Highly radioactive water gushed from a decontamination pipe at the No. 3 reactor before workers noticed and turned it off, while newly released images of the fuel storage pool at the same reactor have illustrated the difficulty of clear-up work.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, released photos Oct. 15 showing rubble and broken equipment inside the water-filled storage pool, taken by a camera probe inserted Oct. 11 and 12.
One image shows the submerged motor of a 35-ton fuel hoist, which fell into the pool in a hydrogen explosion in March 2011.
TEPCO said the images allow it to figure out the machine's orientation. The hoist is lying in the pool's northern section, apparently having toppled from the east side toward the west.
Another image showed lumps of concrete lying on a rack that would ordinarily hold spent fuel.
TEPCO is trying to picture conditions inside the pool in order to prepare to remove debris, including the broken hoist.
Because of high radiation levels, workers have been using remotely operated equipment to clear rubble nearby. However, that operation ran into difficulties when a steel beam fell into the pool.
Separately, TEPCO reported that 90 liters of highly radioactive water spewed from a pipe on the first floor of the No. 3 reactor’s turbine building.
The water was contained within the building, the company said.
TEPCO said a worker employed by a subcontractor discovered water gushing from the pipe around 10 a.m. on Oct. 15, and raised the alarm.
The pipe delivers contaminated water from the building basement to a purification facility.
The company said the leak stopped after operators halted a pump. It had trouble with the same pipe in August, when 4 tons of water leaked out.
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