Russian nuclear body says meltdown at Fukushima possible

Russian state nuclear power corporation Rosatom on Tuesday said the No. 4, 5, and 6 reactors at Japan’s quake-stricken Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant may be facing meltdowns.

Radiation levels have reached harmful levels around the plant after a hydrogen blast rocked reactor No. 2 on Tuesday, following similar explosions at reactors No. 1 and 3.

The other three reactors were shut down for maintenance before Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in the country’s northeast.

Speaking at an emergency government meeting, Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko said he was concerned about reactors No. 4, 5, and 6. A fire broke out at reactor No. 4 Tuesday morning. The temperature in reactors No. 5 and 6 is reported to be rising rapidly.

“The fuel rods are not inside the reactor, they are in the spent rod pool, they are cool but they should also be doused with water,” Kiriyenko said.

“We don’t understand why this hasn’t been done,” he said, adding that this had triggered the fire at reactor No. 4.

“The worst part is that the temperature is rising in neighboring reactors No. 5 and 6,” Kiriyenko said.

The danger zone around the plant was extended to 30 km, and an upsurge in radiation levels forced the evacuation of personnel from the plant’s control room.


NOVO-OGARYOVO, March 15 (RIA Novosti)

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