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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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So, when are you guys leaving for Japan ?
By Peter898 on 5/14/2011 3:10:07 AM , Rating: 0
I am sure the Japanese can use all the help they can get to clean up this mess, especially since workers can work the plant 20 minutes at the most .
So, when are you going to leave your parents basements
and go help them ? Ore are you all such incredible qualified nuclear experts that your country cant afford to let you leave ?
Anyone care to ingest a gram or two Cesium ?
No, that's what i thought ....

RE: So, when are you guys leaving for Japan ?
By TimboG on 5/15/2011 6:02:24 PM , Rating: 1
I have to agree. Everyone talks about how it won't be dangerous very long but that is not the case. As stated earlier Bikini Atoll is a perfect example. Japan has a large part of it's diet based on seafood. Seafood which has been exposed to EXTREMLY high levels of radiation. This does not include the aquatic plant life which is also a large part of their diet.

It's easy to sit somewhere in a land-locked area eating beef and pork while making the statements that Japan will not be exposed to dangerous levels for an extended period of time.

With as dense a population as Japan has every square meter of ocean that has become radiated is now a threat to their health due to the type of diet.

I also agree that they make it seem "safe" with their postings of how fast the radition will go away but they say that while sitting at a PC thousands of miles away from the affected area. Think it's safe? Move your ass to Japan and eat seafood and kelp!

By smartalco on 5/15/2011 10:32:45 PM , Rating: 1
I'm specifically not moving to Japan for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with radiation. Like not knowing Japanese, for one. There is also the whole 'my entire family is in the US' thing and the 'I don't have that much money' thing.

It is easy to sit at a computer and tell people to move to Japan while you sit there eating your chips.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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