Venting air from reactor container suspendedThe operation at Fukushima No.1 plant to lower pressure of the containment vessel has been suspended due to high radiation levels at the site.
Pressure of the reactor container is rising as its cooling system became dysfunctional due to a blackout and power generator breakdown. This has raised concern about possible damage to the container.
The power station's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, began to vent air from the reactor container at 9AM on Saturday.
Under the plan, 2 valves close to the container would be opened manually, but radiation level on the second valve was found higher than expected.
The operation has been suspended because of the possibility that workers could be exposed to radiation. The utility is reportedly studying how to open the valve by replacing workers at a short interval, or using electric remote control.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says if radioactive substance is released in the air, safety of residents evacuated beyond a 10-kilometer radius from the No.1 reactor will be ensured.
Saturday, March 12, 2011 13:09 +0900 (JST)