Japan says there could be breach in reactor vessel and that nuclear fuel could be released

Today’s NYT reports:

Japan Raises Possibility of Breach in Reactor Vessel

TOKYO—Japan’s effort to contain the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant suffered a setback, an official said on Friday, citing evidence that the reactor vessel of the No. 3 unit may have been damaged.

The development, described at a news conference by Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director-general of the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, raises the possibility that radiation from the mox fuel in the reactor—a combination of uranium and plutonium—could be released….

In another development on Friday, the Japanese government said it would help people who wish to leave the area around the crippled plant, a sign that efforts to reassure frightened residents have failed to persuade people to stay.

There is no evacuation order for a zone from 12 to 19 miles around the nuclear plant, the chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, said in a televised news conference, but officials recognize that some people may wish to leave and it will assist them. The government has ordered all people living within about 12 miles of the plant to evacuate, but has only advised those in the outer zone to stay indoors….

But, along with the possibility that the reactor may have been damaged, the article also says this:

Levels of a radioactive isotope found in Tokyo’s water supply fell by more than half on Thursday, testing below the country’s stringent maximum for infants.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 25, 2011 09:48 AM | Send

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