22 Mai 2012
May 22, 2012
Fukushima reactor vessel may be leaking water
Japanese scientists say cooling water may be leaking from a second reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. They say the water level of the reactor's containment vessel is much shallower than previously thought.
Researchers at the government-backed Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization analyzed the internal pressure and other data from the No.1 reactor.
They say the water in the vessel is about 40 centimeters deep. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, says the water should have a depth of about 2 meters.
They say water may be leaking from a hole in a pipe 40 centimeters from the bottom of the vessel. The pipe is connected to the suppression chamber below. The hole is estimated to be 2 centimeters across.
The power company says that despite the low water level, the nuclear fuel in the vessel is sufficiently cooled at about 30 degrees Celsius.
In March, the utility used an endoscope to find that the water level inside the No.2 reactor had fallen to 60 centimeters.
The water leaks at the two reactors could make the task of decommissioning the plant more difficult. The utility plans to fill the containment vessels with water to remove melted fuel.