Hydrogen Explosion in Second Nuclear Plant, Navy Ships Back Away After Radiation Detected

As Tokyo Electric Power Company engineers were working to stabilize three nuclear reactors damaged by last week’s earthquake, a second explosion disrupted efforts to cool fuel rods and prevent a meltdown.

A hydrogen explosion occurred at the No. 3 reactor March 14, 2011, following a similar blast on March 12 at the No. 1 reactor that destroyed the walls of its building. The core is reported intact after the blast.

Also, the cooling system failed at the Dai-Ichi No. 2 reactor today. Tokyo Electric is pumping sea water into the reactor after pressure buildup led to explosions at the two other reactors. Constant water supply is needed, and sea water is the most reliable continuous source in the emergency, but sea water affects the structure, including causing rust, that destroys its functionality in the future.

U.S Navy ships and planes involved in earthquake rescue efforts, and forming a sea base off the coast of Japan, were diverted after radiation was detected on three helicopters.

“Low level radioactivity” was detected on 17 air crew members when they returned to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier located about 100 miles northeast from one of the stricken nuclear plants.