Japan may move to prevent hydrogen build-up: IAEA

VIENNA Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:44pm EDT

VIENNA (Reuters) - Japanese operators have been considering the removal of panels from the No.5 and No.6 reactors at its damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant to prevent any hydrogen build-up, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) noted that it was a build-up of hydrogen at the plant's 1-3 units that had led to previous explosions at the complex since Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami.

"Units 5 and 6 were shut down at the time of the earthquake ... both reactors are currently loaded with fuel," the Vienna-based agency said in a statement.

As of 0016 GMT (8:16 p.m. EST) on March 15, "plant operators were considering the removal of panels from units 5 and 6 reactor buildings to prevent a possible build-up of hydrogen in the future," it said.

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Matthew Jones)

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