TOKYO (majirox news) – At a press conference in Tokyo March 12, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano confirmed there was an explosion and a nuclear leak at Fukushima Daiichi’s troubled No. 1 reactor. Fukushima is about 150 miles north of Tokyo.
“The escape of hydrogen mixed with the air between the chamber and the concrete-and-steel building led to the explosion,” Edano said. “Tokyo Electric Power Co. has confirmed that the inner reactor is undamaged. There was no massive release of radiation.”
The three reactors are contained within a steel chamber, which is surrounded by a concrete and steel building. Although the explosion destroyed the building, it did not occur in the chamber, he noted.
“We are doing the best to grasp what happened and to analyst it,” Edano said. “We are monitoring the radiation.”
NHK reported that there was an explosion about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and showed footage of smoke billowing from the site, and said the reactor’s walls had been blown off. Four workers were injured as well.
Edano tried to alleviate the public’s fears of a nuclear disaster. “We are doing everything to ensure the safety of residents living nearby,” Edano said. “I’m sure residents are feeling unease.”
The media reported that people were leaving the surrounding area and Japanese television was urging people to cover their faces with wet towels and not to expose any skin to the possible contaminated air.
More than 45,000 residents within a 10 km radius of the plant had been evacuated, but the evacuation area was doubled to a 20 km radius from the plant. Thousands more have been evacuated from near a second plant, Fukushima No 2, which also suffered damage to its cooling system after the earthquake.
“By taking all these appropriate measures, we would like to avoid any situation where any people’s health is damaged,” Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said. “This is an unprecedented disaster we’re suffering.”
Furthermore, Kan said no Japanese citizens have been affected by any radiation leak, if there have been any, from Japan’s nuclear power plants. Kan said while there are reports that radioactivity has been detected both inside and outside the plant, the amount was only a tiny bit.
However, according to some experts, the reactor had been showing signs of a partial meltdown after Friday’s earthquake from completely powering its water-cooling system. Without it, the facility could overheat and explode, spreading radioactivity into the air.
Officials of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency claimed that the slightly radioactive emissions release does not pose a risk to people or the environment. Radiation levels inside the overheated reactor housing were 1,000 times normal but only eight times normal background at the plant’s main gate, according to the agency. Experts said that the steam carries low-level radiation that is quickly dispersed.
Japan gets 30 percent of its energy from the country’s 50 nuclear power plants.
For previous updates link to http://www.majiroxnews.com/2011/03/12/sendai-temblor-hits-tokyo/