TEPCO To Remove Deadly Radioactive Vent Pipe

TEPCO announced they will remove the vent pipes that connected units 1 and 2 to the shared vent tower. These pipes
are some of the most radioactive locations at the disaster site. An elaborate system for isolating these pipes remotely removing
them has been planned. This work can not be done by human workers for obvious reasons.

The initial reason for removing sections of the pipe was to install the new cover building. Just removing certain sections would be problematic. Removing the entire system of pipes means that these dangerous systems would be better isolated from possibly leaking into the environment.


fukushima daiichi cover building footprint 2021

The sections of pipe that lead from the reactor buildings to the vent tower will be removed just short of the section with the
highest levels of radiation near the tower base. Those sections near the tower will be capped off


fukushima unit 1 2 vent tower pipe removal 2021


The pipe sections after removal will be “shredded” in a facility set up inside the unit 4 garage entrance area.

fukushima daiichi unit 1 2 vent pipe removal work area


The pipe sections will be cut down on-site to be removed and handled elsewhere


fukushima unit 1 2 vent pipe removal cutting diagram


This cutting rig will be suspended from a crane to reach the pipe sections

fukushima units 1 2 vent pipe cutting rig


Each pipe section will be filled with foam filler in the location the pipe will be cut to prevent
contaminated materials from leaking out.

fukushima unit 1 2 vent pipe foam filler


Then the larger pipe sections will be transported to unit 4 to be cut down further

fukushima unit 1 2 vent pipe removal process


The cutting rig inside unit 4 will cut the pipe sections down further and pack them in radioactive
material storage containers

fukushima unit 1 2 vent pipe cutting rig in unit 4


This work may start as early as October and will take into 2022 to complete unit 1’s pipe sections

fukushima unit 1 2 vent pipe removal schedule

Various efforts will be made to try to contain radioactive materials during this work including dust inhibitors, filtration systems, and spray suppression. Additional localized dust monitors will be used during this work. Past incidents have shown that the general site dust monitors frequently missed radioactive dust releases during dismantling work at the site.

A translated version of the TEPCO report with more details can be found here.
The original in Japanese can be found here.



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