Tokyo--Five Injured in Blast Near Nuclear Facility : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Five injured in blast near nuclear facility

TOKYO -- Five people were injured in an explosion at a Japanese research facility near a nuclear reprocessing complex, but there were no signs of radioactive leaks, police said yesterday. The mid-day explosion at the Institute for Environmental Sciences in Aomori Prefecture, about 580 km north-east of Tokyo, took place about 1.5 km away from a low-level nuclear-waste storage facility and nuclear reprocessing complex.

The research institute dealt with radioactive materials, but the blast occurred in a facility which did not keep such material, a police officer said.

Researchers were apparently pouring liquid oxygen into an experimental device when the explosion occurred but the exact cause of the accident was under investigation, he added.

Japan's nuclear-energy policy has been widely criticised following a series of accidents over the past five years.

The most recent was the country's worst-ever nuclear accident in September at a uranium processing plant.

One worker died in that accident and more than 100 people were exposed to radiation. -- Reuters

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-- (, March 10, 2000

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