Temperatures Rise in Fukushima Reactor Pools, U.S. Says

Friday, 18 Mar 2011 08:42 PM

 

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March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Temperatures are climbing in the spent-fuel pools for reactors 5 and 6 at the damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in Japan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a report sent to U.S. operators.

The pools “appear to be intact” and emergency power is available to “provide cooling water flow,” the NRC said yesterday in describing events after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Water levels are low in fuel pools for units 3 and 4 and it’s not known if they are leaking, the NRC said.

The primary containment vessel for unit 2 in the six- reactor plant may be damaged, the NRC said. Primary containment for units 1 and 3 “remain functional” and “efforts to supply seawater” to cool the plant’s stricken reactors persist, the agency said.

Spent-fuel pools for units 5 and 6, which weren’t operating at the time of the tsunami, “appear to be intact, but the temperature of the pool water appears to be increasing,” the NRC said.

The update on the Fukushima plant was included in a notice to U.S. reactor operators which said they must study Japan’s nuclear crisis and consider “appropriate” steps to prevent similar problems.

The earthquake and tsunami exceeded the Fukushima plant’s design limits, knocking out “both the off-site and on-site power systems” needed to cool its reactors, the NRC said in the notice.

“The NRC expects U.S. nuclear plant operators will review the entire notice to determine how it applies to their facilities and consider actions, as appropriate,” the agency said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

--Editors: Steve Geimann, Larry Liebert

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Lomax in Washington at slomax@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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