TEPCO to open second Fukushima reactor building

TEPCO said it would open a second reactor building at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Tokyo: Tokyo Electric Power Co. Sunday said it would open a second reactor building at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant to send repair crews inside for the first time since it was crippled.
Of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, reactors one to four were heavily damaged by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and deadly tsunami on March 11.

Last month, TEPCO opened a door for the structure housing reactor number one, and began work to build a system to cool it stably.

Junichi Matsumoto, TEPCO`s nuclear official said the entrance to the reactor number two building would slowly be opened from Sunday evening "to make sure dust inside the building will not fly away".

"We believe this action should result in no impact to the environment," he said, adding that it should lower the 99.9-percent humidity inside the building.

Workers will then enter the facility to check on measuring tools inside and eventually start work to inject nitrogen into the reactor to prevent an explosion.

The world`s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 has caused radioactive material to spew into the air, ground and sea and forced the evacuation of 80,000 people in a 20-kilometre (12-mile) radius.

Workers have pumped water into reactor cores and fuel rod pools, leaving more than 100,000 tonnes of contaminated water in basements, drains and ditches, some of which has leaked into the ocean.

More than four out of five Japanese want to see Tokyo abandon nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima atomic crisis, a survey said Sunday.

Resource-poor Japan relies on nuclear power for a third of its electricity supplies, and Prime Minister Naoto Kan`s government has said it will remain a major pillar of the nation`s energy policy.

But a survey in the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper found that 82 per cent of Japanese wanted to see it phased out.

Just over nine percent wanted all reactors shut down immediately, while almost 19 percent said they should each be permanently decommissioned when their next routine inspection was due.

The majority, just under 54 per cent, wanted to have them shut down when electricity supply and demand allowed.

Only 14 percent wanted no change.

"The survey reflected the strength of the public`s distrust in the government`s nuclear policy," the newspaper said.

Bureau Report

Gas pact with US co. sparks protest in B`desh

Dhaka: A crucial deal between the government
and US energy giant ConocoPhillips for gas exploration in the
Bay of Bengal has sparked a row in the country as a
Bangladeshi organisation announced a nationwide shutdown to
protest against the pact.

"We are calling a country wide 6-hour hartal on July 3...
the agreement with ConocoPhillips endangered Bangladesh`s
ownership on maritime resources," Anu Mohammad, the secretary
general of left wing national committee to protect oil, gas,
mineral resources, power and ports, told reporters.

On June 16, the Awami League-led coalition inked the deal
for gas exploration in the Bay of Bengal, amid ownership
dispute with neighbouring India and Myanmar and criticism from
activists at home.

Mohammad claimed the provisions of the deal allowed
Bangladesh to have only 20 per cent share of the explored
hydrocarbon and eventually pave the way for the US company
"having a very poor track record" to export the gas abroad
despite the energy scarcity in the country.

"On the same day we will stage nationwide protests and
demonstrate in front of deputy commissioners` offices along
with the common people," said Mohammad, a professor of
economics at the state-run Jahangirnagar University.

The strike call came as the main opposition, Bangladesh
Nationalist party (BNP), demanded the publication of the full
text of the agreement so that the people could examine the

"BNP will give its reactions (on the agreement) after
studying the agreement but no agreement should be made against
the national interest," Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, BNP`s acting
secretary general, told reporters.

However, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina slammed the critics
of the deal.

"This group often cries out loud in the name of
protecting the country`s interest....when we`re marching
ahead, they are opposing us," she said at a government
function in the capital yesterday.

Bureau Report

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