March 12, 2011 / 10:53 PM / 8 years ago

Japan's TEPCO preparing to release radiation from second reactor

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T) has begun preparation to release radioactive steam from a second reactor at its quake-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, a spokesman said on Sunday.

The TEPCO spokesman said preparation work for the release began at 7:30 a.m. (5:30 p.m. EST).

An official from Japan’s nuclear safety watchdog said earlier on Sunday that it had received a report from Japan’s largest power producer at 5:10 a.m. that the facility’s No. 3 reactor had completely lost its emergency cooling function.

The TEPCO spokesman said the amount of radiation to be released would be small and not of a level that would affect human health.

The No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan had released radiation on Saturday, after a powerful earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan the day before left it with a crippled cooling system and the operator was forced to release pressure that had built up in the reactor.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Risa Maeda; Editing by Ed Klamann

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