Small fire at Japan nuclear lab; no radiation leak

December 20, 2011

A building housing an experimental nuclear reactor in Japan caught fire Tuesday, but there was no leak of radioactive materials, officials said, amid nervousness over Japan's atomic industry.

The quasi-public Japan Atomic Energy Agency said sound insulation on the ceiling of a building housing a reactor in central Ibaraki prefecture caught fire around 9:30 am (0030 GMT).

Sparks from welding tools ignited the glass wool insulation as a maintenance crew worked to place a covering over the roof, said an agency spokesman.

The reactor has been stopped for routine inspection since February.

Firefighters were at the scene, but the fire died out on its own two hours after starting, the spokesman added.

"There was no change to monitoring posts around the reactor," the spokesman said.

The news came days after Japan announced it had achieved a state of cold shutdown at the crippled Fukushima which had released massive amounts of following the country's March quake and tsunami.

The world's worst in a quarter of a century did not directly claim any lives, but has badly crimped the public's appetite for , the source of around a third of Japan's energy at one time.

Despite last week's declaration, the decommissioning of reactors at Fukushima Daiichi is expected to take another three decades, as is the decontamination of land around the plant that was once home to tens of thousands of people.

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not rated yet Dec 20, 2011
Can we really trust Japan now, since they didn't have a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear reactors (which they did), or that the area around Fukushima was safe (which it wasn't), or that nuclear radiation was at safe levels and under control (which it wasn't, and nuclear-contaminated water leaked into the ocean).

I'm not so sure I believe them anymore... maybe I'm just paranoid...

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