Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–March 14, 2011.
UPDATE AS OF 10:25 P.M. EDT, MONDAY, MARCH 14:
Yukio Edano, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, during a live press conference at 10 p.m. EDT, said there is a fire at Fukushima Daiichi 4 that is accompanied by high levels of radiation between Units 3 and 4 at the site. The fire began burning at Unit 4 at around 6 a.m. Japan time on March 14 and is still burning. Fire fighters are responding to the fire. The reactor does not have fuel in the reactor, but there is spent fuel in the reactor (pool) and Edano said that he assumes radioactive substances are being released. “The substances are coming out from the No. 4 reactor and we are making the utmost effort to put out the first and also cool down the No. 4 reactor (pool).”
Edano said that a blast was heard this morning at Unit 2 at about 6:30 a.m. A hole was observed in the number 2 reactor and he said there is very little possibility that an explosion will occur at Unit 2.
“The part of the suppression chamber seems to have caused the blast,” Edano said. A small amount of radioactive substance seems to have been released to the outside.
TEPCO workers continue to pump sea water at 1, 2 and 3 reactors. “The biggest problem is how to maintain the cooling and how to contain the fire at No. 4.” At 10:22 a.m. Japan time, the radiation level between units 2 and 3 were as high as 40 rem per hour. “We are talking about levels that can impact human health.” Edano said.
Of the 800 staff that remained at the power plant, all but 50 who are directly involved in pumping water into the reactor have been evacuated.
UPDATE AS OF 9:40 P.M. EDT, MONDAY, MARCH 14:
An explosion in the vicinity of the suppression pool at Fukushima Daiichi 2 just after 6:20 a.m. Japan Standard Time (5:20 p.m. EDT) may have damaged a portion of the reactor’s primary containment structure.
Pressure in the suppression pool has been reported to have decreased to ambient atmospheric pressure shortly after the blast. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has reported possible damage to the reactor’s pressure-suppression system. Radiation levels at local monitoring stations have risen but are still in flux. TEPCO has evacuated some workers from all three Fukushima reactors with the exception of approximately 50 workers involved in sea water pumping activities into the reactors as part of emergency cooling efforts.
Residents within a 20-kilometer (12.5 mile) zone around the plant were ordered to evacuate on Saturday following a hydrogen explosion at Unit 1. Another hydrogen explosion occurred this morning (U.S. time) at Unit 3.
Efforts to inject sea water into Unit 2 have been complicated by a faulty pressure relief valve. The fuel at Unit 2 has been exposed at least twice, before being re-covered with sea water.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yukio Edano, has said a partial defect has been found inside the containment vessel of reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.