Japan Still Struggling To Cool Nuclear Reactors At Fukushima

It’s been some time since the nuclear disaster that occurred in the wake of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami has been in the news, but it appears that things still aren’t going well:

An adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan indicated Sunday that a plan to flood and cool the No. 1 reactor’s containment vessel at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant with water will be abandoned as holes have been created by melted nuclear fuel at the bottom of the pressure vessel.

Goshi Hosono, tasked with handling the nuclear crisis, told TV programs, however, that the government will keep intact the ”road map” devised by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co to bring the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors under control within six to nine months.

Additionally, the evacuation zone around the plant has been expanded once again:

Japan has begun evacuating people from outside the official exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

With radiation levels remaining high, small children and pregnant women were the first to be moved with thousands more to be shifted into shelters and temporary housing.

As the evacuation zone widened more details have emerged about the meltdown in Fukushima’s reactor number one, with revelations the fuel rods probably melted in the hours after the magnitude nine earthquake in March – a fact not discovered until last week.

(…)

As these new evacuations began, more news filtered out about the meltdown of fuel rods at Fukushima’s reactor number one.

It appears that the rods melted just hours after the earthquake and tsunami struck two months ago. The melted material then dropped to the bottom of the pressure vessel at the core.

Authorities now believe the fuel rods could have been exposed to the air for as long as 14 hours.

After the operator of the plant, TEPCO, told the Japanese people that things were stabilising at Fukushima, it’s now clear they knew far less about the situation than they were willing to admit.

At this point, it’s rather surprising that the government is still letting the company keep control of the process at the plant considering how badly they’ve handled it so far.

 

FILED UNDER: Asia, Natural Disasters, Quick Takes, World Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Southern Hoosier says:

    The Japanese should have done what the Russians did at Chernobyl, dump a lot of cement on the problem then wait 10,000 years.