3rd reactor loses cooling at Japan nuclear plant
Monday, March 14, 2022 3:12 AM

Related Stories



(Source: Associated Press/AP Online)TOKYO - The operator of a quake-stricken nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan says a third reactor has lost its cooling capacity, which could lead to overheating and an explosion similar to two blasts at its other reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. official Takako Kitajima said Monday that plant workers were preparing to inject seawater into the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant's Unit 2 to cool down its reactor following the loss of its cooling system.

Kitajima said officials are also set to take other steps, including a release of pressure through ventilation if the reactor overheats.

No further details were immediately available.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SOMA, Japan (AP) - The second hydrogen explosion in three days rocked Japan's stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant Monday, sending a massive column of smoke into the air and wounding six workers. The blast was felt 25 miles (40 kilometers) away, but the plant's operator said radiation levels at the reactor were still within legal limits.

The explosion at the plant's Unit 3, which authorities have been frantically trying to cool after a system failure in the wake of Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami, triggered an order for hundreds of people to stay indoors, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano. The two disasters left at least 10,000 people dead.

Operators knew an explosion was a possibility as they struggled to reduce pressure inside the reactor containment vessel, but apparently felt they had no choice if they wanted to avoid a complete meltdown. In the end, the hydrogen in the released steam mixed with oxygen in the atmosphere and set off the blast.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said radiation levels at Unit 3 were well under the levels where a nuclear operator must file a report to the government.

On Saturday, a similar explosion took place at the plant's Unit 1, injuring four workers and causing mass evacuations.

It was not immediately clear how the workers were injured Monday, or if they were exposed to radiation. All were conscious, said Ryohei Shomi of Japan's nuclear safety agency.

The reactor's inner containment vessel holding nuclear rods was intact, Edano said, allaying some fears of the risk to the environment and public. TV footage of the building housing the reactor appeared to show damage similar to Monday's blast, with outer walls shorn off, leaving only a skeletal frame.

More than 180,000 people have evacuated the area in recent days, and up to 160 may have been exposed to radiation - pouring misery onto those already devastated by the twin disasters.

While Japan has aggressively prepared for years for major earthquakes, reinforcing buildings and running drills, the impact of the tsunami - which came so quickly that not many people managed to flee to higher ground - was severe.

By Monday, officials were clearly overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis, with millions of people having spent three nights without water, food or heat in near-freezing temperatures. At least 1.4 million households had gone without water since the quake struck and some 1.9 million households were without electricity.

Officials in one devastated town said they were running out of body bags.

Earlier Monday, pressure had jumped inside Fukushima Dai-ichi's Unit 3, forcing the evacuation of 21 workers. But they returned to work after levels appeared to ease.

Associated Press journalists felt the explosion in the tsunami-devastated port town of Soma, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the reactor.

Officials have declared states of emergency at six Fukushima reactors, where Friday's twin disasters knocked out the main cooling systems and backup generators. Three are at Dai-ichi and three at the nearby Fukushima Daini complex.

Most attention, though, has been focused on Dai-ichi units 1 and 3, where operators have been funneling in seawater in a last-ditch measure to cool the reactors.

A complete meltdown - the melting of the radioactive core - could release radioactive contaminants into the environment and pose major, widespread health risks.

Edano said none of the Fukushima reactors was near that point, and he was confident of escaping the worst scenarios.

And while international scientists say there are serious dangers, there is little risk of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe. Chernobyl, they note, had no outer containment shell.

"The likelihood there will be a huge fire like at Chernobyl or a major environmental release like at Chernobyl, I think that's basically impossible," said James F. Stubbins, a nuclear energy professor at the University of Illinois.

But despite official assurances, many residents expressed fear over the situation.

"First I was worried about the quake," said Kenji Koshiba, a construction worker who lives near the plant. "Now I'm worried about radiation." He spoke at an emergency center in Koriyama, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) from the most troubled reactors and 125 miles (190 kilometers) north of Tokyo.

Overall, more than 1,500 people had been scanned for radiation exposure in the area, officials said.

The U.N. nuclear agency said a state of emergency was also declared Sunday at another complex, the Onagawa power plant, after higher-than-permitted levels of radiation were measured there. It said Japan informed it that all three of those reactors there were under control.

Four nuclear complexes in northeastern Japan have reported some damage from the quake or the tsunami.

---

Yuasa reported from Tokyo.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

 

Sponsors

Symbol :

Advertisement

Market news:

  • Japanese ordered indoors amid new radiation leak Mar 14, 2022 11:59 PM

    • SOMA, Japan - Radiation leaked from a crippled nuclear plant in tsunami-ravaged northeastern Japan after a third reactor was rocked by an explosion Tuesday and a fourth caught fire in a dramatic escalation of the 4-day-old catastrophe.
    • The government warned anyone nearby to stay indoors to avoid exposure.
    • In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from four reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima province, one of the hardest-hit in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that has killed more than 10,000 people.
      • Fire extinguished at crippled Japan nuclear plant Mar 14, 2022 11:32 PM

        • SOMA, Japan - Japan's nuclear safety agency says a fire in a reactor at a crippled nuclear power plant in tsunami-ravaged northeastern Japan has been extinguished.
        • The fire broke out Tuesday at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in one of the hardest-hit provinces in last week's massive earthquake and tsunami.
        • Meanwhile, radiation was spewing from the Dai-ichi plant in a dramatic escalation of the 4-day-old catastrophe, forcing the government to tell people nearby to stay indoors to avoid exposure.
          • Japan plant spews radiation in crisis escalation Mar 14, 2022 11:23 PM

            • SOMA, Japan - Radiation spewed Tuesday from a crippled nuclear power plant in tsunami-ravaged northeastern Japan in a dramatic escalation of the 4-day-old catastrophe, forcing the government to tell people nearby to stay indoors to avoid exposure.
            • In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from four reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima province that was one of the hardest-hit in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami.
            • "The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out," Kan said.
              • Japan faces serious radiation leak from quake Mar 14, 2022 11:07 PM

                • TAGAJO, Japan - Radiation spewed Tuesday from a crippled nuclear power plant in tsunami-ravaged northeastern Japan in a dramatic escalation of the 4-day-old catastrophe that prompted the government to tell people within 19 miles (30 kilometers) to stay indoors to avoid exposure.
                • In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from the three reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in one of the hardest-hit provinces in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami.
                • "The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out," Kan said.
                  • Japan faces catastrophic radiation leak from quake Mar 14, 2022 10:48 PM

                    • TAGAJO, Japan - Japan warned of an alarming radiation leak from a stricken nuclear power plant and told people nearby to stay indoors to avoid becoming sick in a rapidly escalating national crisis following last week's earthquake and tsunami.
                    • In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from the three reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in one of the hardest-hit provinces in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami.
                    • "The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out," Kan said.

                      More news


Advertisement

    Recent Estimates

AnalystFirm NameSymbolEPS Estimate
XXXXXXXXXX PRWT($0.03)
XXXXXXXXXX JOYG$1.06
XXXXXXXXXX SLW$0.30
XXXXXXXXXX FCX$1.23
PhidoPhido's Personal Investments DANG$0.02
XXXXXXXXXX IDCC$0.79
XXXXXXXXXX HPQ$1.29
davidgmllc JTX$0.33
XXXXXXXXXX TRW$1.23
XXXXXXXXXX SDRL$0.77