– TEPCO to review No. 1 reactor plan (NHK – May 13, 2011):
Tokyo Electric Power Company is being forced to review its strategy for stabilizing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after announcing that one of its reactors is in a state of “meltdown.”
TEPCO revealed on Thursday that most of the fuel rods in the No.1 reactor are believed to have melted and fallen to the bottom of the reactor.
The company said the coolant water in the reactor had dropped to a level that would completely expose fuel rods.
TEPCO believes the fuel at the bottom has cooled down, judging from the surface temperature of the reactor.
On Friday, workers brought in equipment for connecting a circulating cooling system to the reactor, in line with a plan TEPCO decided last month.
Under the plan, the utility was to fill the No. 1 reactor containment vessel with water. A cooling system was to be set up that would circulate this water through a heat exchanger.
But this system will only work if the water in the containment vessel is at least 5 meters deep.
TEPCO says it does not know the current water level, but is hoping to quickly establish a way to find out.
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda said it is a fact that the water injected into the No.1 reactor leaked away because of a hole or holes created by the meltdown.
He said this is the main reason why TEPCO’s plan needs to be reviewed.