Unstable Fukushima Containers May Cause Hydrogen Explosions

By Joshua Krause

The Fukushima nuclear plant is at it again. TEPCO Announced on Friday that they’re experiencing numerous leaks throughout the facility. Out of the 1,307 containers within the plant, at least 333 are reportedly “defective.” The first leak was discovered as far back as April 2nd, which prompted an inspection of other structures on the property.

What’s worse is the cause of the leaks. They believe that the radioactive material in the vessels is separating the hydrogen from the water, and the expansion of this gas is increasing the internal pressure of the containers. And obviously, the flammable nature of hydrogen could cause catastrophic problems in the future.

TEPCO reported its findings during a Friday meeting with a study group from the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which expressed concern about the potential hazards of accumulated hydrogen build-up in the containers.

“If the concentration level is high, a spark caused by static electricity could cause a container to [explode],” an NRA official told The Asahi Shimbun.

Although all the container lids were supposed to be fitted with pressure-release valves to allow gases to escape, the inspection determined that one did not have that mechanism. Further review of the delivery records showed as many as 333 others may also be defective, a TEPCO official said.

And, as usual, TEPCO has been quick to assure the public that everything is just hunky dory.

However, TEPCO stated that no radioactive water was found to have escaped outside the concrete structures that encase the containers.

“We think the possibility of an occurrence of hydrogen explosion from these storage facilities is extremely low, since there is no fire origin, or anything that generates static electricity nearby,” TEPCO spokeswoman Mayumi Yoshida told the Telegraph.

TEPCO has since applied absorption materials to the leaks. They’re planning to keep water levels low in the tanks to prevent them from bursting, and ensure that any equipment that can start fires will be kept at a safe distance. But this precarious situation is just one of many that have plagued the plant ever since the Tōhoku Tsunami destroyed the region in 2011. Given the alarming number of issues that have popped up in recent years, it’ll be a miracle if the plant is successfully decommissioned without incident.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple, where this article first appeared. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.

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