East Japan Earthquake    March 11, 2011

Hydrogen buildup may cause blast at No.3 reactor

March 13, 2011

This October 2008 photo shows the Fukushima No. 1 power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. at Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says that a hydrogen explosion may occur at the No.3 reactor building of No.1 power plant in Fukushima prefecture. But he emphasized that an explosion should not cause health problems for evacuated residents. He said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon that a large amount of hydrogen may have accumulated in the top portion of the No.3 reactor building because cooling of the reactor was insufficient at one point. Edano said a valve was opened to ease pressure in the reactor and fresh water was injected to cool it down. He said because of trouble with the pump, seawater was pumped in instead, but the flow became unstable, causing the water level to drop dramatically. He said although the water began to rise again, a large amount of hydrogen may have been generated inside the reactor building while cooling was insufficient. Edano said that a similar explosion as the one which occurred at the No.1 reactor building on Saturday may take place. He emphasized that even if an explosion occurs, the impact should not affect the pressure vessel and containment vessel. He said that the health of residents who have already evacuated should not be affected. (NHK)

Hydrogen buildup

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