Bloomberg News

Xenon at Fukushima Isn’t From Critical Reaction, Tepco Says

November 04, 2011

(Updates with Mainichi report in fourth paragraph.)

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the No. 2 reactor at its destroyed Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station isn’t in a critical state after the company detected signs of nuclear fission.

The discovery of xenon, announced yesterday, at the plant was caused by “natural” nuclear fission, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at the company known as Tepco, said today at a press briefing in Tokyo.

The occurrence of the gas, which is associated with nuclear fission, was confirmed yesterday by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency. No increase in radiation was found at the site and the situation is under control, officials said.

Tepco may not be able to achieve its goal of stabilizing Fukushima by the end of this year, the Mainichi newspaper reported today, without citing anybody. The incident won’t affect the schedule, Matsumoto said yesterday.

Eight months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami wrecked the station, causing a loss of cooling and the meltdowns of three reactors, Tepco is trying to prevent further leakage of radiation that has spread across the world.

Fissioning involves the splitting of atoms, which, in the case of certain uranium isotopes, can lead to an uncontrolled reaction and emittance of radiation.

Shares of Tepco declined 2.6 percent to close at 302 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange yesterday. Today is a public holiday in Japan. The shares have fallen 86 percent since the disaster.

--Editors: Aaron Sheldrick, Baldave Singh

To contact the reporters on this story: Takeshi Awaji in ?? at tawaji@bloomberg.net; Aya Takada in Tokyo at atakada2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Aaron Sheldrick at asheldrick@bloomberg.net


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