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Japan's nuclear crisis escalates amid another fire at crippled nuclear plant

English.news.cn   2011-03-16 14:04:13 FeedbackPrintRSS

The photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. on March 16, 2011, shows No.3 reactor (L) and No.4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The fire struck on early Wednesday at the building housing of the No.4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)


TOKYO, March 16 (Xinhua) -- As Japan is struggling to contain a spiraling nuclear crisis, another fire broke out again at a quake-crippled nuclear plant on Wednesday, raising fears of more radiation contamination.

The fire struck on early Wednesday at the building housing of the No.4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, said Tokyo Electric Power Co.(TEPCO), the plant's operator.

Workers saw a blaze erupt at 5:45 a.m.(2110 GMT) at the northwestern corner of the building's fourth floor and about 30 minutes later, the smoke and fire could no longer be seen within 10 meters away, public broadcaster NHK reported.

It is the second fire to hit the spent fuel storage pond at No.4 reactor in just over 24 hours, signalling a deterioration in the situation.

On Tuesday, a fire broke out in the same reactor's fuel storage pond, an area where used nuclear fuel is kept cool, sending radiation into the atmosphere.

Tokyo Electric Power said the new blaze erupted because the initial fire had not been fully extinguished.

Unlike other three reactors that saw explosions over the past few days, the No.4 reactor was shut down for maintenance when the quake and tsunami struck last Friday.

Reactors in the No.5 and No.6 units also saw an increase in temperatures, although there have been no reports of abnormalcies or explosions.

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