Bloomberg News

Tepco Says Faulty Gauge Behind Temperature Rise in Fukushima

February 13, 2012

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it concluded a faulty gauge showed the temperature in one of the damaged reactors at its Fukushima nuclear station rose to levels above safety limits.

One of three thermometers indicated the temperature at the bottom of the No. 2 reactor pressure vessel rose to as high as 285 degrees Celsius (545 Fahrenheit) today, higher than the 80- degree limit, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager of the utility, said at a briefing in Tokyo.

“We can’t use this figure,” he said, “Our conclusion is it has to be a case of the thermometer being faulty.”

There are no signs of isotopes that would suggest the reactor has gone critical and there’s been no increase in radiation around the site, the company said in a statement earlier in the day. The other two thermometers at the bottom of the vessel showed temperatures of 32.8 degrees and 33.1 degrees earlier today, spokesman Naohiro Omura said. The thermometers have a margin of error of as much as 20 degrees.

The utility increased the rate of coolant flow to 17.4 cubic meters per hour from 14.1 cubic meters per hour as of 3:30 p.m. yesterday, it said.

Tepco and Japan’s government announced on Dec. 16 they succeeded in bringing the reactors into a safe state known as cold shutdown nine months after the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami caused the worst release of radiation since the Chernobyl accident in 1986.

-- With assistance from Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo. Editor: Aaron Sheldrick

To contact the reporters on this story: Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo at tinajima@bloomberg.net; Takeshi Awaji in ?? at tawaji@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net


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