At Least One Japanese Reactor Melted Down; But No Chain Reaction Occurred

TOYKO (HNN) – Toyko Electric Power and NHK (Japan’s official news agency) have now admitted that the Number One reactor at Fukushima melted down, according to Reuters and other international news agencies (Click the YouTube video for the NHK Report.)

Based on TEPCO’s news release Thursday most of the fuel rods are likely to have melted and fallen to the bottom of the reactor. Earlier Thursday, TEPCO found that the coolant water in the reactor is at a level which would completely expose nuclear fuel rods if they were in their normal position. Although the melted fuel has cooled, NHK reported the meltdown created a hole or holes in the bottom of the reactor causing water to leak from the containment vessel.

An European blog quoted a Russian nuclear physicist who is an expert on the types of gases released at the Japanese plant wrote, “the problem is that the reactor uses ‘dirty’ fuel. It is a combination of plutonium and uranium (MOX) . I suspect that the old fuel rods have been spread out due to the explosion and the surrounding area is contaminated with plutonium which means you can never return to this place again. It is like a new Chernobyl.”

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Reactor No.1’s pressure vessel is “holding only half as much water as previously thought, raising questions about where the eleven million liters of water injected into the vessel has gone.” TEPCO acknowledged that the hole at the bottom may be larger than previously considered.

Although the exposed fuel probably melted and slumped to the bottom of the vessel in tiny pellets, TEPCO spokesman, Junichi Matsumoto, told reporters the relatively low temperature readings suggest that the water kept the fuel cool enough so a nuclear chain reaction did not occur. If the worst had occurred, the heat would have burned through all barriers leading to a catastrophic release of radioactive material.



 

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