Tepco finds source of water leak in reactor 3


Tepco has found the exact place where radioactive water is leaking from the primary containment vessel of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Using a camera survey, Tokyo Electric Power Co. found the water leaking near a pipe joint that penetrates the containment vessel, officials said Thursday.

The vessel still contains water because the cooling of the plant’s crippled reactors must continue daily.

The leak is probably occurring because the level of the water in the containment vessel is higher than the area where the pipe joint is, Tepco said.

Nailing down the area is an important process in Tepco’s plan to scrap reactors 1, 2 and 3, which suffered meltdowns during the early stage of the crisis in 2011.

The damaged vessel is likely leaking water that is being injected as coolant.

But, to remove the melted fuel, the utility wants to first plug the leak and fill the container with water, which serves as a shield against radiation.

Based on the latest findings, Tepco plans to calculate the amount of water that is leaking and study ways to stop the leak.

The survey was conducted after Tepco found in January that water was pouring into a drain on the first floor of the building housing the No. 3 reactor.

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  • rlhailssrpe

    There are infinities of things that are not stated here, vital information, which is impossible to assess. But having engineered a number of Containment such as Fukushima, in the US, I can state that one hole 2 mm in diameter in a vessel which may be 50 – 100 M high would flunk an air leakage test. The limit is basically defined by instrument error influenced by atmospheric fluctuations.

    It is inconceivable to me, why this leakage source was found recently.

    This pressure vessel is most complex, both in shape and the number of vital penetrations. My concern, at this time, is the danger caused by the flooding which will be needed to remove the core. The massive weight of the water will create enormous inertial loads and stresses should another quake occur. Any pipe penetration may present the pin in the water balloon problem. That is when we will learn if it was engineered and built correctly. The steel should be as ductile as chewing gum, stretch not break.

    The people of the world pray for those who suffer from the great earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster.