AP: Second Explosion Possible

March 13, 2011

Associated Press reporters Eric Talmadge and Mari Yamaguchi posted as of 1408 EST:

KORIYAMA, Japan (AP) — Japan’s nuclear crisis intensified Sunday as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple reactor meltdowns and more than 180,000 people evacuated the quake- and tsunami-savaged northeastern coast where fears spread over possible radioactive contamination.

Nuclear plant operators were frantically trying to keep temperatures down in a series of nuclear reactors – including one where officials feared a partial meltdown could be happening Sunday – to prevent the disaster from growing worse.

But hours after officials announced the latest dangers to face the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, including the possibility of a second explosion in two days, there were few details about what was being done to bring the situation under control.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Sunday that a hydrogen explosion could occur at the complex’s Unit 3, the latest reactor to face a possible meltdown. That would follow a hydrogen blast Saturday in the plant’s Unit 1, where operators attempted to prevent a meltdown by injecting sea water into it.

“At the risk of raising further public concern, we cannot rule out the possibility of an explosion,” Edano said. “If there is an explosion, however, there would be no significant impact on human health.”

More from AP here.

The news seems to confirm an awareness by insiders that fuel damage is occurring at the Fukushima Unit 3, where cooling efforts using sea water are underway.

The Christian Science Monitor is reporting now that 6 nuclear units are in a state of emergency.

Japanese authorities now list six reactors at two different nuclear power plants – Fukushima I and nearby Fukushima II – in a state of emergency following the massive earthquake and tsunami waves that hit Japan Friday. A total of 11 of the nation’s 54 reactors shut down following the quake, knocking out about 30 percent of Japan’s power.

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