Russian nuclear corp. worried by Fukushima disaster

NOVO-OGARYEVO, March 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom is worried by the situation at three units of the Japanese Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant, which were not in operation when a powerful quake and tsunami stroke last week.

Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko said at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that units Four, Five and Six were out of operation when the disaster stroke, and were initially not considered a threat. Fuel rods had been removed from the reactor core and kept in a storage pool.

However coolant in the storage pool did not circulate properly, water in the pool evaporated as a result and upper parts of fuel rods started melting.

“This is the only possible scenario. Japanese specialists told us that hydrogen exploded at unit Four. We made a full model and calculated possible scenarios, there is no other way hydrogen may appear and explode in this unit,” he said.

“The worst thing is that two similar units are in the vicinity – units Five and Six, where temperatures are also reported to be rising,” the Russian nuclear official added.

Kiriyenko said that even in the worst-case scenario, there is no threat of the radioactive pollution of the Russian territory.

“We studied such an ‘apocalyptic scenario’ – at the moment, winds are blowing towards Russia and continue to blow in the same direction with great speed for several days running,” he said.

“Even in such case there is no threat to the Russian Far East, because it [the radioactive cloud] will consist mainly of short-living isotopes, which would decay before reaching Russia.”

Blasts at Fukushima No. 1 in northeastern Japan have escalated concerns about a possible nuclear disaster in the country, which was devastated by a powerful 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami on Friday.

Cooling systems at the Fukushima plant failed following the earthquake, resulting in blasts at units One and Three on Monday, and at Unit Two on Tuesday.

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