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Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant

lunes, 14 de marzo de 2011 - Publicado por MundoBlog en 4:58
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear PlantAn explosion Monday afternoon ripped through Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station in northeastern Japan and destroyed the roof of a reactor building. The Japanese government quickly imposed a 12 mile quarantine and required residents to immediately evacuate, but said those beyond were not at risk.

The explosion sent a huge column of smoke into the air and wounded 11 workers.

Japan's s chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, said the reactor's inner containment vessel holding nuclear rods is intact, allaying some fears of the risk to the environment and public.

The No. 3 reactor had been under emergency watch for a possible explosion as pressure built up there following a hydrogen blast Saturday in the facility's Unit 1. Both were caused by earthquake damage.

So far more than 180,000 people have evacuated the area. As many as 1,500 have been scanned for radiation.

The explosion also leaked a radioactive plume into the air, causing the U.S. Navy to move ships and aircraft away from the area of the Fukushima plant. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was about 100 miles offshore when it detected the radiation.

The Navy emphasized that the maximum potential radiation dose received by any ship's personnel was less than the radiation exposure they would have gotten from one month's exposure to the sun.

The levels were very low and were only found on the clothing and on the skin of one sailor, said Lt. Gen. Burton Field, commander of U.S. Forces Japan. "We scrub it with soap and water."

At a news conference Monday afternoon, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, John Roos, said U.S. experts are working closely with Japan and that staff from the Department of Energy and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission are consulting with the nation. The staff includes experts in boiling-water nuclear plants, the type used at Fukushima.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said there is no danger of radiation drifting as far as the West Coast of the United States.

Four nuclear plants in northeastern Japan have reported damage. Operators have lost the ability to cool three reactors at Dai-ichi and three more at another nearby complex using usual procedures, after the quake knocked out power and the tsunami swamped backup generators.

Japan has begun a program of rolling blackouts to conserve power to make up for power lost from the nuclear plants. Each lasts for about three hours.

In Narita, southeast of Tokyo, office workers Monday said they would stay in their darkened offices to ensure that nothing would go amiss during the blackouts, which were planned for the afternoon when daylight was still available.

The nation's main airport remained open, running on reserve batteries and fuel, but the electric trains running to and from it were stilled, causing multi-hour waits for busses into Tokyo and other areas.

Live broadcast images of the hydrogen explosion at the Japanese nuclear power plant damaged by last week's earthquake caused gasps in long lines at the airport as tourists struggled to leave the country.

Still, within Tokyo, there seemed to be little concern about the explosion 160 miles north. "Japan's nuclear industry is the best in the world," said Atushi Nakagawa, walking with his wife and two young daughters. "This is the first time we've had this problem."

Megumi Kitamichi said she was "afraid a little bit" but not really worried.

"I'm not scared," said Michal Leszczylowski, a professor of film at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts in Tokyo to work on a project. "The real crime is the way the media is showing only the worst part. People think Japan all looks like the tsunami zone and it doesn't."