Filter waste containers stored at Fukushima Daiichi are at risk of having hydrogen explosions.
TEPCO released documents on Friday detailing in depth the analysis of the stored HIC (high impact container) containers at the disaster site. Radioactive water had been found puddling up in the lip of the plastic and steel containers a few months ago. TEPCO then conducted inspections on groups of these containers to try to determine what was going on. The end result is that the highly radioactive sludge in the containers is generating hydrogen gas. The sludge in these containers can be as high as 3 Sv/hour – 9 Sv.hour just for a single type of isotope. Hydrogen concentrations found were mostly currently below concentrations known to be explosive. Container W6 was found to have concentrations high enough to cause an explosion of it encountered a spark or flame.
NRA confirmed that this is a very real risk in this Asahi Shimbun article.
“If the concentration level is high, a spark caused by static electricity could cause a container to explode,” the official said.
TEPCO also found that some of these containers with ALPS sludge were missing the proper vent valve. Today’s daily report from TEPCO also found that some of the similar containers used to hold sludge from the cesium filter systems were missing vent valves.
NRA did not elaborate on the extent of the risk if a container or containers were to experience an explosion. At a minimum it could damage a container and the concrete storage box, potentially spewing the contents in the immediate area of the canisters. Since the containers hold such highly radioactive sludge, having the contents spread over the container storage area could cause a considerable problem for working in the area or attempting to contain any such spill.
TEPCO report on the HIC container situation:
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