Japanese Nuclear Reactor Shuts Down

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Japanese Nuclear Reactor Shuts Down

TOKYO (AP) -- A nuclear reactor at a research plant northeast of Tokyo shut down automatically Monday after its fuel rods malfunctioned during an output increase, officials said.

The reactor at the state-run nuclear research institute at Oarai, 590 miles northeast of Tokyo, shut down while its output was being raised from 500 kilowatts to 3.5 megawatts, according to the Science and Technology Agency.

No radiation leaked outside the facility, agency spokesman Akihiro Myoga said. The cause of the malfunction was being investigated.

The reactor at Oarai is designed for the study of nuclear fuels and is not for power generation.

More than 400 residents were exposed to radiation on Sept. 30, 1999, at the JCO Co. plant in Tokaimura, 70 miles northeast of Tokyo. The nuclear accident -- Japan's worst -- killed one worker and seriously sickened two others.

AP-NY-04-24-00 0724EDT< 

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), April 24, 2000

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