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Explosion at nuclear plant in Japan

posted 12 Mar 2011, 04:07 by Mpelembe   [ updated 12 Mar 2011, 04:11 ]

Local television broadcast pictures of an explosion at a nuclear plant in Japan's Fukushima prefecture.

WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES (MARCH 11, 2011)  REUTERS - Smoke billows from the 40-year-old Daichi 1 nuclear plant.

The explosion blew off the roof of the unstable reactor, raising fears of a disastrous meltdown.

NHK television said the outer structure of the building which houses the reactor appeared to have blown off, suggesting the containment building might have been breached.

Initial reports said some people had been injured in the explosion.

Speaking on Friday, Global Security Senior Scientist, Edwin Lyman said a Chernobly-type disaster could happen if a leak was not contained.


"In the worst case the entire core could melt and it can melt through the steel reactor vessel and escape into the containment building and then the containment is the only thing that is standing between the radiation in the reactor and the atmosphere. Then it is a dice roll about whether or not the containment will maintain it's integrity and prevent a large radiological release . There is a chance if that does occur that there will be over pressure, the containment can fail and you might have a release on the order of the Chernobyl accident."

Authorities had evacuated tens of thousands of residents from the area near the two nuclear plants.

Marie-Claire Fennessy, Reuters