Hydrogen Explosion at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501> continued its efforts on Thursday morning to prevent another hydrogen explosion at a troubled nuclear power station in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan.

The company started injecting nitrogen gas into the containment vessel of the No. 1 reactor of its Fukushima No.1 plant at around 1:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m.

Wednesday GMT) in a bid to reduce the density of hydrogen and oxygen in the containment vessel as a chemical reaction of the two gases can cause an explosion.

After the nitrogen gas injection, the pressure inside the containment vessel rose slightly, but in relatively stable condition, the company said.

Nitrogen gas injection is expected to continue for about six days at the No. 1 reactor. Tokyo Electric Power plans to conduct the same operation for the No. 2 and 3 reactors as well.

Judging from the radiation level inside the containment vessel, the company estimates that 70 pct of fuel rods inside the No. 1 reactor have been damaged.

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