Fukushima No. 3 reactor's container feared damaged: gov't spokesman

13:22, March 16, 2011      

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This Oct. 2008 file photo released by Kyodo News Agency on March 13, 2011 shows the No. 3 nuclear reactor of Japan's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said March 14, 2011 that hydrogen blast occurred at the No. 3 nuclear reactor of Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant at 02:01 GMT (11:01 local time). (Xinhua/Kyodo)

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Wednesday that the container of the No.3 reactor of the troubled Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant might have been damaged and leaked radioactive steam.

According to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, hourly radiation near the plant was measured at 6.4 millisievert at 10:45 a.m. local time (0145 GMT).

Earlier in the day Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said that a fire had broken out at the No.4 reactor building at the scene of a blaze Tuesday at the plant where high amounts of radiation have been detected.

According to the plant's officials, the fire was spotted at 05: 45 a.m. local time at the northwestern corner of the building that houses the No. 4 reactor.

Although half an hour following the first sighting of flames, the blaze could no longer be seen the utility said.

The cause of the fire remains unclear at this point a spokesperson for TEPCO said Wednesday, adding that the fire apparently went out of its own accord.

The No. 4 Reactor was undergoing checks at the time of Friday's quake and was not operating, TEPCO said, adding that but they have been having problems cooling down a storage pool for spent nuclear fuel rods inside the building.

At the plant's No.1 reactor TEPCO said 70 percent of the fuel rods have been damaged as have 33 percent of the rods at its No.2 reactor.

Both reactors are believed to have undergone a partial meltdown following critical cooling functions being knocked out following Friday's massive quake and ensuing tsunami, the utility said.

Source: Xinhua

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