Brief pause in Fukushima Daiichi underground tank pumping, and other site news

13 May 2013

By 3 May, almost all of the water had been pumped out of underground reservoirs 1 and 2, where leaks were found, to overground storage tanks H2 and the filtrate water tank. A second pumping campaign is scheduled to begin in late May to move in total 16,000 tons of water from buried tank no. 3, where a small amount of leakage is expected, and number six, which is not under suspicion, to a 19,000-capacity overground tank, G6.

On a recent day (10 May) the highest levels of contamination around the reservoirs were beta radiation (not from caesium or iodine isotopes) of 23 Bq/cm^3 from the northeast side drain hole; leakage detection hole water had beta levels four times as high. In neither case was caesium-137 detected (less than 7.3x10-2 Bq/cm^3).

In other news, highly-radioactive debris (504 mSv/hr) has been found when clearing the western side of the upper part of unit 3 with a remote-controlled digger. The debris was mounted onto a remote-controlled truck and moved to the south side of unit 3, and was scheduled to be moved to the solid waste storage site north of the site's main anti-earthquake building. The work was part of a project to install a protective cover over the unit 3 spent fuel pool. The first phase of protection was installed on 22 April. The skimmer surge tank hatch cover was found during debris removal and returned to its original position.

A system to route groundwater flowing downhill around the Fukushima Daiichi reactors has successfully passed a water quality test. Three different systems pump groundwater into temporary tanks before they are released into the sea. A water quality test of the system A pump well and temporary storage tank A been completed. The Cs-137 density was found to be below allowable level (1 Bq/L) and that of other nuclides was below detection limits or below legal limits.

TEPCO has released its annual report. In its 2012 fiscal year ended 31 March, it paid a total of JPY 1161.9 billion ($12.3 billion) in nuclear damage compensation. It also reported it received about half of that (JPY 696.8 billion) back as grants-in-aid from the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund. It also reported an extraordinary disaster loss of JPY 40.2 bilion, and JPY 15.5 billion lost on a modification of its nuclear fuel reprocessing contract. Still, extraordinary losses were less than half that of fiscal year 2012 (JPY 2865.1 billion), the first full year after the disaster. (All of the figures are non-consolidated). As a result, ordinary income was JPY -326.9 billion. TEPCO reported that operating costs rose partly because of increased fuel costs at replacement thermal power stations. Revenues were up 13.1% on the previous year to JPY 5375.4 billion (for 269 billion kWh) because of an increase in the unit price of electricity. TEPCO has declined to publish projections for fiscal year 2013 operating revenues, ordinary income and net income, "due to forecasting difficulties and because the present situation makes it difficult to release an operation plan for Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station." It did predict that it would expect to sell 267 billion kWh.

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