Most in the know have strongly suspected this since 2011 but TEPCO finally admitted this today. Unit 3’s containment structure is failed via the reactor well. This came about as the press questioned TEPCO about the ongoing steam leak source at unit 3. TEPCO had been declaring it to be rain leaking onto a warm structure up until now.
Ex-SKF translates this from the TEPCO PR representative at today’s press conference:
“it was around this area where the steam was coming from inside the reactor’s Containment Vessel right after the accident [explosion of Reactor 3 on March 14, 2011“]
LaPrimavera at Ex-SKF found this perplexing as he didn’t remember TEPCO admitting this in 2011 while they today act like everyone knew. He is right, TEPCO never admitted this and the one statement about the issue in 2011 was vague and never later confirmed by the government or TEPCO.
Sandia National Labs (US) has used computer models that show how the containment structure can leak via the containment cap and out the reactor well as seen in the illustration below
Our research found this is a known potential in a meltdown. US research using the Peach Bottom reactor showed a phenomenon where the containment cap bolts can stretch under heat and pressure allowing the containment cap to lift like a pressure relief valve on a pressure cooker. Sandia considers this leak path to be credible via their computer analysis of the disaster. The gasket materials used for sealing the containment cap are also known to have a limited heat resistance that could lead to failure of the gasket.
Ex-SKF also catches another bit by TEPCO where they are now seemingly admitting the explosion at unit 3 was a steam explosion. Their 2011 public claims were that it was only a hydrogen explosion of the building. This may confirm the hypothesis as Ian Goddard details, that there was an ex-vessel steam explosion of the reactor containment in addition to the hydrogen explosion.
This new TEPCO report admits the leak to currently be 3 normal meters cubed per hour. TEPCO also included this graphic in their report that shows the leak path they assume to be happening.
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