Tsuyoshi Inajima and Yuji Okada –
March 13, 2011
Japanese officials battling to prevent a potential meltdown at a nuclear power station said an explosion was possible at a second reactor building after the plant’s cooling system failed.
Water levels temporarily fell at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant 135 miles north of Tokyo, raising the possibility of a hydrogen explosion, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said in Tokyo today.
Asia’s largest utility is battling to prevent a meltdown of two reactors at the nuclear power station by flooding them with water and boric acid to eliminate the potential for a catastrophic release of radiation into the atmosphere. The station lost power to keep the reactor core cool after the March 11 earthquake, the largest ever recorded in Japan.
The “likelihood of success should be fairly high,” Dale Klein, a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said of the seawater flooding. “This should have been part of their overall strategy to keep the core covered and cooled.”