May 31, 2011 / 9:18 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Damage to gas cylinder caused bang at Fukushima plant-Tepco

(Recasts, adds fresh comment)

TOKYO, May 31 (Reuters) - Damage to a gas cylinder caused a loud noise outside a reactor building at Japan’s quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as rubble was being cleared away, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said on Tuesday.

There was no change in radiation levels at the plant’s monitoring posts and no one was injured, Tokyo Electric officials told reporters.

“We found out that a heavy machine caught a gas cylinder in the rubble, like a crab uses its claw, and damaged the gas cylinder,” Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto told a news conference.

Clearing rubble is a pressing task for Tepco as it tries to avoid any further spread of radiation, including that from the debris, in its struggle to regain control of the Fukushima plant.

Three of six reactors suffered meltdowns within days after the massive quake and tsunami on March 11 knocked out the power to the plant, triggering the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. (Reporting by Yoko Nishikawa; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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