    Not a clue, they don't have a clue...

  • 0

    Nodate

    They better not cover up anything, please, plenty of people's lives are at stake here.

  • -1

    NZ2011

    Any updates? Or we just cool with unexplained steam at nuclear power plant which are still very much an emergency situation?

  • -2

    hoserfella

    Horsefella: the pumps at the sea level were destroyed, hence reactor cooling became impossible, power or not.

    Open Minded - Wrong. The pumps stopped working because the generators were predictably flooded. Its all on Wiki.

  • -1

    nigelboy

    Nigelboy There's really no clear definition of what a cold shut is? But if the temperature inside the containment vessel exceeds 80 deg C, TEPCO is required to notify the gov't and the governor. With the method of temperature measurement being using, there's a 20 deg C margin of error. The temperature range would be 60-100 deg C. According to TEPCO the No3 containment vessel is filled with nitrogen to prevent any further hydrogen explosions

    I don't know where you got that +-20 deg margin of error but by the request of the government, TEPCO installed additional measurement devices as reference to compare with the ones in place to check for any discrepancy.

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/betu13_j/images/130701j0101.pdf

    I never considered the event to be anything major, I just question TEPCO saying it was rainwater on the containment vessel.

    Sorry zichi. I just can't tell whether or not you consider these and many type of articles you post as "major" or not.

  • 1

    zichi

    nigelboy considering the radiation level around the No3 reactor is about 10 SIEVERTS/hour, and higher inside, no worker can get anywhere near to the reactor. Even the debris removal is being done by remote control equipment.

    The radiation level in the Torus Room is more than 10 SIEVERTS/hour, the radiation level inside the Containment Vessel is more than 75 SIEVERTS/hour.

    Several temperature gauges have stopped working.

    Those radiation levels inside the reactor building would kill a person in about one hour.

    TEPCO has no idea what happened to the melted nuclear fuel or where it is located,

  • -3

    nigelboy

    nigelboy considering the radiation level around the No3 reactor is about 10 SIEVERTS/hour, and higher inside, no worker can get anywhere near to the reactor. Even the debris removal is being done by remote control equipment.

    It states 20 mSV/hr to 100 mSV/hr depending on the spots.

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/images/handouts_120705_01-j.pdf

    TEPCO has no idea what happened to the melted nuclear fuel or where it is located,

    That's not true is it zichi?

    It appears you are now changing your mind and considering this situation "major"?

  • 2

    zichi

    @nigelboy The radiation levels inside reactors 1-3 are too high and a major threat to health for workers to enter. The debris removed from the No3 building was measuring 500-800 millisieverts/hour.

    Even the robots are being fried.

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/images/handouts_120627_02-e.pdf

    While the steam is probably not a major event, the situation with reactors 1-3 remains very serious and will remain that way for many decades.

  • -2

    nigelboy

    Zichi,

    Why are you giving me a link which references to Unit 1?

  • 0

    citja

    nigelboy

    Why are you giving me a link which references to Unit 1?

    Because the problem of dangerous and health threatening levels of radiation exist in the 1-3 reactor buildings but the levels in 2&3 are higher than reactor 1. Workers can only enter certain parts of No1 for very limited times while no worker can enter the No3. Even the simple event of steam/vapor spotted on the roof of the No3 had to be observed using a remote control camera. TEPCO could just send in a worker to check it out. TEPCO still don't have a clue where to locate the melted fuels and until they do they won't be able to come up with a plan to remove it.

    The problem over the steam is probably a minor one but that does not mean there are not many very serious problems which TEPCO needs to discover a way of resolving them, but there again, these major problems will go on at least until the end of this century and maybe even beyond that.

    Dealing with this major nuclear disaster isn't the same as dealing with some train wreck.

  • -2

    nigelboy

    Because the problem of dangerous and health threatening levels of radiation exist in the 1-3 reactor buildings but the levels in 2&3 are higher than reactor 1. Workers can only enter certain parts of No1 for very limited times while no worker can enter the No3. Even the simple event of steam/vapor spotted on the roof of the No3 had to be observed using a remote control camera. TEPCO could just send in a worker to check it out. TEPCO still don't have a clue where to locate the melted fuels and until they do they won't be able to come up with a plan to remove it.

    With all due respect, I'm asking Zichi to answer them.

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