Nuclear fission detected at Fukushima
Thursday 03 November 2011
The operator of the tsunami-hit nuclear power plant in Japan said yesterday that substances found in a reactor could be a result of nuclear fission, a possible setback in efforts to shut the plant down safely. But analysts said a higher risk of radiation was unlikely.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March and released radiation into the atmosphere, the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago.
Tokyo Electric Power said it discovered xenon, a substance produced as a byproduct of fission, in the No 2 reactor, and had poured in water and boric acid, an agent that helps prevent nuclear reactions, as a precaution.
"It can be assumed that isolated criticality took place for a short period of time judging from the presence of xenon," Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said. Criticality is when controlled nuclear reactions take place. Nuclear plants harness the resulting heat to produce electricity.
Richard Wakeford, at Manchester University, was sceptical. He said: "Nuclear criticality requires delicate conditions. It seems unlikely that these exist at Fukushima ... Also, criticality would be accompanied by a burst of radiation, which I would have expected to be detected."
- 1 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 3 Scottish referendum 'English question': Tory MPs call on David Cameron to create an English first minister in wake of No vote
- 4 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...