Saturday, March 26, 2011

No end in sight for Japan Nuclear leak: IAEA

Smoke billowing from Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant after being hit by an explosin following the recent quake and tsunami in the Asian country.

Source: Press TV

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says it cannot tell when the radioactive leakage from the disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan could be contained.

The IAEA has announced it could offer no timeline on when Japanese engineers could stop radioactive leakage from the stricken nuclear facility, even though the likely source of the emissions has been identified, reported dpa.

"We don't know how long there will be releases," senior IAEA technical advisor Graham Andrew told reporters at the agency's seat in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

In addition to suspected leaks of the vessel's shielding reactor cores at the plant's units 1 and 2, data also indicated a leak at reactor 3, IAEA officials said.

The IAEA's chief safety official, Denis Flory, said a number of steps would be necessary before engineers at Fukushima nuclear power plant could start to assess whether there are, in fact, leaks before they could start to fix them.

First the reactor would have to be cooled and water would have to be injected to create an environment in which people could operate in the building and assess the damage.

"So we are not in this phase at all," Flory went on to say.

The radioactivity being released from the Japanese power plant that was hit by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 probably comes out of the reactors rather than from spent fuel ponds, the officials said, noting the composition of the radioactive isotopes.

On March 11, a powerful quake, off the northeast coast of Japan's main island, unleashed a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours.

The Japanese government has put the post-quake rebuilding cost at $309 billion.

Japan has announced that nearly 28,000 people have died or are feared dead as a result of the disastrous quake and tsunami that hit the country two weeks ago.

The quake is now considered Japan's deadliest natural disaster since the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 142,000 people

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