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Published by: pezhead on Mar 17, 2011
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TOKYO, March 17 - The FukushimaDaiichi nuclear power plant at thecentre o Japan’s crisis has six reac-tors. The plant is operated by TokyoElectric Power Co (TEPCO).The ollowing summarises whatis happening at each unit, and themajor risks:REACTORS MOST AT RISK? REACTOR No 3: 784-MW 
What is happening:
Helicopters and trucks were usedto water down reactors as authori-ties reiterated on Thursday thatresolving problems at the plant --the only unit to include plutonium inits uel mix -- was the priority.Plutonium is considered morehazardous than uranium.White smoke coming rom theplant could be steam evaporatingrom the spent uel pool, the Japannuclear agency said on Thursday.It said pressure in the reactor wasrising again.Radiation readings at the reactorare the highest at the Daiichi com-plex, TEPCO said on Wednesday.There was an explosion at reactor3 on Monday. 
What are the risks:
The major concern is that anysteam coming rom the plant willcarry radiation into the atmosphere.It’s not clear where this could becoming rom.Chie Cabinet Minister YukioEdano said on Wednesday there isa “possibility” the primary contain-ment vessel, the rst line o deenceagainst a radiation leak, had beendamaged, Kyodo reported. Thereactors also have a secondarycontainment building. (see below:CONTAINMENT -- WHAT IS IT?)However, the Japan nuclear agen-cy noted the steam could be comingrom the spent uel pool. That wouldindicate that water covering thespent uel is evaporating, which inturn could mean the vapour is carry-ing o radiation.The spent uel pool presentsa signicant radiation risk i itscontents are exposed to the atmos-phere. When uel rods are exposedto the air, zirconium metal on therods will catch re, which could re-lease radiation contained in the uel,said Arnie Gundersen, a 29-yearveteran o the nuclear industry whois now chie engineer at FairwindsAssociates Inc. REACTOR No 4: 784-MW 
What is happening:
There is no water in the spentuel pool and radiation levels areextremely high, the chairman o theU.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commis-sion said in Washington on Wednes-day. However, TEPCO said on Thurs-day that as o Wednesday the spentuel pool still had water in it.
Getting to the core of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant
For expanded, multimedia Reuters Top News visit:> Eikon: Top News Tab> 3000 Xtra: visit http://link.reuters.com/myd58r > THOMSON ONE: visit topnews.thomsonone.com/topnews> ReutersStation: view story .134
_ _
20 km
400 m
Reactors 5 and 6 not in the drawing 
Source: Reuters TEPCO - Tokyo Electric Power Company IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency 
Mar 11 quakeepicentre
Power plantsReactors
P   a  c  i   f    i   c   O   c  e  a  n  
1   0   0    m  
Reactor 1
Concrete cover of plantdestroyed. Fuel rod is70% damaged saysKyodo news agency
Reactor 2
Explosion reported. Fuelrods were fully exposedfor a time on Monday,causing fears it may leadto meltdown. Fuel rod is33% damaged saysKyodo news
Reactor 3
Concrete building destroyedafter an explosion butreactor container still intact
(All times are local) 
Reactor 4
Building suffers fire and anexplosion. Catches fireagain on Wednesday
MAR 11
Fri. 19:46 
Government reveals acooling problem at theDaiichi plant
MAR 12
Sat. 17:47 
Explosion and radiationleak at reactor 1confirmed by government
MAR 13
Sun. 23:37 
TEPCO injects seawaterinto the reactors 1 and 3
MAR 14
Mon. 11:15 
Explosion at reactor 3,seawater pumped toreactor 2
MAR 15
Explosion atreactor 2. Reactor 4catches fire
Explosion reportedat reactor 4
Reactor 4 fire put out
TEPCO says it haspulled out 750 workersfrom the plant sinceTuesday and only 50remain
Radiation levels atreactor 4 become too highto conduct normal work
MAR 16
Operators plan tobulldoze an emergencyroute to allow access forfire trucks
180 workersare on site at the complex
Water is beingpoured into reactors 5and 6People have been evacuated in a20-km radius successfuly aroundDaiichi complex, and a no-fly zone isestablished for a 30km radius fromthe facility
Among the six reactors, getting water to reactor 3 is said to be the priority since it is the only reactor which is part powered by plutonium 
NarahaHironoKatsuraoMt. KitoyaMt. Otakine
10-km 20-km 30-km 
Reactor 5Reactor 6Reactor 1Reactor 2Reactor 3Reactor 4
MAR 17
Militaryhelicopters spray wateron the plant to cool thefuel rods after failedattempts on WednesdayHead of IAEA confirmscore damage at reactors1, 2 and 3, but saidreactor vessels still intact
CH-47 Chinook 
TV on Wednesday showed smokeor steam rising rom the acility aterfames were seen earlier in the day.The reactor had been shut down ormaintenance when the earthquakeand tsunami struck.On Tuesday, the spent uel poolcaught re and caused an explo-sion.Japan’s nuclear saety agencysays the blast punctured two holesaround 8-metres square in the wallo the outer building o the reactor. 
