Update on Japan’s Nuclear Crisis
by George Washington
The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex is getting worse in many ways, but better in some ways. Here’s a quick roundup.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that roughly 70 percent of the core of reactor number 1 suffered severe damage. In other words, it came very close to a total meltdown. But things appear now to be stabilizing:
Mr. Chu, a Nobel laureate in physics, suggested that the worst moments of the crisis appeared to be receding, saying that the best information the United States had received from the Japanese authorities indicated that water was once again covering the cores of the stricken reactors and that pools of spent fuel atop the reactor buildings were “now under control.”
Tepco announced that there is a crack in the concrete pit of reactor number 2 that is leaking radiation into the ocean from a crippled reactor:
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said it had found a crack in the pit at its No.2 reactor in Fukushima, generating readings 1,000 millisieverts of radiation per hour in the air inside the pit.
Reuters noted that workers were attempting to plug the crack with concrete, but were facing challenges:
Public broadcaster NHK said late on Saturday that water was preventing the concrete from hardening and the pit was still leaking.