New Fukushima scare blamed on faulty thermometer

By REUTERS
February 13, 2012 08:54

 
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TOKYO - A scare over temperatures rising near danger level in a reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where workers are battling to prevent a resurgence of the radiation crisis, could be a false alarm, the plant operator said on Monday.

Instruments showed the temperature inside the plant's No.2 reactor topped 90 Celsius on Monday, double what it was a month ago and close to boiling point, in which water cooling nuclear fuel in the reactor could evaporate and start a new meltdown.

But a faulty thermometer was likely giving false readings, said Tokyo Electric Power Co, operator of the plant 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

The Fukushima plant's cooling system was wrecked by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, triggering reactor meltdowns and a radiation crisis that has caused widespread contamination and mass evacuations.

Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, said it was able to bring the temperature down at two other places in the reactor to about 33C from over 40C a week ago by pumping more water into it.

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