Four people died and seven were injured by a radioactive steam leak at a Japanese Nuclear plant in Mahima. Officials believe a hole in a pipe was the
source of the leak. The leak was closed and officials said there was no threat to the city's population.
The four dead suffered severe burns, said Takanori Amimoto, at the nearby Fukui state government office. Two workers had critical injuries, while
three were in serious condition and two had minor injuries, a police official said on condition of anonymity.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi promised a thorough investigation of the accident, which follows a string of safety problems and attempted cover-ups
at Japan's nuclear power plants, the source of 30 percent of Japan's electricity.
Worries about the safety of the country's 52 nuclear power plants have surged in recent years. A 1999 radiation leak northeast of Tokyo killed two
workers and exposed hundreds to radiation, and three years later an investigation revealed that Tokyo Electric Power, the world's largest private
utility, systematically lied about cracks in its reactors during the 1980s and 1990s.
Monday's leak was caused by a lack of cooling water in the reactor's turbine, said Kimihito Kawabata, a spokesman for the plant's operator, Kansai
Electric Power. The steam was believed to be about 518 degrees.
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