An explosion was reported at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant Saturday at about 0630 GMT. The explosion has apparently not breached the containment vessel.
Several workers were reported injured in the explosion, and smoke and/or steam was seen billowing out of the plant about 10 minutes later. There is also report that a roof and a wall collapsed.
Radioactivity at the plant was 20 times over the normal level with pressure growing at the plant. A 1,000 normal temperature level has also been reported.
Iodine tablets are being administered to people in the area who could be exposed to radiation.
SSKI may be used in radioiodine-contamination emergencies (i.e., nuclear accidents) to “block” the thyroid’s uptake of radioiodine (this is not the same as blocking the thyroid’s release of thyroid hormone). The dose is smaller: 130 mg KI per day (100 mg iodide) which represents 2 drops of SSKI solution per day, for an adult.
Following the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in April, 1986, a Saturated Solution of Potassium Iodide (SSKI) was administered to 10.5 million children and 7 million adults in Poland as a prophylactic measure against accumulation of radioactive iodine-131 in the thyroid gland. People in the areas immediately surrounding Chernobyl itself, however, were not given the supplement.
An explosion at a nuclear power station tore down the walls of one building Saturday as smoke poured out. Japanese officials said they feared the reactor could melt down following the failure of its cooling system in the earthquake and tsunami.
Pressure has reportedly been growing at the plant, with Japanese officials racing against time to cool the reactors that were disabled by yesterday’s massive earthquake and tsunami or face a nuclear meltdown.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is racing to cool down the reactor core after a highly unusual “station blackout” — the total loss of power necessary to keep water circulating through the plant to prevent overheating.
Officials are reporting that people living in the area are not at a health risk, but the evacuation area was expanded. A total of 45,000 people living within a 10km (6.2 mile) radius of the No.1 plant were evacuated.
Officials today ordered the evacuation of people living within a 3km (1.9 mile)-radius of the second plant, with those within 10km away were told to stay indoors.
When the earthquake hit about 2:45 p.m., the nuclear plants immediately shut down by design, but the cooling systems failed when they did not have a power source — regular AC or battery backup
The major fear is that fuel rods, which create heat through a nuclear reaction, could become exposed (minus cooling water) and release radioactivity.