Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan nuclear meltdown may be underway, CNN reports

Breaking news :

Update : CNN is reporting that spent nuclear fuel rods may have burned in the last disaster to strike the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.

Tokyo (CNN) -- Spent fuel rods containing radioactive material may have burned in Tuesday's fire at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant -- causing a spike in radiation levels, the plant's owner said.

The blaze started Tuesday morning but was later extinguished, Tokyo Electric Power Company said. It was unclear how much radioactive material may have been emitted, or what kind of health threat that could pose.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Tuesday afternoon that radiation readings at the plant's front gate had returned to a level that would not cause "harm to human health."

Japanese officials earlier told the International Atomic Energy Agency that radioactivity was "being released directly into the atmosphere" during the fire, according to a statement from the UN watchdog organization.

Official: ''We see the possibility of a meltdown''

12 March 2011 Update : CNN reports that a nuclear meltdown "may be underway" at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Conflicting reports confuse the real danger that Japan may be facing. An official with Japan's nuclear safety agency announced that a risk of meltdown exists. MIT scientist Jim Walsch said on the CNN news program hosted by Wolf Blitzer that it is too soon to tell if a meltdown is happening. When confronted on live television earlier this evening about the meltdown danger, Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki denied that any meltdown was underway.

Tweet,Twitter,CNN,Japan,nuclear meltdown,FukushimaImage Source : Twitter. Image Date : 12 March 2011 6:08 pm New York Time

"There was a concern about this reactor. We have confirmed that there was a blowup but it was not a blowup of reactor nor container. It was a blowup of the outer building so there was no leakage of the radioactive material," Ambassador Fujisaki told Mr. Blitzer.

Following is the initial CNN breaking news brief :

[5:48 p.m. ET, 7:48 a.m. Tokyo] A meltdown may be under way at one of Fukushima Daiichi's nuclear power reactors, an official with Japan's nuclear and industrial safety agency told CNN Sunday.

A meltdown is a catastrophic failure of the reactor core, with a potential for widespread radiation release. However, Toshiro Bannai, director of the agency's international affairs office, expressed confidence that efforts to control the crisis would prove successful.

Meanwhile, a second reactor at the same facility failed shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said, according to TV Asahi. The power company said it was having difficulty cooling the reactor and may need to release radioactive steam in order to relieve pressure.

A nuclear disaster, indeed, does loom in Japan, as a second nuclear reactor has failed. So far, the most notable official response by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been the expansion of the evacuation zone around Fukushima from 10 to 20 kilometers.

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