Japan nuclear crisis: Xenon detected at Fukushima plant
Published: 2nd Nov 2011 06:30:36
A radioactive gas has been detected at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the facility's operator says.
Tepco said xenon had been found in reactor two, which was previously thought to be near a stable shutdown.
There has been no increase in temperature or pressure, but the discovery may indicate a problem with the reactor.
Boric acid - used to suppress nuclear reactions - has been injected as a precaution.
Ever since the meltdowns in March triggered by the huge earthquake and tsunami, engineers have been working to bring the Fukushima reactors under control.
The government and Tepco - the Tokyo Electric Power Company - have said they are on track to achieve a stable shutdown by the end of the year.
But now they have found what could be a problem - radioactive xenon gas detected in a filter in reactor two.
Since it has a short half-life, it indicates a possibility of resumed nuclear fission in recent days.
Tepco says the temperature of the reactor, which has been below boiling point, has not increased, indicating any reaction would be small.
It is not ruling out a false reading but boric acid, which suppresses fission, was injected into the reactor overnight.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Japan a reactor has been switched on for the first time since the disaster.
Safety fears mean local authorities have been refusing permission for restarts after routine maintenance.
Dozens of facilities are offline amid concern about electricity shortages.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Japan nuclear crisis: Xenon detected at Fukushima plant [Online] (Updated 2nd Nov 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/198818/Japan-nuclear-crisis-Xenon-detected-at-Fukushima-plant [Accessed 31st Jul 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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