More problems for quake-damaged nuclear plant

The Unit 3 reactor building, which was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Photo / AP
The Unit 3 reactor building, which was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Photo / AP

The earthquake-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan has been struck by more problems.

Officials today warned they have detected a radioactive gas associated with fission that could indicate a problem at one of the plant's nuclear reactors. They are injecting boric acid as a precautionary measure.

Gas from inside the reactor indicated the presence of radioactive Xenon, which could be the byproduct of unexpected nuclear fission. The boric acid used to control nuclear reactions was being injected through a cooling pipe as a countermeasure, although it was not clear if fission had occurred.

Meanwhile, a reactor in southern Japan has been restarted after a month-long shutdown, despite strong public opposition to nuclear power since the country's March 11 disaster.

The Kyushu Electric Power Co shut down a reactor on October 4 because of a steam condenser problem that did not cause any radiation leak or injuries.

About 40 of Japan's 54 reactors remain halted, mostly for regular inspections but some because of damage from the March earthquake and tsunami. That disaster caused massive radiation leaks at a plant in northeastern Japan, and many people near halted reactors now oppose their reactivation because of safety concerns.

The government approved Genkai's restart after examining the operator's investigation report.

- HERALD ONLINE

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