Work to prepare to pump out radioactive water from the basements of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants are proceeding.
Workers plan to pump the water into turbine condensers, but needed to pump water out of them first. Work to transfer water from the unit 2 and 1 condenser to a central storage tank was completed on 9 and 10 April. Also, workers have knocked holes through the turbine hall buildings of units 2 and 4 to accommodate hoses for the water transfer. At unit 3, work continues to make space for water in the turbine condenser by pumping operations in other tanks. Japanese news wire NHK reports that workers are laying hoses to transfer water to a LLW waste processing facility, which continues to be inspected.
TEPCO says that it cannot start work switching on emergency systems on site until the turbine hall is dry.
NHK also reported that radioactive water filling a tunnel near unit 2 has risen 12 cm since a leak in a trench was stopped on Wednesday 6 April.
A senior agency official of Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that safety protocols at the country need to be reexamined in the light of the effect of the recent earthquake and tsunami, according to a report from Japanese news wire NHK, republished by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum. Hidehiko Nishiyama said that safety measures for nuclear plants compiled before the earthquake are not sufficient.
Also, Japan Atomic Industrial Forum reports that TEPCO has estimated that 70% of the unit 1 fuel has been damaged, and 30% of the unit 2 fuel and 25% of the unit 3 fuel, based on radiation levels inside containment.
A 9 April survey of radiation in seawater outside unit 2 shows radioactive isotope concentrations (Iodine 131, Caesium 134 and Caesium 137) falling for the third straight day since the leak was plugged. However, the levels are still high, at several thousand times legal levels. Other nuclides are being investigated, but Japan regulator NISA has flagged up problems with TEPCO's sampling methodology.
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