There have been ongoing concerns and speculation about unit 4’s spent fuel pool since the New Years Day earthquake. As mentioned previously there were radiation spikes on January 2nd and unit 3 leaked a considerable amount of radiation out the intake canal. TEPCO has since been inspecting radiation levels all over unit 3. They have also been continuing to look for the leak problem at unit 4’s spent fuel pool even after they told the public it was an isolated incident with the skimmer tank overflowing into the reactor well.
A known blogger in Fukushima is claiming workers told her the fuel pool at unit 4 was at one point boiling and has a broken pipe. (HT to Fukushima Diary who found this)
Upon looking further METI has not released any plant data for Jan 1 – 3rd. The METI plant parameter documents are the one document that shows the temperature of each spent fuel pool. Here is an example of the one for January 4. Spent fuel pool temperatures is the 4 row up from the bottom of the big table in the document. January 4 temperature for the spent fuel pool at unit 4 is 21c.
So why no reports for January 1 to 3? No explanation.
TEPCO made the following announcement in their daily plant reports:
At around 1:00 pm on January 8, at circulating cooling system for spent fuel pool of unit 4, we found water leakage from 4 points of cooling pipe
of air fin cooler (System B) when we tried to conduct scheduled switching of air fin cooler (From System A to System B). Currently, we are
investigating the cause of the leakage. Leaked water is purified water (pure water)* and is not contained radioactive materials. Now we secluded
the air fin cooler from the system to prevent the spread of water leakage. In addition, the cooling of spent fuel pool has no problem because we are
currently using air fin cooler (System A) to cool spent fuel pool. * Purified water (pure water): The water from Sakashita dam
The leak told by TEPCO is on the “clean” side of the cooling loop. It is a problem and could explain some problems but it does not give a method for the fuel pool water to escape. TEPCO released this document with images of the cooling system leak.
What all of this means is again, not totally clear. It is fairly obvious that the New Years Day quake did more damage than clearly admitted by TEPCO. Even more concerning is the appearance of an almost news blackout on what is going on at the plant. With the declaration of cold shutdown public accountability seems to have waned.
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