Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Unprepared For Typhoon

Japan Probe

A large typhoon is heading in the direction of Japan. As the above forecast shows, it will be probably plowing its way through most of Japan, eventually working its way up to Tohoku by the 30th or 1st.
Although the storm will be considerably weakened by the time it reaches Northern Honshu, it might cause heavy rain in Fukushima. According to TEPCO, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is not fully prepared to deal with such a situation:
Tokyo Electric, or TEPCO, has for the last month been spreading anti-scattering agents around the troubled Nos. 1 to 4 reactor buildings to prevent radioactively contaminated dust from being carried into the air and sea by rain and wind.
But some of the reactor buildings have been left uncovered after they were damaged by hydrogen explosions following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO plans to launch the work to put covers on the destroyed buildings in mid-June.
A TEPCO official said, “We have made utmost efforts, but we have not completed covering the damaged reactor buildings. We apologize for the lack of significant measures against wind and rain.”
If heavy rains do occur over Fukushima, it could cause contaminated dirt and debris to flow into the ocean. It may also worsen the flooding of some of the buildings, especially those without roofs. It would definitely complicate the clean-up effort.

Update: Jiji Press has reported on some of the measures being taken in preparation for the arrival of the typhoon.

The tall concrete pump crane that has been used to spray water onto the used fuel storage area of reactor 4 will be taken down and folded up before the typhoon arrives (to avoid damage to the machinery).
Yesterday, TEPCO sprayed an anti-scattering agent around and on the reactor #1 building. They had planned to spray the agent on the reactor #2 building today, but pre-typhoon rains forced them to cancel work.

The article states that the typhoon won’t be able to inflict significant damage on the reactor buildings or the reactors, but rain water could cause radioactive water (from previous leaks) to flood out of some of the reactor buildings.

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