TEPCO’s new cooling plan for Fukushima 1

After finding no water at all in the section of the reactor core of Fukushima 1 unit 1 that normally holds the fuel rods but instead finding 3000 tons of leaked water in the basement of the unit, TEPCO has abandoned its original plan and come up with a different plan to cool the reactor core.

Instead of trying to raise the water level inside the light bulb-shaped containment that surrounds the pressure vessel, which has not succeeded, it will spray water on to the reactor pressure vessel from above. The water will be pumped from the basement of the reactor, into which it appears to have been leaking and where it currently stands 4 m deep. It will be decontaminated to make it less radioactive before being recycled for cooling. A water decontamination unit built for TEPCO by French nuclear company AREVA is expected to arrive on Tuesday.

Reactors to be covered under tents

Meanwhile TEPCO has announced plans to cover units 1, 3 and 4 under tent-like polyester fabric sheets supported by a steel frame. The reactor building of unit 2 did not suffer a hydrogen explosion and therefore does not need covering. The tents may make it possible to filter radioactive steam and other emissions still rising from the reactor buildings whose cores are still beyond the boiling point and whose spent fuel pools are being cooled through water evaporation. Before the structure can be erected the vicinity of the blocks needs to be cleared of debris to make space for cranes and other construction equipment.

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