JAPAN, March 14, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — What appears to be another hydrogen blast has occurred at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima. No damage to the reactor chamber has been reported, but 11 people have been injured, NHK reported on Monday.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says what it believes was a hydrogen blast occurred at 11:01 AM on Monday at the No.3 reactor of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant. The agency says it has so far observed no abnormal rise in radiation around the compound of the plant.
The company says the blast injured 11 people, including 4 of its employees and 4 Self-Defense Force members.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has advised anyone remaining within 20 kilometers of the power plant to take shelter inside buildings as soon as possible. About 500 people are thought to be still in the area.
A similar hydrogen blast occurred at the No.1 reactor at the same plant on Saturday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that he has received a report that the latest blast has left the container of No.3 reactor intact. He said the likelihood of large volumes of radioactive materials being dispersed in the air is low.
Video footage shows that the top of the building housing the reactor has been blown off, as in Saturday’s blast.
Fears of an explosion grew when the water level of the No. 3 reactor dropped, exposing fuel rods, and a reaction with the steam generated a large amount of hydrogen. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says that even if the top of the building has blown off, the reactor chamber will not be affected. (*)