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March 14th, 2011
08:15 PM ET

New blast causes fresh trouble at Japanese nuclear plant

CNN Wire Staff

Tokyo (CNN) - A new explosion rocked the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan early Tuesday from a reactor that workers had struggled to keep under control since a blast at a neighboring unit, the plant's owner announced.

The "explosive impact" took place shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday (5 p.m. Monday ET) inside the housing of the plant's No. 2 reactor, and pressure readings indicated some damage to the reactor's containment structure, officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Company reported at a news conference. No further details were immediately released, but TEPCO said some of its workers were evacuated following the blast due to elevated radiation levels.

Workers have been trying to keep sea water pouring into the No. 2 reactor since Monday, when a hydrogen explosion at reactor No. 3 damaged the cooling system at unit 2 and injured 11 people, Japanese authorities said. A similar hydrogen explosion on Saturday blew the roof off the containment structure around the No. 1 reactor.

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Tuesday that up to 2.7 meters (8.8 feet) of the No. 2 reactor's control rods - about half - have been uncovered. And Yukio Edano, Japan's chief Cabinet secretary, said he could not rule out the possibility of a meltdown at all three troubled reactors at the plant.

While sea water was being pumped into the reactors in an effort to prevent further damage, "It cannot necessarily be called a stable situation," Edano said early Tuesday.

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Dennis Kozier

    Has anyone considered the use of water bomber planes to keep the reactor cores cooled with water? These planes are used in Canada to put out forest fires. They can drop 20,000 gallons of water in one pass and reload by flying over open water. Once the roof of the reactor is gone, the core should be easy to cover with water in this way.
    Dennis Kozier, Winnipeg, Canada

    March 15, 2011 at 1:12 am |
  2. Pavol

    Situation when BWR reactor has to be cooled by salt water is not giving me so many hopes. I am afraid that cooling water can not reach more critical area inside reactor core. Destroyed machine rooms are not giving a chance to secure adequate cooling. They probably have reactors with opened cooling circulation circuit. Everything what they can do is just to lower speed of overheeting progress. They should investigate a risk and prevent from contact of water with melted material leeking from the reactor. I am afraid that we have to be prepared for "China syndrom". Maybe in a limited form, but in the area when melted core will have contact with big amount of water, the explosion and overspread of radioactivity can occur.

    Try to investigate wheather the earthquake does not depend on closing moon which will culminate on 19 March. I would like to be sure that the whole coast areas in danger are prepared for repetition of disaster.

    March 15, 2011 at 12:17 am |
  3. Eileen

    Dear dear Anderson Cooper,Dr. Gupta and others of your staff.

    We love and admire you for your efforts to bring us up-to-date news, but I for one, and I am sure I speak for others. The news is not as important as your lives. Please leave that area while you have the chance. T
    his is unlike any other situation you have ever reported. Please please dear folks.

    March 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  4. KENDRA

    My husband said why dont they use a freon to draw the power from the nuclear rod quicker. Then send a robot with a camera in the containment vessel to check where the breach is. After finding where the breach is get a hold of the manufacturer of the containment vessel and make a patch. Draw the water out of the containment vessel while putting it in a deep freeze and patching it.

    March 14, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  5. Nordean

    Would someone find out what has happened to all the spent fuel and contaminated water that these nuclear plants in Japan have produced. There is no known way of enviromentally getting rid of it so it is usually stored in barrels in water. I live next to the old Trojan nuclear plant in Oregon and there is still huge ponds of spent fuel and barrels (that they have covered, out of sight out of mind). I don't belive for a minute the nuclear plants on the west coast of the US or anywhere here are safe from even a 7 point quake. I know of one in Calif. that is built right next to a fault line. Crazy and all for money!

    March 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm |