Fukushima Unit 2 Subdrain Has Larger Problem

In recent weeks TEPCO began reporting about high radiation readings in subdrain pits near the reactor buildings. TEPCO’s original intention was to begin using these to draw out contaminated water, treat this water and release it to the sea. The subdrain pits existed before the disaster to keep groundwater from infiltrating the reactor building basements.

TEPCO noted that the subdrain pit wells in this area are inter connected. They at least hinted they think this may have caused the fluctuation of contamination in some of these wells.

TEPCO tried to dismiss the problem as being caused by “fallout” and not due to leaks from the reactor buildings. Their proof was taking two samples of water, one from the subdrain pits and one from unit 2’s turbine building. Since the ratios of cesiums, beta radiation and tritium didn’t match they insisted this means the water in the subdrain pits on the other side of the reactor buildings isn’t from the reactors. This is of course not an accurate way of measuring or determining anything. The readings vary even among the subdrain pits and it ignores the possibility of a different source feeding these subdrain pits from what is feeding into the turbine building. TEPCO has previously tried to blame findings on rain to later have to admit the actual problem. This appears to be the same tactic.

One key thing TEPCO is not exploring is the consistently high readings in subdrain pit well 16. Well 16 has been consistently very high compared to the other subdrain pit wells. It has not seen the fluctuation that wells 18 and 19 had. This well sits land side between units 1 and 2. So far a structural mechanism to this location has not been admitted by TEPCO but since these wells were originally a tool to keep groundwater out of the reactor building basements and they are interconnected between wells, it is plausible that there may be a connection back to the reactor buildings.

On Oct 30th well 16 had high readings.
2.9 million bq/liter cesium 137
3.2 million bq/liter beta radiation

Well 16 sits in an area between units 1 and 2 and very close to the shared vent stack for units 1 and 2. Unit 1 is already known to be leaking contaminated water via the basements. A number of the anomalies found in unit 1’s torus room are on this land side of the building. There could also be an unknown mechanism for this high reading at subdrain 16, or the nearby vent stack could potentially be contributing. This vent stack was previously found to have incredibly high levels of radiation around the base of the tower. TEPCO has not mentioned how they are sampling subdrain 16 when it is in nearby proximity to this vent stack. Areas near the stack were declared off limits due to high radiation.

TEPCO’s focus on unit 2 and dismissal of the problem as being “fallout” seems spurious. TEPCO has tried to dismiss other significant findings at the plant as being caused by rain or monitor malfunctions to later admit they were not benign problems.


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