On Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) took a sample of water from the Number One reactor’s primary containment vessel for the first time since the meltdown last year.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a catastrophic meltdown in March 2011. First an earthquake occurred off Japan, then a tsunami followed shortly after. Both damaged the nuclear reactors, causing a meltdown that is still not under control.
TEPCO has used computer simulations to show that the fuel core is still inside the primary containment facility, but other data seems to indicate that the fuel core melted through and is at least a few meters below the foundation of the building. This sample of water from the from the Number One reactor’s primary containment vessel adds another data point.
Water inside the primary containment vessel contains 19000 becquerels of cesium 134 per cubic centimeter and 35000 becquerels of cesium 137. These levels are lower than in the water outside the containment vessel, indicating that the radioactive material has settled outside the containment vessel.
A report released earlier this year by the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission provided evidence that the magnitude of the accident was a result of “collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties”. It appears that transparency is still an issue in this case.
Nuclear image via Shutterstock