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“Issues of Water and Light in the Turbine Buildings at Fukushima Daiichi” 『福島第一原発のタービン建屋の水と照明について』 on Japan Focus

Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant have been trying to reestablish electricity connections to pumps so as to restart the cooling system for the reactors at the plant. According to news reports, two of the major obstacles have been

• a high radiation environment (on the order of 1,000 millisieverts per hour) due to contaminated water on the floor of the turbine buildings, and
• a lack of light in the turbine buildings, which has forced the electricians to work in the dark.

The combination of these two factors has made it exceedingly difficult to accomplish the objective and has so far frustrated it. Pumping water out of the reactor buildings has not been possible since there are no empty tanks on site of sufficient capacity to hold the water, which is too contaminated to be pumped into the ocean. Recent reports indicate that the water is also leaking out of the building on to the site, further contaminating the working environment and complicating efforts to bring the problem of cooling the reactors and spent fuel pools under control.

It is extremely difficult to suggest possible courses of action from afar; yet sometimes, the ability to bring the experience of other localities and technological challenges to bear on a problem may be helpful. In this spirit, we put forward a suggestion in the hope that it might be considered by those on site who are struggling with the very difficult and complex effort to bring seven major sources of radioactivity under control (three reactors and four spent fuel pools). The suggestions presented here may or may not be suitable courses of action. However, they may be worthy of consideration after which the authorities may decide whether they merit implementation or suggest alternative approaches. It should be understood explicitly, that we are not recommending that the steps outlined below be implemented, since we are not in a position to evaluate the various possible safety and feasibility issues associated with them. The responsibility for making and implementing decisions belongs fully and solely to the Japanese government’s safety authorities and the Tokyo Electric Power

福島第一原発の作業員たちは原子炉の冷却システムに電源をつなぎ復旧するために尽力してきている。報道によると、次の二つの主要な障壁があるとされる。

• タービン建屋の床に溜まった水の汚染により、高放射線の環境となっていること(毎時約1,000ミリシーベルト)。

• タービン建屋に照明がなく、電気技師たちは暗闇で作業をすることを強いられていること。

この二つの要因が重なったせいで、目的を達成するのが極めて困難になっている。十分な容量のあるタンクが現場にないので、原子炉建屋から水を汲み出すことができず、水は汚染がひどく海に流すことはできない。最新の報告によれば、水は建屋の外にまで漏れ出しており、作業環境を更に汚染し、原子炉と使用済み燃料プール冷却の問題を制御可能にするための努力は難航している。

遠くにいながら解決策を提案するというのは大変難しいことではある。しかし、場合によっては、ある問題に対し、他の場所での経験や、別の状況で起こった技術的問題の経験を生かすことができるかもしれない。このような観点から、放射性物質の主な7つの発生源(3つの原子炉と4つの使用済み燃料プール)を制御するため、非常に困難で複雑な作業に携わっている現場の人たちに検討してもらえばと思い、ここに提案をしたい。

Continue reading at “Issues of Water and Light in the Turbine Buildings at Fukushima Daiichi” 『福島第一原発のタービン建屋の水と照明について』から続きをどうぞ。

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