Monday, May 30, 2011

A tropical storm paralyzes part of operations in central Fukushima

Technicians at the Fukushima nuclear plant on Monday temporarily suspended part of its operations because of the tropical storm hits the area, public broadcaster NHK reported. The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), ordered to stop spraying chemicals around the damaged reactor, which takes place on a regular basis from late March to determine the radioactive particles and prevent their spread.

It also assesses the ability to temporarily suspend debris removal due to heavy rains and wind, according to NHK. The rain also increased the level of radioactive water inside the reactor buildings, so Tepco technicians closely monitor the situation to prevent fluid overflow. First tropical storm affecting the area, workers have installed Fukushima sandbag levees at various points of the plant to prevent rain affects the electrical system and cause problems with its cooling system.

This Saturday the reactor coolant 5, one of the two who did not experience serious problems after the earthquake, was temporarily stopped by a possible failure in the electrical system, but was restored after 15 hours. The earthquake and tsunami of 11 March damaged the cooling system of nuclear power plant, sparking the most serious nuclear crisis after the Chernobyl accident 25 years ago.

TEPCO had initially said they hoped to bring Fukushima reactor to the state of "cooling down" by the end of this year, but last night admitted that his plan will probably be delayed to the partial melting of the reactor cores 1, 2 and 3 . Since 11 March hundreds of operatives working to try to control the ailing plant, which emits a high radioactivity.

Both TEPCO and Japan's government said Monday that at least two workers could have received a radiation level above the maximum of 250 mSv established by the authorities as a limit for the current emergency. The two operators, engaged in the work of the plant from the beginning of the crisis, may have been exposed to several hundred mSv, according to a source cited by TEPCO local agency Kyodo.

The company said however that none of the two, who worked both in the control room of the central and abroad, has so far shown no health problems requires "emergency medical treatment."

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