– Temperature at No.3 reactor rises (NHK, June 22, 2011):
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says temperatures at the No.3 reactor have started to rise after it reduced the injection rate of cooling water. The cutback is part of efforts to prevent possible overflows of radioactive water at the facility.
On Tuesday, Tokyo Electric Power Company reduced the amount of fresh water it has been injecting into 3 of the plant’s reactors. The volume was cut back by 0.5 tons per hour at the No. 1 and 2 reactors, and by 1 ton at the No.3 reactor.
TEPCO says that by 5 AM on Wednesday, temperatures at the upper and lower parts of the No.3 reactor had risen by 4 and 7 degrees Celsius, respectively, from the day before. But it says temperatures at the other 2 reactors remained relatively stable.
The company says it will carefully monitor the No.3 reactor but will keep the rate of water injection unchanged. It added that it will further reduce the rate of water injection into the other 2 reactors by 0.5 tons per hour.
TEPCO is facing difficulties in striking a balance between cooling down the reactors and limiting the amount of highly radioactive water threatening to spill out.
More than 110,000 tons of such water is believed to have accumulated at the nuclear complex. Tuesday’s start of the annual rainy season has also added to fears of overflows.
TEPCO has yet to start full operation of a crucial system to decontaminate the wastewater. It hopes to use the treated water to cool the reactors.