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Japan nuclear plant leaks more radiation

Posted by on March 20, 2011 0 Comment

Tokyo, March 20 (DPA) More radiation is to be released from a troubled nuclear plant in northeastern Japan as the pressure level in a reactor containment vessel has risen, the government’s nuclear safety commission said Sunday.

The operator of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima needs to relieve the pressure immediately, during which more radiation is expected to be vented, the commission said.

That “would be unavoidable”, the commission was quoted by public broadcaster NHK as saying.

The plant was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that rocked the region.

Meanwhile, 11 Japanese military fire trucks showered tonnes of water onto overheating nuclear reactor No.4 for about one hour earlier in the day, the fourth day of the operation, in hopes of averting a potential meltdown.

It was the first time reactor No.4 has been sprayed since the disasters hit the region.

Overnight, a Tokyo fire department truck also spent more than 13 hours spraying water at the fuel storage pool at reactor No.3. The truck had originally been scheduled to spray water for seven hours. More than 2,000 tonnes of water was believed to have been used when the spraying ended at 3.40 a.m. (1840 GMT Saturday).

The fire department truck is due to douse reactor No.3 at the six-reactor complex later Sunday, while reactor No.4 is to be doused by military trucks once again.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Corp (TEPCO), the plant’s operator, said the company was to restore electricity to the buildings of reactors No.1 and No.2 later Sunday to reactivate the cooling system for their spent fuel pools. But it would be difficult to restore electricity to reactor No.2 Sunday, Jiji Press reported, citing TEPCO.

Radiation was detected in tap water in Tokyo and neighbouring prefectures but that was within acceptable levels, the government said.

On Saturday, high levels of radiation were detected in milk in Fukushima and spinach in neighbouring Ibaraki prefecture, Edano said. The government said such levels would not pose an “immediate” health risk. Nevertheless, Tokyo told Ibaraki farmers to refrain from shipping spinach in the prefecture.

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