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TEPCO admits complete meltdown of nuclear fuel rods in Fukushima reactor No.1

Tepco Details Nuclear Fuel Damage, WSJ, By MITSURU OBE, 30 Nov 11 TOKYO—The stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant came a lot closer to a full “China Syndrome” meltdown than previous company analyses had indicated, though there is no danger of further damage now, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday.

The nuclear-fuel rods in reactor No. 1 likely melted completely, Tepco and the Japanese government said for the first time—burning a hole through one surrounding vessel and eating through up to three-quarters of the concrete base at the bottom of a second containment vessel meant as a last barrier between the radioactive core and the outside
world.

That brought the fuel closer than previously believed to breaching the
containment vessel and continuing to burn through the ground below—a
catastrophic scenario sometimes described as the “China Syndrome,”
from the fanciful notion, popularized in a U.S. film by the same name,
that in a catastrophic meltdown, molten reactor fuel could sink
through the earth until it reached China.
Earlier, Tepco had said only that it thought unit No. 1’s fuel was
more than half melted, and that some had fallen into the containment
vessel.

The findings are the latest reminder of how dangerous the mid-March
accident at Fukushima Daiichi was and how much remains unknown. They
result from separate Tepco and government analyses of the latest data
on radiation and temperature readings around the reactors, which has
helped Tepco get a better idea of where the fuel is at the three units
whose cores partially melted down….

December 1, 2011 - Posted by | - Fukushima 2011

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