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Tepco engineers use concrete to seal leaks  (Source: TEPCO)
The top five feet of the core's 13 ft-long fuel rods had melted down after being exposed to the air

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has announced that the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has suffered a nuclear meltdown.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was first commissioned in 1971 and is located in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan, resulting in the disabling of reactor cooling systems, radiation leaks and an evacuation zone. 

Engineers from Tepco entered the No. 1 reactor for the first time at the end of last week and found that the top five feet of the core's 13 ft-long fuel rods had melted down after being exposed to the air. 

Engineers originally thought only 55 percent of the core was damaged since it was submerged in enough water to keep cool and stable, but after discovering a pool of molten fuel at the bottom of the containment vessel, they now worry that this molten fuel burned a hole at the bottom of the vessel prompting water to leak. 

Tepco recently sealed a leak at the No. 3 reactor after radioactive water had seeped into the ocean. Also, the No. 2 reactor had radioactive water flowing into the ocean in April. According to Greenpeace, "significant amounts" of radioactive material had slipped into the sea. In fact, illegal amounts of iodine and caesium were found in seaweed as far as 40 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. 

In 22 samples of seaweed, ten contained five times the legal limit of iodine 131 and 20 times of caesium 137. This is an issue for several reasons, including the fact that the Japanese household consumes almost 7 lbs of seaweed annually, and fisherman are preparing to harvest this seaweed on May 20. 

Engineers have decided to quit flooding the entire reactor core with water because it might make the leak worse. Currently, there is plenty of water at the bottom of the containment vessel to keep the remaining fuel rods and the melted fuel cool. 

"We will have to revise our plans," said Junichi Matsumoto, Tepco spokesman. "We cannot deny the possibility that a hole in the pressure vessel caused water to leak."

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*Partial* meltdown
By Slyne on 5/13/2011 6:23:26 PM , Rating: 5
Well, this is more a confirmation than a newsflash. I think using the past tense and precising *partial* meltdown would make the article look a little more professional. The possibility of a partial meltdown had been considered already 2 months ago after traces of Cesium were found (

Still, this sucks

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By sr1030nx on 5/13/2011 6:52:51 PM , Rating: 5
I have to agree with you here.
There's too many so-called professionals who exaggerate facts purposely and state their personal opinions as facts.
Not enough journalists (or media companies as a whole) with actual integrity.

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By borismkv on 5/13/2011 7:45:05 PM , Rating: 5
I read a study while I was in college (considering a journalism career) that showed the majority of Journalism students wanted to go into journalism because they felt it would allow them to influence peoples' opinions. I could only think, "Isn't that the exact opposite of what a good journalist does?"

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By dark matter on 5/14/11, Rating: -1
RE: *Partial* meltdown
By FITCamaro on 5/15/2011 5:45:51 PM , Rating: 1
A well put argument.

Most of us don't give a crap about other people's opinions. We just want others to live their lives in a way that doesn't affect us as we try to.

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By SPOOFE on 5/15/2011 11:57:34 PM , Rating: 3
How could you be passionate about anything and NOT want to change peoples minds.

By being passionate about accurate information and the presentation thereof. That's what good journalism is. If you want to change people's minds, you don't want to be a "journalist". You want to be a "marketer".

We all want people to agree with us, or even better, change their opinion to ours.

Incorrect. I find there are few feelings quite as sublime as encountering an argument so well put and so well supported that it makes me abandon my previous position without reservation.

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By FITCamaro on 5/15/2011 5:44:27 PM , Rating: 2
No its the opposite of what a journalist is SUPPOSED to do.

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By Azethoth on 5/15/2011 12:10:48 AM , Rating: 4
Wrong. Meltdown is meltdown. Partial vs Full you can argue over but simply stating meltdown is correct and in no way alarmist.

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By Hoser McMoose on 5/15/2011 9:38:11 PM , Rating: 1
"Partial meltdown", "full meltdown", or whatever other type of "meltdown" you wish to describe, doesn't have any proper meaning. That is why the term is never used in any technical description, it just doesn't accurately describe anything.

It's used in movies and by the media to generically describe any sort of problem with any sort of nuclear equipment that has had any sort of "melting" (for a variety of definitions of "melting").

So really calling it a "partial meltdown" or a "full meltdown" is equally accurate and also equally useless for describing what is actually happening.

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By SPOOFE on 5/16/2011 12:01:15 AM , Rating: 4
That's like saying the term "car crash" is useless, because it can mean anything from a fender-bender all the way up to an 80-car pile-on.

Nope; the melting of nuclear fuel is about the worst thing that can happen in a nuclear reactor. As such, the term "meltdown" has a hell of a useful meaning. It's just not very pleasant.

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By CZroe on 5/13/2011 9:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
I, too, read the headline and started thinking that a real melt down had occurred. I'm not sure, but I think a "melt down" is more than just fuel melting combined with radioactive water leaking. I believe it specifically refers to fuel melting it's way out of the containment vessel entirely, like what happened at Chernobyl after the explosion (fuel now site exposed in a frozen glass-like state below the reactor chamber's original location). It doesn't sound like that happened here at all.

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By Angstromm on 5/14/2011 3:22:18 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, "meltdown" refers to core melt, partial or otherwise. And it's not what would be called a sanctioned term with a clear cut definition used by various nuclear regulatory agencies.

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By Peter898 on 5/14/2011 3:25:49 AM , Rating: 4
No it isn't and no it doesn't, a 'meltdown' is exactly that, the melting of nuclear fuel due to insufficient cooling .
It doesn't have to leave the containment or burn it's way to China (well, in the case of Japan it obviously wouldn't be
China, ignoring the fact that 'China Syndrom' is just a buzz-word, not scientific fact)

That's the generally agreed definition, although none of the International nuclear bodies have a strict definition of the term .
You can read more on Al Gores internet-tubes, that is if you want to sound like you actually know anything about the subject .

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By slickr on 5/14/11, Rating: 0
RE: *Partial* meltdown
By drycrust3 on 5/14/2011 1:12:44 AM , Rating: 2
I think using the past tense and precising *partial* meltdown would make the article look a little more professional.

Agreed. But to be fair to Tiffany, the choice of headline may not have been her choice, that may have been decided by someone else.

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By wysiwyg009 on 5/14/2011 1:34:36 AM , Rating: 1
Someone else whose first name might or might not start with a 'J' and might or might not end in an 'N'... Seriously, Jason's articles are insanely sensationalist...

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By Etsp on 5/14/2011 5:01:23 PM , Rating: 1
Who's Jason Nick?

In any case, Jason tends to apply a pro-nuclear slant to his articles, while Tiffany applies an anti-nuclear slant to hers.

...Anyone know of a good news site that basically says: 'This is the FUD that CNN is spreading, and this is why it's FUD; Here's the FUD that Fox News is spreading, and this is why it's FUD. Here's what is happening without all the sensationalism' ? You'd think given that there is a void of non-biased news sources, that SOMEONE could make that sort of thing popular... :(

RE: *Partial* meltdown
By drycrust3 on 5/14/2011 8:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
Someone else whose first name might or might not start with a 'J' ...

I hope Jason won't be offended by this, but I don't think the person that decided this heading. It doesn't strike me as being his style.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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