Tokyo Electric injects Fukushima nuclear reactor with nitrogen

 

Tokyo Electric injects Fukushima nuclear reactor with nitrogen

 
Source:  (AHN)     Reporter: Vittorio Hernandez
Location: Fukushima, Japan   Published: April 6, 2011 11:22 pm EDT
 The use of nitrogen followed the successful plugging by Tokyo Electric of the leak from the pit in reactor 2, which was believed to be the source of high radiation levels in seawater.
 Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency technicians started Thursday to inject nitrogen into reactor 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi plant to prevent more hydrogen blasts.

The build-up of highly explosive hydrogen gas was the cause of previous explosions that hit three reactors in the nuclear facility. The agency said the process could take several days to finish in a bid to prevent more blasts which could cause more radiation and further damage to the reactors.

The use of nitrogen followed the successful plugging by Tokyo Electric of the leak from the pit in reactor 2, which was believed to be the source of extremely high radiation levels in seawater, particularly iodine-131 that hit as high as 7.5 million times legal standards.

After the leak was plugged, radiation level significantly dropped to less than 4 percent of the 7.5 million times legal standards. However, the radiation level was still 280,000 times over the legal limit. Cesium-137 also decreased sharply, but was still 61,000 times higher legal standards.

The country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry also announced Wednesday that the Tokyo Electric rolling power outages would end this month. Instead of blackouts, the ministry would ask large corporate users to cut their electric consumption, which reaches a peak in summer because of the use of air conditioners.

The aim of the ministry to reduce power use by 25 percent from last summer levels to ease the electricity demand on Tokyo Electric, whose Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility was damaged heavily by the March 11 magnitude 9 earthquake.

The utility firm announced there will be no rolling blackouts on Thursday – the 10th consecutive day – because of warmer weather and the boosting of Tokyo Electric’s power supply capacity.


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