Crews successfully moved water from Fukushima Daiichi unit 2’s condenser to a condensate storage tank over the weekend, allowing them to begin pumping water from the unit’s basement into the condenser in a bid to lower radiation levels.

Fukushima Daiichi main building Source: TEPCO
Work was underway Sunday to begin transferring 3,000 tons of water in trenches and the basement of unit 2 where dose readings have delayed repair work on the reactor for days. While the highest readings have been found at unit 2, the basements of units 1 and 3 also are filled with irradiated water. Some 60,000 tons in total will be pumped into condensers, a waste storage building where low-level radioactive water has been drained into the sea and an off-site storage container that has yet to arrive.

In a bid to reduce radiation levels outside the reactor buildings, heavy machinery operated by remote control also was deployed over the weekend, Kyodo reported Tokyo Electric Power Co. as saying.  The equipment will secure debris between units 2 and 3 and the west side of unit 3 where dose levels have been recorded at several hundred millisieverts per hour.

Inside the reactors damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported the temperature of the feed water nozzle of unit 1 at 235 C and the bottom of the structure at 120 C. The temperature at unit 2’s feed water nozzle was 145 C. Unit 3’s nozzle measured 97 C with a reading of 109 C at the bottom of the vessel. Temperatures below 95 C indicate cold shutdown, according to the IAEA.

Just up the coast from Fukushima, regulators were also busy inspecting the Onagawa nuclear plant following another earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan Thursday. The IAEA reported over the weekend that all external power has been restored at the plant. Three liters of water spilled from one of the plant’s spent fuel tanks. The spill and associated radiation were confined to the reactor building and subsequently cleaned up.

(Photo: Tsunami damage is evident in one of Fukushima Daiichi's main buildings. Source: TEPCO)