A fresh explosion rocked Japan’s quake-stricken nuclear power complex on Tuesday, around its overheating No.2 reactor, but there was no immediate word of any damage to the reactor itself, the country’s nuclear safety agency said.
Jiji news agency quoted authorities as saying radiation levels around the complex immediately after the blast, the third in as many days, were still relatively low, but it added that some workers had been told to leave the plant.
Authorities at the Fukushima Daiichi complex, damaged in Friday’s massive earthquake and tsunami, are trying to prevent meltdowns in all three of the plant’s nuclear reactors.
Read the rest of the story: New hydrogen explosion rocks stricken Japan reactor.
A crisis continued Tuesday at the troubled No. 2 reactor at the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, as fuel rods became fully exposed again after workers recovered water levels to cover half of them in a bid to prevent overheating. The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said steam vents of the pressure container of the reactor that houses the rods were closed probably due to the battery problem, raising fears that its core will melt at a faster pace.The firm said it will first lower the pressure of the reactor by releasing radioactive steam and open the vents with new batteries to resume the operation to inject seawater to cool down the reactor.Earlier, cooling functions of the reactor failed, causing water levels to sharply fall and fully exposing the fuel rods for about 140 minutes. TEPCO said they could not pour water into the reactor soon as it took time for workers to release steam from the reactor to lower its pressure, the governments nuclear safety agency said.As TEPCO began pouring coolant water into the reactor, water levels went up at one point to cover more than half of the rods that measure about 4 meters.Prior to the second full exposure of the rods around 11 p.m. Monday, radiation was detected at 9:37 p.m. at a level twice the maximum seen so far— 3,130 micro sievert per hour — near the main gate of the No. 1 plant, according to TEPCO.
Read the rest of the story: Crisis continues at Fukushima nuclear plant as fuel rods exposed again | The Japan Times Online.
Health risks from Japans quake-hit nuclear power reactors seem fairly low and winds are likely to carry any contamination out to the Pacific without threatening other nations, experts say.
Tokyo battled to avert a meltdown at three stricken reactors at the Fukushima plant in the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, triggered by Fridays tsunami. Radiation levels were also up at the Onagawa atomic plant.
"This is not a serious public health issue at the moment," Malcolm Crick, Secretary of the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, told Reuters."It wont be anything like Chernobyl. There the reactor was operating at full power when it exploded and it had no containment," he said. As a precaution, around 140,000 people have been evacuated from the area around Fukushima.
Crick said a partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island plant in the United States in 1979 — rated more serious than Japans accident on an international scale — released low amounts of radiation.
Read the rest of the story: Japan nuclear health risks low, wont blow abroad.
The government of quake-stricken Fukushima Prefecture says it has confirmed that an additional 19 people have been exposed to radiation from a nuclear power plant.
The 19 are among evacuees from Futaba Town located near the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant.
The government says 133 people have had checkups.
The 19 will need to undergo decontamination to remove the radioactivity.
Source: NHK WORLD.
Japan battled to contain a radiation leak at an earthquake-crippled nuclear plant on Sunday, but faced a fresh threat with the failure of the cooling system in a second reactor.
Operator TEPCO said it was preparing to release some steam to relieve pressure in the No.3 reactor at the plant 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo — which would release a small amount of radiation — following an explosion and leak on Saturday in the facility’s No. 1 reactor.
As strong aftershocks continued to shake Japan’s main island the desperate search for survivors from Friday massive earthquake and tsunami continued, and the death toll was expected to rise.
Thousands spent another freezing night huddled over heaters in emergency shelters along the northeastern coast, a scene of devastation after the 8.9 magnitude quake sent a 10-meter (33-foot) wave surging through towns and cities.
Kyodo news agency said the number of dead or unaccounted for as a result of the quake and tsunami was expected to exceed 1,800. It also reported there had been no contact with around 10,000 people in one small town, more than half its population.
Read the rest of the story: Quake-hit Japan nuclear plant faces fresh threat.