Australian news, and some related international items

TEPCO’s response again…Waste storage facilities are about to run out of space, and contaminated water treatment at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is feared to be delayed

TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March, from the “Oozuru” helicopter at the head office.

September 13, 2022

◆Sweet prediction led to crisis
 This forecast is unreliable. If we make a slight mistake, we will go bankrupt,” said Nobuhiko Ban, a member of the regulatory commission. At a meeting of the regulatory commission, Nobuhiko Ban, a member of the commission, harshly criticized TEPCO’s lenient forecast.
 The committee discussed the “HIC,” a container for muddy waste generated by the Advanced Landfill Process (ALPS), which removes radioactive materials other than tritium. In response to TEPCO’s forecast of the amount of waste to be generated, the Regulatory Commission asked for the construction of a new storage facility in anticipation of a case in which the amount of waste generated does not proceed as expected.

 The HIC is a high-performance cylindrical polyethylene container with a diameter of 1.5 meters, a height of 1.8 meters, and a thickness of approximately 1 centimeter. It is used to store muddy waste generated as a byproduct of the purification process using the Advanced Landfill Process (ALPS), which removes radioactive materials other than tritium. The waste is stored in a concrete box in an outdoor storage area on the south side of the site. The storage capacity is for 4,192 units, and as of August 4 of this year, 4,027 units had been placed there. When the yard is full, ALPS will not be able to operate.

TEPCO’s failure to prepare for such a contingency is a major reason for this predicament.
 The HIC contains highly radioactive sludge, which poses an extremely high risk in the event of a leak. Therefore, TEPCO considered equipment to dehydrate the sludge and turn it into a solid substance. The dehydrated solids will be stored in metal boxes in a separate warehouse, and the HIC will be disposed of by incineration or other means. If everything goes according to plan, the amount of HIC will continue to decrease after FY2022, when the facility will be in operation, and the capacity of the storage facility should not be a problem.
 TEPCO has so far continued to deny that it would be able to handle the additional storage space, saying that it would be possible to do so once the facility started operation in FY2010.
 However, at a regulatory committee meeting last June, it was pointed out that measures to prevent exposure to radiation at the facility were inadequate, and subsequent discussions led to a review of the design. The plan was delayed more than two years from the original schedule.
◆Life Exceeded and Damage May Occur
 What was also unforeseen was the service life of the HIC. TEPCO initially thought that the HIC would exceed its service life after 25 years, but the Regulatory Commission pointed out that this assumption was too optimistic. It was discovered that as many as 79 HICs may exceed their service life and be damaged by the end of FY2010, taking into account the effects of the high density of sludge that had accumulated at the bottom of the HICs.
 In February of this year, TEPCO began transferring the sludge in the HICs that had exceeded their service life to new HICs. As a result, the number of HICs is expected to increase by another 45 in FY2010, in addition to the amount generated by the treatment work. The extra amount, equivalent to about three months’ worth of sludge, is the result of underestimating the service life of the HICs.

◆Repeated backpedaling
 Even after these contingencies occurred, TEPCO did not immediately move to secure storage capacity. Only now is it finally considering changes to the ALPS operation method and the construction of a new storage facility, in an attempt to avert a critical situation.
 At the beginning of the accident, TEPCO underestimated that the generation of contaminated water could be stopped immediately and hastily built bolted tanks with low durability. Contaminated water continued to flow, causing frequent accidents involving leaks from the tanks. The same old “last-minute” response to the situation is about to be repeated again.


September 19, 2022 - Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , ,

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