It’s not looking good…
UPDATE: 9:25 PM Chicago Time – Conflicting reports on Japan’s Fukushima nuclear-power complexes, but Bill Nye, (you know, the science guy) said that if there is Cesium in the air, then there IS a meltdown. Cesium in the air equals a breach of the primary containment vessel where the rods of fuel react. It is looking as if they’ve suffered a catastrophic failure and are trying to save face!
UPDATE: NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 28 minutes ago
(about 2:45 pm PST – Ojoe)
The core of a nuclear reactor damaged by Friday’s massive earthquake has partially melted, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said Saturday, and the company that runs the plant is pouring seawater into the reactor in an attempt to cool it and prevent it from going critical.
Early Sunday, Japan’s nuclear safety agency reported an emergency at a second reactor in the same complex.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that the cooling system malfunctioned at Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant No. 1. The agency said it was informed of the emergency by Tokyo Electric Co., or TEPCO, the utility that runs the plant.
Official: ‘We see the possibility of a meltdown’
A meltdown may be under way at one of Fukushima Daiichi’s nuclear power reactors in northern Japan, an official with Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told CNN Sunday.
“There is a possibility, we see the possibility of a meltdown,” said Toshihiro Bannai, director of the agency’s international affairs office, in a telephone interview from the agency’s headquarters in Tokyo. “At this point, we have still not confirmed that there is an actual meltdown, but there is a possibility.”
Though he said engineers have been unable to get close enough to the core to know what’s going on, he based his conclusion on the fact that they measured radioactive cesium and radioactive iodine in the air Saturday night.
“What we have seen is only the slight indication from a monitoring post of cesium and iodine,” he said. Since then, he said, plant officials have injected sea water and boron into the plant in an effort to cool its nuclear fuel.
This Just In
[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.