Japan: Another Nuke Reactor shuts down after leak

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WIRE:07/23/2000 22:26:00 ET TEPCO Shuts Down Another Nuke Reactor After Leak

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan"s largest power utility said on Monday it has shut down a second reactor at a nuclear plant 155 miles northeast of Tokyo after an oil leak was detected. Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc (9501.T) said it shut down the 784-megawatt No.2 reactor at its Fukushima nuclear power plant on Sunday night, and afterward detected a small amount of radiation in a pool of water below a network of control rods.

On Friday, TEPCO shut down another nuclear reactor at the same plant to investigate a rise in waste gas following an earthquake earlier in the day. "We shut down the reactor at 21:17 pm on Sunday in order to check the cause of the leak of oil near a turbine," a TEPCO spokesman said. Oil is used to control the pressure in the turbine. "Soon after the reactor was shut down for investigation, we detected a pool of water. The amount of water that had leaked is about 150 liters and that is radiated," the spokesman said. He added no radiation had escaped into the outside environment.

The TEPCO spokesman said the cause of the leak is still being investigated and it is not clear when the reactor will resume operating. Japan has 51 commercial nuclear reactors providing about 30 percent of the country"s electricity. Public anger after several major accidents at nuclear facilities over the past five years, including Japan"s worst-ever accident last September that killed two uranium plant workers, has forced delays in the government"s nuclear program.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 23, 2000


Nando Times

Radioactive water leaked at Japan power plant

by KOZO MIZOGUCHI, Associated Press

TOKYO (July 24, 2000 9:30 a.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) -

Officials at a northeastern Japan power plant who shut down a nuclear reactor to check an oil leak found that a small amount of radioactive water had leaked out, the plant's operator said Monday.

The leak at the Fukushima No. 1 plant injured no one and did not escape from the facility, said Yoshimi Hitosugi, spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan's largest power company. It came four days after an earthquake led to the shutdown of another reactor at the same plant.

The six-reactor plant is located in Okuma, a town of 10,900 on the Pacific coast in Fukushima state, 150 miles northeast of Tokyo.

Hitosugi said plant workers found 40 gallons of radioactive water that had leaked near the plant's No. 2 reactor late Sunday. The discovery came an hour after the reactor was manually shut down because of an oil leak.

"No one was injured and nothing radioactive leaked outside the plant," Hitosugi said.

Plant officials later determined the radioactive water leaked from a joint in a pipe linked to the hydraulic pressure system for controlling rods, utility official Kazuyoshi Takahara said.

Officials were still investigating whether the fissure that caused the oil leak resulted from a recent strong earthquake in the Pacific, Takahara said.

On Friday, the No. 6 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear plant was shut down after a leak of waste gas was detected in a tank where steam used to power the turbines was turned back into water.

No leak of radioactive material was reported at the No. 6 reactor. But it was shut down as a cautionary measure after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of eastern Japan.

Japan has an aggressive nuclear power program: The resource-poor nation depends on nuclear energy for a third of its electricity.

Public faith was shaken, however, by the nation's worst nuclear accident Sept. 30 at a fuel-processing plant in Tokaimura, 70 miles northeast of Tokyo, which took the lives of two workers and seriously injured a third. Dozens of people are believed to have been exposed to less harmful radiation in that accident, which set off an uncontrolled atomic reaction.

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

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