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State considers options to deal with radioactivity at plant  Asahi Shimbun

Government officials are scrambling to devise emergency measures--including covering damaged reactor buildings and using robots--to deal with radioactive materials that have hindered work at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

....

One measure under discussion is spraying a special paint over radioactive materials attached inside the No. 1 to No. 4 reactor buildings and then using a special canvass structure to cover the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 reactor buildings, which have been damaged by hydrogen explosions. That plan could prevent radioactive materials from spreading through the air. A ventilation system with filters would be attached because of the danger of another explosion of hydrogen accumulating under the air-tight canvass structure.

Another measure under discussion would involve filling an empty tanker anchored at the harbor adjacent to the Fukushima No. 1 plant with highly contaminated water leaking into the basement of the turbine buildings of the No. 2 and other reactors. Pumps would be used to remove the radioactive water from the buildings.

Removal of the hazardous liquid would allow work to continue to restore power and the pumps needed to cool the reactor core and reduce the risk of radioactive water overflowing into the ocean. However, officials of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism have raised concerns about the lack of docking facilities in the area for a large tanker. Other officials opposed the plan due to concerns about the safety of workers who would be asked to pump the water from the plant.

Also under discussion is the use of robots and remote-control operating equipment because of the limits to what the workers can do amid the high radiation levels. Sources said the Japanese government has asked the business sector and the U.S. government for cooperation in the use of robotics.


I take little pleasure in comparing the alacrity with which the Japanese Government and TEPCO have responded to this catastrophe with that displayed by the Bush Administration in New Orleans after Katrina. Perhaps time was required to move the Government into the lead on this, but I cannot but believe that a good incident commander would have had independent teams of experts moving on everything that has been discussed by March 21 and would have been pumping contaminated water into a barge or tanker by the 23rd. They should already be working on the next generation of robotic devices.  At least they appear to be starting. I just hope that we don't get full-scale meltdowns while waiting to allow sufficient saving of face.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 11:17:55 PM EST

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