TOKYO: Steam has been spotted in a reactor building at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, its operator said on Thursday, stressing there is no sign yet of increased radiation.
The incident, which Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said was not “an emergency situation,” is the latest underlining the plant’s continuing precariousness more than two years after it was wrecked by a tsunami.
Steam has been seen around the fifth floor of the Reactor 3 building, according to a Tepco spokesman, adding it was “drifting thinly” and was not a large column of vapor.
“We do not believe an emergency situation is breaking out, although we are still investigating what caused this,” he said.
The roof of the building was blown off in a hydrogen explosion in the days after the March 2011 meltdowns, which were sparked when cooling systems were flooded with seawater after a huge undersea quake and tsunami.
Tepco spokesman Koichiro Shiraki said that neither the temperature of the reactor nor readings at radiation monitoring posts had risen six hours after the steam was first spotted, and that the reactor remained subcritical. Criticality is the term used for reactors in which there is a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.