Nuke Generators Head Higher

Friday, April 15, 2011 @ 05:04 PM gHale


Learning from the past, Tokyo Electric Power Co. will move emergency generators to higher ground to avoid further tsunamis as the company, and nation, continues its crusade to stabilize the crippled Fukushima reactors.

The diesel backup generators will go close to 70 feet above sea level, which is double the current height. Officials will be able to hook them up to the cooling systems around April 19, the company said.

Meanwhile, aftershocks as big as magnitude-7 are likely to continue striking the area, said Teruyuki Kato, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute.

The emergency generators and cooling systems at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi station were out of commission after a tsunami with a 15-meter surge followed a magnitude-9 earthquake March 11. That series of events triggered the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The aftershocks continue to slow work in stabilizing the plant as the tremblers disabled power and cooling for almost an hour.

Tokyo Electric estimates the fight to stabilize the plant will last through June, leaving them vulnerable to the continued quakes and more radiation leaks.

Engineers at the utility rejected a proposal to flood the reactors, which could lower temperatures in days rather than months. Instead, the utility is pumping in water and venting off steam, a method called “feed and bleed.”

Flooding would increase the amount of tainted water that gets into the ocean and also raise the possibility of more hydrogen explosions inside the containment vessels, officials at the scene said.

Tokyo Electric has poured millions of liters of water to cool the reactors and spent fuel. Some highly contaminated water leaked into the sea and the utility has dumped less toxic fluids into the ocean.



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