Smoke from Reactor No. 3, Reactor No. 5 Working on its Own, Iodine Detected at Reactor No.1

03/21/2011
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Dai-ichi Fukushima Power Plant


TOKYO (majirox news) – Workers were evacuated from Dai-ichi Fukushima power plant Monday after gray smoke billowed from reactor No.3, officials said. Efforts to restore electricity to the plant and restart cooling pumps stopped.

Officials said they do not believe it was connected to overheating fuel rods. “We are checking the cause of the smoke,” said nuclear safety agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama. He added that there was no sign of an explosion and that they had not discovered any rise in radiation levels.

Despite progress, officials said that the situation was not fully stabilized. Sunday there was a rise in pressure in the reactor core at No. 3 and considered venting radioactive steam.

Reactor No. 5 Working on its own
According to the Nuclear Safety Division, reactor No. 5 at Dai-ichi Fukushima power plan was hooked up to the regular grid at 1:36 a.m. March 21, and able to switch over from emergency power generation to receiving power on the grid.

“This hopefully means that the reactor, which have been in better shape than the complex’s other troubled reactors won’t cause any serious problems, such as radiation leaks,” an official said.

-The temperatures of each reactor measured less than 100 Celsius, according to Self-Defense Force officials. They measured the temperatures from a helicopter using an infrared device on Sunday for a second day. The surface temperature of reactor No.1 was 58 degrees Celsius, No. 2 at 35 degrees, No.3 at 62 degrees, No. 4 at 42 degrees, No. 5 at 24 degrees, and No. 6 at 25 degrees.

-Japan’s Nuclear Safety Agency on Monday said there wasn’t any need to widen the evacuation zone around the power station in northern Japan from the current 20 kilometer radius. However, people within 20-30 km of the plant should continue to stay indoors.

Those distances “are adequate for now,” the official said at a press conference.

-Reactor No.2 will need an additional two to three days to work on its own due to replacement of parts.

- According to the Police Agency on Monday: 8,649 dead; 13,262 missing. Total dead and missing is 21,911 people.

Radioactive iodine, Iodine 131, was detected at reactor No.1 at 6 times normal levels
Radioactive iodine isotopes has been detected at six times normal levels in the vicinity of reactor No.1 as well as cesium, TEPCO, (Tokyo Electric Co.) announced March 21. The detection of these substances confirms that the reactor and the cooling pool have suffered damage. TEPCO initially confirmed the existence of radioactive substances on March 19, from air samples taken at a distance of 200 meters from the reactor.

Iodine-131 differs from regular iodine because it is radioactive. It collects in the human thyroid gland because the thyroid quickly absorbs iodine and assumes the iodine-131 strain is like any other form. To fight off iodine-131, doctors usually prescribe iodine pills that fill up the thyroid so there’s no more room and force the iodine-131 out of the body.

Miracle rescue
An 80-year-old woman and her grandson, Jin, who were trapped in their collapsed home for nine days after the tsunami, were found alive Sunday. The pair were pinned in their kitchen and were able to eat food from the refrigerator. Jin managed to get on the road and shouted to a passing policeman, “Help, please.”

His grandmother was rescued from the top of a cupboard and wrapped in a blanket. Police said she was weak and could not walk.

Police said the rescue was “joyful,” but that there were no celebrations due to many other victims to find.

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