Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kyodo news: Workers enter No. 1 reactor building for first time since explosion


 Workers entered the No. 1 nuclear reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant Thursday for the first time since a hydrogen explosion occurred outside the reactor container on March 12, a day after the complex was damaged by a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami, Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials said.


                                                                                                             KYODO PHOTO
 An aerial photo shows the extensive damage at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Nine workers entered the plant Thursday to install a new ventilation device and possibly pave the way for more repair work in the near future.


 The workers installed eight pipes of 30 centimeters in diameter connected to a ventilating device at the adjacent turbine building as part of efforts to reduce the high level of radioactive contamination inside the reactor building by circulating air through a filter on the device, the officials said.
 The move is aimed at preventing workers from suffering internal radiation exposure when they work on setting up a new cooling system at the No. 1 reactor, according to Tokyo Electric, or TEPCO, which operates the plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
 The ventilation, which will be continued for about three days, could pave the way for more workers to enter the reactor building and install heat-exchanger equipment and other devices in an effective manner, the officials said.
 They added that the operator is planning to start setting up the cooling system as early as Sunday and begin circulating water in the reactor container next month.
 On Thursday, nine workers with protective suits, masks and air packs broke up into several teams to install the pipes, while four others checked radiation levels inside the No. 1 reactor building to make sure the workers were not heavily exposed to radioactive substances, according to the officials.
 The radiation level was 10 to 93 millisieverts per hour inside the reactor building, and the workers were exposed to between 0.24 and 2.8 millisieverts, which was within the expected range, they said.
 The task is expected to help reduce the concentration of radioactive substances inside the building to one-twentieth the current levels as the air will go through the pipes and through the filter, which will catch the substances, before going back to the reactor building.

©japantimes.co.jp




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