The Reactor At Fukushima & Chernobyl Disaster

There was a new explosion Tuesday morning at a reactor the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and the company that runs the plant said water may be leaking from the reactor.
Half of the rods inside the reactor were not immersed in water and the suppression pool, which holds the water used to keep the rods cool, seemed to be damaged, according to Tokyo Electric Co. and government officials.
The level of radiation also rose around the reactor, but a government official said there was no danger.

"The radioactive level near unit 2 has gone up, but at this juncture, the level is not judged to be immediately harmful to human bodies," said Noriyuki Shikata, a spokesman in the prime minister's office.
The blast is the third at the plant in the three days since a powerful earthquake struck Japan on Friday.
The state of the plant and fears of a possible meltdown and radiation release have been growing as workers struggled to keep the reactors cool to minimize the dangers.
The explosion, which occurred at 6:10 a.m., came shortly after the International Atomic Energy Agency had announced that the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant had been shut down.
"There is no longer [a] chain reaction of nuclear material," IAEA director general Yukiya Amano said today, according to The Associated Press. "Reactor vessels and primary containment vessels ... stay intact. The release of radioactivity is limited."
During a news conference, the agency's deputy chief Denis Flory said that information from Japan "does not show a high increase of radioactivity outside the containment, which means the containment seems to play its role -- to contain."
Officials also reported, according to the AP, that radiation levels around the plant were going down.

Japan Reaches Out to the NRC

The Japanese government formally asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for help in stabilizing its troubled nuclear reactors in the wake of the country's massive earthquake and tsunami.
The NRC sent two boiling water reactor experts to Japan as part of a team of aid workers to help in the recovery efforts.
A number of nuclear reactors continue to deteriorate at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, raising worries of a nuclear meltdown.
Officials had grown increasingly worried about Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant Unit 2 after two previous hydrogen explosions in three days at the plant, and the unit lost its ability to cool.
"They continue to work hard to raise the water level to cover the fuel. Let's pray again," Tatsujiro Suzuki, vice chairman of Japan's Atomic Energy Commission, posted on Facebook today.
The fuel rods on unit 2 became fully exposed for the second time Monday, a dangerous development in the effort to stop the reactor from melting down. Japanese officials said a closed steam vent has caused a dip in the water levels, allowing the rods to be exposed, The Associated Press reported.
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The exposure of the fuel rods means that the temperature in the reactor is likely to rise, allowing steam to form. The steam could lead to the creation of hydrogen, which is what has caused the explosions.


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