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Fusion Science and Technology
Fukiushima Daiichi: 10 years on
The Fukushima Daiichi site before the accident. All images are provided courtesy of TEPCO unless noted otherwise.
It was a rather normal day back on March 11, 2011, at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant before 2:45 p.m. That was the time when the Great Tohoku Earthquake struck, followed by a massive tsunami that caused three reactor meltdowns and forever changed the nuclear power industry in Japan and worldwide. Now, 10 years later, much has been learned and done to improve nuclear safety, and despite many challenges, significant progress is being made to decontaminate and defuel the extensively damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactor site. This is a summary of what happened, progress to date, current situation, and the outlook for the future there.
K. E. Miller, J. A. Grossnickle, R. D. Brooks, C. L. Deards, T. E. DeHart, M. Dellinger, M. B. Fishburn, H. Y. Guo, B. Hansen, J. W. Hayward, A. L. Hoffman, W. S. Kimball, K. Y. Lee, D. E. Lotz, P. A. Melnik, R. D. Milroy, Z. A. Pietrzyk, G. C. Vlasses, F. S. Ohuchi, A. Tankut
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 54 | Number 4 | November 2008 | Pages 946-961
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST08-A1910
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The original Translation, Confinement, Sustainment (TCS) experiment was upgraded [TCS Upgrade (TCSU)] to provide an ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) environment with modern discharge cleaning and wall-coating technologies. This has allowed rotating magnetic field formed field reversed configuration plasma temperatures to increase from the TCS radiation-dominated tens of electron volts to >200 eV (Te + Ti), and FRC magnetic fields to double. The improvements are directly attributable to reduced impurity levels and reduced plasma recycling losses. Some of the technologies utilized to achieve these results included replacing O-rings with wire and conflat seals; developing high-temperature, differentially pumped, elastomeric seals for bonding extremely large quartz tubes (needed for rapid field penetration) to the stainless steel vacuum chambers; and using heater blankets for vacuum baking. Extensive testing using electron microprobe and various spectroscopic techniques was performed to establish appropriate UHV cleaning and handling methods.