Molten nuclear fuel at Japan’s Fukushima plant might have eaten two thirds of the way through a concrete containment base, its operator said, citing a new simulation of the extent of the March disaster.
Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said their latest calculations showed the fuel inside the No. 1 reactor at the tsunami-hit plant could have melted entirely, dropping through its inner casing and eroding a concrete base.
In the worst-case scenario, the molten fuel could have reached as far as 65 centimetres (2 feet) through the concrete, leaving it only 37 centimetres short of the outer steel casing, the report, released Wednesday, said.
Until now, TEPCO had said some fuel melted through the inner pressure vessel and dropped to the containment vessel, without saying how much and what it did to the concrete, citing a lack of data.
“Almost no fuel remains at its original position,” TEPCO said in the report.
Two other reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant also went into meltdown when the tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the plant.
However, only about 60 percent of their fuel dropped through to the concrete floor and caused less damage, the report projected.
The molten fuel in the three reactors is believed to have stayed cool and stable because water has been injected into the vessels, the utility said.
TEPCO added, however, that it has yet to closely study many areas of the damaged reactors due to high level of radiation and stressed its findings were based on modelling.
The exact position of the fuel believed to have eaten its way through the concrete and to what extent it is being exposed to the cooling water is not known.
“Uncertainly involved in the analysis is significant due to the uncertain nature of the original conditions and data used,” the report said.
“Using (realistically assumed) conditions for the evaluation, the concrete could have been penetrated, but (the fuel) stayed inside the casing,” it said.
Fukushima Daiichi has spewed radioactive materials across eastern Japan since it was inundated by the huge waves of March 11.
The world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 has not directly claimed any lives, but has left tens of thousands of people displaced and rendered tracts of land uninhabitable, possibly for decades.
TEPCO and the Japanese government have pledged to bring all the plant’s reactors to a state of cold shutdown by the end of 2011.
Maddow reveals how Chinese group Falun Gong went from disrupting events to running a shadow campaign for Trump
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Tuesday detailed the remarkable journey of the group Falun Gong shifting from disrupting White House events to dominating the conversation on Facebook.
Maddow hilariously recounted the "major embarrassment" for the George W. Bush White House when a protester interrupted remarks by President of China Hu Jintao.
The protester was credentialed to cover the event for the Epoch Times, which is controlled by Falun Gong.
"Well, NBC News has a scoop out today about that group, about how that paper, the Epoch Times has transformed itself a lot in the Trump era. It’s a real revelation, this reporting from NBC News," Maddow said. "I mean, Epoch Times and its media group, they’ve made themselves into a whole new thing entirely and in a very big way."
Trump cancelled his trip to Denmark — because they won’t sell him Greenland
President Donald Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade on the Kindom of Denmark on Tuesday.
"Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time," Trump Tweeted.
"The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future," Trump added.
Saudi Arabia eases travel restrictions on women
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday began implementing a landmark reform allowing women over the age of 21 to receive passports and travel abroad without permission from a male "guardian", authorities said.
The reform, announced earlier this month, weakens the restrictive guardianship system that has long been a symbol of repression against women.
"The passport department has started receiving applications for women aged 21 and above to issue or renew passports and to travel outside the kingdom without permission," the department said on Twitter.
Women in the kingdom have long required permission from their male "guardians" -- husband, father and other male relatives -- for these tasks, a restriction that drew international censure.