Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crack Found in Pit at No.2 Reactor in Fukushima

"Japanese officials grappling on Sunday to end the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl were focusing on a crack in a concrete pit that was leaking radiation into the ocean from a crippled reactor.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said it had found a crack in the pit at its No.2 reactor in Fukushima, generating readings 1,000 millisieverts of radiation per hour in the air inside the pit.

"With radiation levels rising in the seawater near the plant, we have been trying to confirm the reason why, and in that context, this could be one source," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), said on Saturday.

He cautioned, however: "We can't really say for certain until we've studied the results."

Leakage did not stop even after concrete was poured into the pit, and Tokyo Electric is now planning to use water-absorbent polymer to prevent contaminated water from leaking out into the sea.

Officials from the utility said checks of the other five reactors found no cracks.

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