Volcano Activity in Japan on Sunday, 09 September, 2012 at 09:56 (09:56 AM) UTC.
Scientists have discovered signs of a possible imminent eruption of Japan's most famous volcano, Mount Fuji on Honshu. At least this is what many headlines in the press read. According to an article of the Japanese news agency Kyodo the pressure in the magma chamber beneath the volcano Mt Fuji has drastically increased after the tsunami in March 2011 and a magnitude 6.4 quake near the volcano four days later, and is currently higher than it was before the last eruption in 1707 some 300 years ago. Scientists at the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention have calculated that the tectonic shifts in the past year caused an increase in pressure to 1.6 megapascals. That is sixteen times as much as the threshold of 0.1 megapascals needed for an eruption, they said. Such statements should be viewed with caution, because the figures are obtained by indirect calculations, which may be subject to very large errors. Secondly, pressure data for magma chambers inside a volcano without an associated depth profile have little significance. Pressure inside a volcano, as everywhere, increases naturally with depth. What matters is the difference between the lithostatic pressure (weight of the volcanic edifice) and the gas pressure of the gases in the magma. If this difference becomes greater than the tensile strength of the rock, it can open cracks and let the magna erupt. The scientists admit that these calculations alone don't necessarily mean that an eruption is imminent and other parameters such as seismicity and deformation currently don't show signs of an impending eruption.
After the earthquake in March 2011, a professor from Ryukyu University warned in May that a larger eruption of Fuji should be expected within 3 years, based on the observations that:
- Steam and gases emissions from the crater have increased.
- Water eruptions were observed in the area.
- Huge pit craters had appeared on the flank of the mountain, from which gases escape.
- Above all, a 34 km long fault was discoverd recently, which extends right under the volcano.
This fault could even cause the collapse of the whole mountain if there is a large-enough movement along the fault. Such a collapse would cause devastating pyroclastic flows, debris avalanches and extensive lahars, and be a disaster of unprecedented scale. The latest measurements show surely that the huge tectonic movements of 2011 have increased pressure on the magma chamber, but additional parameters such as deformation of the volcano and earthquakes are needed to make a reliable forecast for a new eruption. Worrying in this context, however, is that the last eruption in 1707 was most likely influenced, if not triggered by an earthquake earlier."It's possible for Mount Fuji to erupt even several years after the March 2011 earthquake, therefore we need to be careful about the development," a spokesman for the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention said. A report from 2004 estimated the probably damage of a new eruption to around 2 billion USD. Recent studies assume an increased risk of earthquakes in the Tokai, Tonankai and Nankai regions, which lie at the edge of the Nankai Trough, where a larger quake is expected. In the worst case, a series of simultaneous severe quakes could cause up to 323,000 deaths and additionally trigger an eruption of Mount Fuji, the gloomy conclusion of the latest report reads.
Photo of the White Pipe Shavings That Are Still Clogging Up the Water Injection System
TEPCO claims these bits and pieces are clogging up the valves and pipes that carry the treated water back into the reactors. Shavings and metal bits.
The company also has a very short video that supposedly shows the cleaning operation of the water inside the buffer tank, by catching these shavings and bits. But as you see toward the end of the brief video, you still see tons of white things still flowing around.
Survey finds zero Fukushima plant strontium contamination in soil samples
The science ministry, citing 60 sites around Japan, said it found no radioactive strontium contamination caused by the Fukushima nuclear crisis last year.
The ministry, which had been investigating radioactive strontium released by nuclear meltdowns triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake, released a map of soil contamination in eastern Japan on Sept. 12.
It said all strontium deposits identified at the 60 locations were due to past atmospheric nuclear tests conducted decades ago by the United States and the Soviet Union.
The science ministry surveyed soil samples from 50 locations outside an 80-kilometer radius of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant with air radiation levels of 0.2 microsievert per hour or more. The 50 sites are in the 10 prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo and Yamanashi. The ministry also analyzed soil from 10 locations in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, where a June 2011 survey had identified a high ratio of strontium to radioactive cesium.
