Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More-than-expected damage found at Japan reactor

One of the reactors at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant has been damaged more severely than originally thought, officials said Thursday - a serious setback for efforts to stabilize the radiation-leaking complex.

Repairs to monitoring equipment revealed the new data, which also showed that the water level in the core of Unit 1 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is much lower than previously thought, leaving the portion of the fuel rods still intact fully exposed. Other fuel has slumped to the bottom of the pressure vessel and is thought to be covered in water.

The findings also indicate a greater-than-expected leak in that vessel. Radioactive water pouring from troubled reactors has pooled around the complex, hindering work to bring the plant under control. (read more)