Saturday, March 26, 2011

No end in sight for radioactive releases at Fukushima: IAEA

2011-03-26 02:40:00
Last Updated: 2011-03-26 02:59:22

Vienna: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it could offer no timeline on when Japanese engineers could stop radioactive leakage from the stricken Fukushima plant, even though the likely source of the emissions has been identified.

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

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 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,' he said.

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

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