Dow Jones: Nuclear fission possibly still occurring inside damaged TEPCO plant in Fukushima

TOKYO (TR) – A self-sustained nuclear reaction may still be taking place at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Dow Jones reported, citing government officials.

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says a survey of one of the reactors found the isotopes Xenon-133 and Xenon-135, both by-products of nuclear fission, according to Dow Jones. The half-life of Xenon-133 is 5 days and Xenon-135 is just 9 hours. If confirmed, scientists say they could only have been released recently, the news service reported.

The amounts of Xenon found so far are too miniscule to signal a major problem at this time and neither poses a risk to public health, Dow Jones said, citing experts. TEPCO had hoped to reach a safer condition known as cold shutdown by the end of the year, Dow Jones reported.

Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi facility suffered damage as result of the March 11, Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Efforts are still underway to halt the leakage of radioactive Cesium-137, which has a half-life of just over 30 years.

Source: Dow Jones

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