Unclear if Japan nuclear pumps will work: IAEA

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 11:57 AM

VIENNA (Reuters) - The United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Saturday it was unclear whether water pumps at Japan's disaster-hit nuclear power plant would work once power was restored.

Graham Andrew, a senior official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also told a briefing the overall situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant was similar to Friday.

"Efforts to restore electrical power to the site continue. It is hoped that power will be restored at Unit 2 today which will then act as a hub for restoring power to Unit 1," he said.

"We do not know if the water pumps are damaged and if they will work when power is restored."

He said water was being pumped through Units 5 and 6, which are less damaged than the other four and do not pose immediate concern. Holes have been made in the roofs of the units to minimize the risk of a hydrogen explosion, he said.

Radiation level readings in major Japanese cities have not changed significantly since Friday and do not pose any danger to human health, he said, referring to Japanese data.

An IAEA monitoring team has been working in Tokyo and the Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures near the capital. They have also found radiation to be below dangerous levels, he said.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall and Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Sophie Hares)