Wednesday, February 22, 2012

U.S. worried about Fukushima meltdown early on: commission transcript

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission released Tuesday some 3,000 pages of transcripts from the days following Japan's tsunami and nuclear disaster last March, showing that U.S. officials were concerned at an early stage about possible meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and their debate over the scope of the evacuation zone.

The documents showed that as early as March 16, five days after the accident, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko projected "a worst scenario" that all three operating reactors at the crippled plant might be experiencing meltdowns.

"The reactors would likely eventually...breach primary containment and have some type of (radioactive) release," he said during a conference call, while adding that "it's difficult to predict the magnitude of that released."

The prediction turned out to be accurate and showed that NRC officials viewed the situation gravely, a stark contrast to the lack of crisis management in the Japanese government which took months before finally acknowledging that there was a meltdown. Read More