Breaking News

Monday, March 14, 2011

A second explosion occurs at Japan Fukushima Nuclear plant, U.S. Navy ship offshore impacted

The Fukushima 1 NPPImage via Wikipedia
Picture of Fukushima Nuclear Plant before
earthquake and explosions

A second hydrogen explosion in three days rocked Japan's stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant on Monday, March 14th, sending a massive column of smoke into the air and wounding 6 workers. The plant's operator said radiation levels at the reactor were still within legal limits but, a radioactive cloud was confirmed to have reached an offshore US Navy carrier ship.

The explosion at the plant's Unit 3, which authorities have been trying to cool following a system failure in the wake of a massive earthquake and tsunami, triggered an order for hundreds of people to stay indoors, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said radiation levels at Unit 3 were 10.65 microsieverts, significantly under the 500 microsieverts at which a nuclear operator must file a report to the government. Still, the blast follows a similar explosion Saturday that took place at the plant's Unit 1, which injured four workers and caused mass-evacuations.

Japan's nuclear safety agency said 6 workers were injured in March 14th explosion and they state it was not immediately clear how, or whether they were exposed to radiation. They were all conscious, said the agency's Ryohei Shomi.

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 similar damage to Monday's blast, with outer walls shorn off, leaving only a skeletal frame.

More than 200,000 people have evacuated the area in recent days, and up to 160 may have been exposed to radiation. Earlier Monday, pressure had jumped inside Unit 3, forcing the evacuation of 21 workers. But they returned to work after levels appeared to ease.

Press journalists noted to have felt the explosion in another tsunami-devastated port town of Soma, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the reactor. They reported feeling the faint rumble of a blast and the ground shaking.

Four nuclear plants in Northeastern Japan have reported damage, but the danger was greatest at Fukushima's Daiichi plant. Operators have lost the ability to cool three reactors at Daiichi and three more at another nearby complex using usual procedures, after the quake knocked out power and the tsunami swamped backup generators.

Operators have been dumping an unproven ocean water method into units 1 and 3 in a last-ditch measure to cool the reactors. 

Video of Second explosion at Fukshima Nuclear Plant in Japan

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