Gas pumped to prevent Japan blast

Workers in Japan have begun injecting nitrogen into one of the reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to prevent more hydrogen blasts.

The gas is being pumped into reactor 1 of the six-unit plant which was damaged by last month’s quake and tsunami.

Explosions caused by a build-up of hydrogen gas happened in three reactors in the aftermath of the 11 March quake.

Earlier, workers succeeded in plugging a gap leaking highly radioactive water from the plant into the Pacific Ocean.

The plant’s operator, Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Co), said it had injected chemical agents to solidify soil near a cracked pit of reactor 2 that was the source of the leak.

Since the earthquake knocked out cooling systems, workers have been pumping water into reactors to cool fuel rods, but must now deal with waste water pooling in and below damaged reactor buildings.

Radioactive iodine

Technicians began injecting nitrogen, an inert gas, at 0131 local time Thursday (1631 GMT Wednesday), said Makoto Watanabe, a spokesman for Japan’s nuclear agency.

A Tepco official was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying that it was “necessary to inject nitrogen gas into the containment vessel and eliminate the potential for a hydrogen explosion”.

Workers in Japan have begun injecting nitrogen into one of the reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to prevent more hydrogen blasts.

The gas is being pumped into reactor 1 of the six-unit plant which was damaged by last month’s quake and tsunami.

Explosions caused by a build-up of hydrogen gas happened in three reactors in the aftermath of the 11 March quake.

Earlier, workers succeeded in plugging a gap leaking highly radioactive water from the plant into the Pacific Ocean.

The plant’s operator, Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Co), said it had injected chemical agents to solidify soil near a cracked pit of reactor 2 that was the source of the leak.

Since the earthquake knocked out cooling systems, workers have been pumping water into reactors to cool fuel rods, but must now deal with waste water pooling in and below damaged reactor buildings.

Radioactive iodine

Technicians began injecting nitrogen, an inert gas, at 0131 local time Thursday (1631 GMT Wednesday), said Makoto Watanabe, a spokesman for Japan’s nuclear agency.

A Tepco official was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying that it was “necessary to inject nitrogen gas into the containment vessel and eliminate the potential for a hydrogen explosion”.