Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Worst fears imagined: Japan's earthquake-hit nuclear plant may be in meltdown, say experts -- radioactive caesium leaks detected

JAPAN'S quake-hit nuclear power plant Fukushima No.1, about 250km north-east of Tokyo, "may be experiencing nuclear meltdown", local media says.

The report via Kyodo News, citing the nation's Nuclear Safety Commission, follows yesterday's devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in the area, with a commission official suggesting that even if there was a meltdown it would not affect humans beyond a 10km radius.

Parts of the reactor's nuclear fuel rods were briefly exposed to the air after cooling water levels dropped through evaporation, and a fire engine was pumping water into the reactor, Jiji news agency reported.

The rods, which create heat through a nuclear reaction, can release radioactivity when exposed to the air. Without water the rods cannot be cooled properly, Fox News reported.

The water levels are recovering, operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), told Jiji. In addition a TEPCO spokesman said that "we believe the reactor is not melting down or cracking. We are trying to raise the water level."

But moments later Kyodo News reported that radioactive caesium had been detected near the Fukushima plant, citing information from the nuclear safety agency.