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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fukushima No. 3 reactor's container feared damaged

Via Japan Today :

" The container of the No. 3 reactor of the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is feared to have been damaged and may have leaked radioactive steam Wednesday, emitting high-level radiation, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.

The radiation level briefly topped 6 milisievert per hour at the plant, the government’s nucler safety agency said.

The explanations were given after smoke was seen rising from the No. 3 reactor since around 8:30 a.m., according to Edano.

Earlier in the day, a fire broke out again at the plant’s No. 4 reactor, where there was already a risk of leaks of high-level radioactive materials, but flames were no longer visible about 30 minutes later.

Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the plant, said it considered spraying boric acid by helicopter to prevent the No. 4 reactor’s spent nuclear fuel rods from reaching criticality again, restarting a chain reaction.

TEPCO said water in a pool storing the spent fuel rods may be boiling and that its level may have dropped, exposing the rods. The government ordered the firm to inject water into the pool ‘‘as soon as possible to avert a major nuclear disaster."

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