Friday, May 13, 2011

Hole in Reactor May Be Cause of Water Level Drop, Officials Say

A hole in reactor one of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant may be behind a dramatic drop in water levels inside the pressure vessel, operator Tokyo Electric Power Company said Thursday. TEPCO officials said the amount of water inside the vessel was much lower than previously thought, fully exposing the fuel rods and melting them. The pressure and temperature inside held steady, an indication that the fuel rods were now being cooled in water at the bottom of the vessel, TEPCO said. "The important point is that this is news that TEPCO has found that a measurement they have been making for several weeks was incorrect," said Per Peterson of Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley. "It does not mean that anything new is happening in the unit one reactor now." Peterson said that steady pressure and temperatures indicated the fuel was being adequately cooled in its current configuration. More>