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One crisis after another harried TEPCO's response : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

This is the third installment in a series focusing on delays in implementing emergency steps by the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. to deal with the unprecedented nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

TEPCO's venting of radioactive steam from a reactor at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant came too late, but even after the utility acted, a series of hydrogen explosions at the plant's reactor buildings quickly turned the situation into a nightmare the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency had never anticipated.

Under ordinary circumstances, reactor containment vessels that cover pressure vessels contain nearly no oxygen, making it almost impossible for the substance to chemically react with hydrogen and set off a blast. Even if hydrogen is generated in a reactor, it should not leak from the containment vessel. But after the disaster damaged pipe joints in the reactor building, hydrogen from inside the reactor leaked into the outer structure.

The first blast occurred at the No. 1 reactor at 3:36 p.m. on March 12, about five hours after the radioactive steam was released. The event violently shook an earthquake-resistant building nearby that was housing the crisis headquarters in the compound.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Apr 14th, 2011 at 12:48:09 PM EST

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