– Japan now assumes ‘possibility of a meltdown’ at troubled reactors (Christian Science Monitor)
At a Sunday morning press briefing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said experts were “assuming the possibility of a meltdown” at the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima I plant, about 150 miles north of Tokyo, as well as at its No. 1 reactor.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said an explosion could take place in the building housing the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan.
“There is a possibility that the third reactor may have hydrogen gas that is accumulating in the reactor (that) may potentially cause an explosion,” he said.
The French Embassy urged its citizens Sunday to leave the area around Tokyo — 170 miles (270 kilometers) from Fukushima Dai-ichi — in case the crisis deepened and a “radioactive plume” headed for the area around the capital. The statement acknowledged that the possibility was looking unlikely.
– 140000 evacuated from Japan’s radioactive danger zone (The Australian)
– Fukushima Fallout: Next Few Days Critical (Sky News):
They say advanced Japanese engineering at the 40-year-old facility will avoid a Chernobyl-style disaster, but any radiation leak could have disastrous long-term consequences.
During Friday’s megaquake most of Japan’s nuclear power reactors did shut down as planned, but at Fukushima the system failed – leaving its reactors at risk.
A blast at the plant’s number one reactor destroyed part of the building but did not prompt a major radiation leak.
Experts have warned there could be a second explosion at the plant’s number three reactor.
The threat of further seismic shifts and tsunami is far from over. As rescue teams from more than 70 countries and tens of thousands of Japanese troops descended on the disaster zone, meteorological agency officials warned there was a 70% chance of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake striking the region in the next three days. “There will be many aftershocks in multiple locations. We have to brace ourselves for aftershocks of magnitude 5 or even magnitude 6,” an agency official said.
Here is an expert that has NO inside knowledge, but look what headline Reuters has created:
– Partial nuclear meltdown “no disaster,”: expert (Reuters):
“I think nobody can say at this time whether there is a small melting of any fuel elements or something like that. You have to inspect it afterwards,” he told Reuters by phone.
But a partial meltdown “is not a disaster” and a complete meltdown is not likely, he said, suggesting he believed Japanese authorities were succeeding in cooling down the reactors even though the systems for doing this failed after the quake hit.
“I only see they are trying to cool the reactor, that is the main task, and they are trying to get cooling water from the sea,” Engel said, stressing he did not have first-hand information about events at the Fukushima facility.
“I think (He does not know!) they will be able to manage it … When the (reactor) containment is intact only a small amount of radioactivity can go out, like in Three Mile Island,” he said referring to the 1979 nuclear accident in the United States.