What are the risks:
Exposure o spent uel to theatmosphere is serious because thereis more radiation in the spent uelthan in the reactor, said Gundersen.The spent uel pool is not inside acontainment acility either.“They need to keep water inthose pools because the roo overthe building housing the pools isalready damaged and radiation willescape,” he said.The pools contain racks that holdspent uel taken rom the reactor.Operators need to constantly addwater to the pool to keep the uelsubmerged so that radiation cannotescape.Exposing the spent uel to theatmosphere will release radiation. REACTOR No 2: 784-MW 
What is happening:
TEPCO plans to run a cable to re-actors No 1 and No 2 to try to restorepower to the water cooling system,the Japan nuclear agency said onThursday.An explosion rocked the plant onTuesday, damaging a suppressionpool, into which steam is ventedrom the reactor to relieve pressure.The roo o the reactor building isdamaged, Jiji news agency reported.TEPCO said on Tuesday the uelrods were ully exposed. An esti-mated 33 percent o the nuclear uelrods have been damaged at the No2 reactor, Kyodo quoted TEPCO assaying on Wednesday.However, on Wednesday, Japan’snuclear agency said the pumpingo sea water into the reactor wasproceeding smoothly.
What are the risks:
When uel rods are no longercovered in coolant they can heat upand start to melt, raising the risk oa radiation leak and in a worst-casescenario a ull meltdown.The suppression pool is part o theprimary containment vessel, whichis designed to prevent a leak, butthe IAEA said the blast “may haveaected the integrity o its primarycontainment vessel.”Still, beyond the primary contain-ment vessel is the containmentbuilding, which is also designed toprevent radiation rom escaping. REACTOR No 1: 460-MW 
What is happening:
TEPCO plans to run a cable to re-actors No 1 and No 2 to try to restorepower to the water cooling system,
Graphic: Chris Inton, RNGS 
Sources: Reuters, NHK 
1st fail-safe:
Control rodsrise up to stop nuclear fissionbut fuel rods still remainedhot. Circulation of watershould have cooled the fuelrods but a power outagecaused by the quakedisabled the system
2nd fail-safe:
Emergencydiesel-powered generatorsprays the fuel rods withcold water, but the generatorfails an hour later. Expertssuggest the failure wascaused by the tsunami
3rd fail-safe:
System whichconverts steam to water startscooling the rods, but the waterlevel went down. Fuel rods’temperatures continue to rise
Fuel rods undergoes nuclear fission,emits heat to produce energy Water cools it down and maintains temperature at 270 C If the cooling system fails, the temperature can rise to 1,200 C,melting the zirconium casings of the fuel rods and cause radioactive leak 
Fuel rods Water level Containment structure Condenser Wet well Dry well Control rods 
A handout photo shows Tokyo Electric Power Co. Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant reac-tor no. 4 (center) and no. 3 (L) in northern Japan March 15, 2011. Picture taken March 15, 2011.REUTERS/Tokyo Electric Power Co./Handout

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