TEPCO Admits Fuel Could Be Melting At Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Tokyo Electric admits fuel could be melting at Fukushima nuke plant (Mainichi Daily News)

TEPCO admits fuel could be melting at nuke plant (Japan Today):

An official at Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, admitted Wednesday that fuel of the plant’s No. 1 reactor could be melting.

At a press conference, TEPCO official Junichi Matsumoto said, ‘‘I’m not saying with certainty that (the fuel) has never melted,’’ while noting that the utility has not been able to confirm the condition of the reactor’s core.

Describing the possible meltdown, Matsumoto said it can be compared to a state in which molten fuel accumulates like lava, or a state in which fuel rods get exposed after their tubes were broken. TEPCO considers such states as a meltdown, he said.

Asked whether the fuel at the No. 1 reactor is ‘‘melting’’ or ‘‘being damaged,’’ Matsumoto said TEPCO does not plan to define such conditions in haste.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has already reported its own estimate to the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, saying a serious impairment has occurred after pellets, which constitute nuclear fuel, have melted inside the reactor.

Thursday 21st April, 07:10 AM JST

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