The vessel containing the radioactive core of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai- Ichi No. 3 reactor is intact after a hydrogen explosion at 11:01 a.m. local time, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.
The possibility of a large radiation leak is very small, even as radiation levels at the reactor are rising, Edano, the government’s main spokesman, said at a press conference. Tokyo Electric said one worker was injured and seven are missing after today’s explosion at the station 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of the Japanese capital.
The blast follows a similar explosion on March 12 after a hydrogen leak at the station’s No. 1 reactor, in which the walls of the reactor building were destroyed, and four workers were injured. No damage was reported to the container of the No. 1 plant, according to Tokyo Electric.
Asia’s largest utility is seeking to avoid a meltdown of at least two reactors at the nuclear power station by flooding them with water and boric acid to eliminate the potential for a catastrophic release of radiation into the atmosphere. The station lost power to keep the reactor core cool after the March 11 earthquake, the largest ever recorded in Japan.
Winds in the area of the Fukushima plant are blowing at less than 10 kilometers (6 miles) per hour generally in an northeasterly and northerly direction, according to a 9 a.m. update from the Japan Meteorological Agency today.
Update: Rolling blackouts in Tokyo and other Japanese cities in hopes to make up for shorfall after key nuclear plants left inoperable.