Updated 8/25/2015: Seawater leak found at Sendai nuclear plant — NHK World; Japan’s Sendai reactor power ramp-up halted due to pump problem — Yahoo! News

Updated Aug. 25, 2015, NHK World:

” The operator of the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, says it found seawater used to cool steam has leaked from some pipes.

The trouble occurred at a condenser for the plant’s No.1 reactor last Thursday. Officials at Kyushu Electric Power Company found elevated salt levels in the machine.

The condenser uses seawater to turn the steam from the power turbine back into water. The reactor has 3 condensers, and each one is equipped with 26,000 thin pipes to carry seawater.

Utility officials have been checking these pipes. They say they found cracks in 5 pipes in one condenser and that seawater had leaked from them.

The officials stopped the flow of seawater by putting plugs in the 5 pipes. They are now checking the other tubes. The utility firm says they will keep running the reactor.

The trouble occurred 9 days after the operator restarted the reactor on August 11th. It was the first to go back online under new regulations introduced after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011.

The utility was due to raise the reactor’s power output to 100 percent on Tuesday. But the problems are expected to delay the scheduled work by about one week. ”

source

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Posted Aug. 24, 2015, Yahoo! News:

” TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power has halted the ramp-up of power output from its Sendai No. 1 nuclear reactor due to a problem with a pump in the plant’s secondary cooling system, a spokesman said on Friday.

Kyushu Electric last week began the restart of the Sendai plant, the first of Japan’s reactors to begin operation under new safety standards introduced in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Engineers and regulators have warned that the utility may encounter equipment problems and failures as the Sendai No. 1 reactor has been idled for more than four years.

The utility suspects that seawater has entered one of the pumps in the secondary cooling system, where steam that turns the turbines to produce electricity is cooled, according to the spokesman.

Kyushu Electric had planned to raise output from the reactor to 95 percent by Friday, but delayed the process.

It had planned to achieve full power by Aug. 25 and begin commercial operation in early September after a final check from the atomic regulator.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a strong proponent of nuclear power, is seeking to reassure a nervous public that the industry is now safe.

Abe and much of Japanese industry want reactors to be switched on again to cut fuel bills, but opinion polls show a majority of the public oppose the move after the nuclear crisis triggered by the earthquake and tsunami four years ago. ”

source

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