Fukushima Unit 3 First Photos Inside Containment

TEPCO has released a set of images taken inside the containment structure of unit 3 on March 20th. This is the first work since the 2011 disaster to look inside the containment structure of unit 3. What was found was both expected and surprising.

Compared to damage found around the unit 3 reactor building interior, this section of the containment structure didn’t show that level of damage. In portions of the reactor building mangled doors and major displacement of equipment had been found. The small section inside unit 3’s containment didn’t show that level of damage. It did show that due to heat, time, steam and possibly the initial explosion, most surfaces were degraded and stripped of paint. Steam hung heavily in the air in the first set of images. TEPCO found that the temperatures in the air were lower than the water temperature by about 10 degrees Celsius. The steam itself is significant as TEPCO tried to explain away steam leaks out the reactor well to the atmosphere found earlier as not being true leaks from containment.

Radiation levels at the entry point inside containment were 1 Sievert/hour and 750 mSv/hour 550mm  inside. Further radiation levels are said to be planned as work continues on March 21. The water seen in this first set of images was extremely clear compared to water found in units 1 and 2. The same tan-grey underwater sediment that has been found inside units 1 and 2 containment was found below the water level in unit 3.

The upcoming below water investigations should provide further information about conditions on the containment floor including more photos, temperatures and radiation readings.

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