Nuclear meltdown at Fukushima confirmed, plans to be ‘revised’
Tokyo - Japanese officials have finally admitted what had long been suspected: a nuclear meltdown at the crippled Daiichi facility near Japan has occurred, with a pool of molten fuel discovered at the bottom of its No.1 reactor.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) officials entered the reactor last week for the first time and discovered at least five feet of the nuclear core’s 13-foot-long fuel rods had melted from exposure to the air.
The news comes as the government has repeatedly tried gaining control of the disaster since the earthquake and tsunami struck in mid-March, devastating an entire region of northeast Japan.
TEPCO now faces the distinct possibility that the pool of molten radioactive fuel burned a hole through the containment vessel.
“We will have to revise our plans”, said Junichi Matsumoto, a TEPCO spokesman, according to the Telegraph. “We cannot deny the possibility that a hole in the pressure vessel caused water to leak.”
A plan to flood the reactor core with water to maintain a stable temperature has now been abandoned over fears the action would compound the leak. According to the Telegraph, TEPCO claims there is enough water at the bottom of the containment vessel to keep both melted fuel and what remains of the fuel rods cool.
There is no report on how static water will keep the remainder of those fuel rods cool.
Earlier this week TEPCO stated it had fixed a leak in the No.3 reactor that was allowing radioactive water to flow into the Pacific Ocean. In April, the company faced a similar nightmare when the No.2 reactor was discharging radioactive water into the ocean.
Greenpeace has stated that seaweed collected off the coast of Japan is showing signs of radiation contamination far exceeding allowable limits. As coastal fishermen are set to begin seaweed harvest in the coming weeks, the news is yet another setback, stating
As both TEPCO's sediment samples and our own preliminary research shows, radioactive contamination is accumulating in the marine ecosystem that provides Japan with a quarter of its seafood, yet the authorities are still doing the very little to protect public health. We are calling on the authorities to start comprehensive radiation testing of seaweed along the Fukushima coast.