Tepco to soon inject unit 3 with nitrogen

From the Japan Times Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Saturday it will soon begin injecting nitrogen into reactor 3 at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant to prevent a hydrogen explosion — a sign that the utility could achieve stable cooling of all the crippled reactors by mid-July as initially planned.

The injection of nitrogen into the No. 3 reactor will be carried out as soon as Tepco gets the green light from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and local governments.

Tepco has already began injecting nitrogen into reactors 1 and 2.

The injection of nitrogen into the No. 3 unit is part of what is known as “step one,” which could be achieved by July 17. Tepco began injecting nitrogen in the No. 1 unit in April. This wasn’t possible for unit 3 because excessively high radiation prevented workers from laying the necessary groundwork.

The utility said it can start the injection after connecting hoses to the necessary pipes at the reactor. It found out Friday that the pipes and hoses will be easy to connect and the work should take only a few days.

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