The maximum concentration of strontium-90 deposits was 130 becquerels per square meter in Nishigo, Fukushima Prefecture. No strontium was detected at 19 of the sampling locations.
All readings were below the 950 becquerels per square meter detected in Ibaraki Prefecture in 2004, the maximum measurement in Japan during an 11-year period from 1999 to 2009.
Decrease in the Reactor Injection Water Amounts at Unit 1-3 at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (Follow-up Report)
Though water injection into the reactors of Unit 1-3 at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station is continuously done by the regular reactor injection system, a decrease in the reactor injection water amounts at Unit 1-3 was found at 3:00 PM on August 30, 2012 at the regular data check.
Since this issue occurred on August 30, 2012, we have been monitoring (and adjusting when necessary) the reactor injection water amounts and investigating the cause of the issue. During the process, suspended materials were found in the buffer tank where the reactor injection water is stored in.
In response to this, we conducted buffer tank water purification utilizing an underwater pump to eliminate the suspended materials from September 8 to 10 and captured substances that are likely to clog the valves.
The decrease in the reactor injection water amounts is assumed to be due to the substances which flowed into the buffer tank and got stuck in the flow rate adjustment valves in the downstream side, narrowing the water flowing channel as a result. However, as no flow rate decrease was found since September 7 before the buffer tank purification was started, it is likely that some of the substances causing the valves to be clogged had already been eliminated by the time the purification was started (Some of the substances were caught in the strainer of the air-cooled chiller used for cooling the buffer tank water and others flowed towards the downstream side of the flow rate adjustment valves when the valves were adjusted).
Though we have continued to monitor the reactor injection water amounts until today, the shift supervisor has judged that the condition had recovered to the state which fulfills the operational requirement at 4:00 PM today, considering that the water injection amounts have been stable since the flow rates were adjusted on September 7 and that no substance which may cause a flow rate decrease was found in the strainer of the air-cooled chiller (used for buffer water cooling) this morning.
The reactor water injection amounts as of 4:00 PM on September 13 are as follows.
Unit 1: 4.8m3/h (Necessary water injection amount: 3.8m3/h)
Unit 2: 6.7m3/h (Necessary water injection amount: 5.4m3/h)
Unit 3: 6.8m3/h (Necessary water injection amount: 5.4m3/h)
Since no significant flow rate decrease was found after the previous report (as of 3:00 PM on September 12), the water injection amounts have not been adjusted.
Progress Report - September 14
After the flow rates have been stable since they were adjusted on September 7 and the quality of the buffer tank water has improved to the level before the flow rate decrease as a result of water quality analysis. In addition, the substances in the water have clearly decreased when visually observed and the alarm set value has been changed. Based on the above, it has been judged that the condition had recovered to the state which fulfills the "operational requirement" stipulated in the technical specification for the nuclear reactor facility at 4:00 PM on September 13.
Though the water injection amounts were continuously monitored afterwards, the amounts have been adjusted as below since a decrease in flow rates was found at Unit 1 and 2. The necessary water injection amounts are being secured for both units.
At 2:26 AM on September 14
[Unit 1] Feed water system: Increased from 2.5m3/h to 2.8m3/h, Reactor core spray system: No change (Maintained at 2.0m3/h) (In total, increased from 4.5m3/h to 4.8m3/h)
At 7:27 AM on September 14
[Unit 2] Feed water system: Increased from 1.3m3/h to 1.8m3/h, Reactor core spray system: No change (Maintained at 4.8m3/h) (In total, increased from 6.1m3/h to 6.6m3/h)
Tepco has been struggling to control water injecting system since 8/30/2012.
They announced that they solved the problem by eliminating the suspended materials on 9/13/2012, but on 9/14/2012, they had the problem of decreasing water amount to inject again.
In reactor 1, water injection decreased by 10% from 21:00 of 9/13 to 1:00 of 9/14/2012.
In reactor 2, it decreased from 1:00 to 7:00 of 9/14/2012.
They are trying to increase the water amount.
Tepco is still assuming it is due to the substances which flowed into the buffer tank and got stuck in the flow rate adjustment valves in the downstream side, narrowing the water flowing channel as a result.
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