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Japanese Nuclear Roundup: Explosion Did Not Break Reactor Core

With the situation in Fukushima, Japan evolving rapidly, it’s difficult to keep up the nuclear power plant’s status straight when reports of the system’s cooling arrive simultaneously with video of the plant exploding, but conflicting reports are noting both that the explosion did not occur in the reactor’s core, but that radioactive elements were found outside of it.

Hot Air does a nice job of collecting the most recent relevant updates, and they are not pretty:

  • Yes, a massive explosion was filmed emanating from the power plant. It is unclear what the nature of the explosion is at the moment, but it appears to have destroyed the building housing the reactor (though not its metal encasing within the building).
  • The main mechanism to cool the reactor appears to be dumping seawater into it to cool the metal rods in the core. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano expressed optimism about this measure: “I think we can get this under control” through the addition of the seawater, he announced at a press conference.
  • From the same press conference, Al-Jazeera reports Edano confirming that the explosion did not occur inside the nuclear reactor, although it damaged the building containing it. Therefore, the probability the explosion was of a radioactive nature is less likely.
  • However, Kyodo News is also reporting that cesium, a radioactive element, has been found outside of the reactor. No radioactive materials should be found outside the reactor core (a key mistake in the Chernobyl disaster was that the chief in charge of the plant ignored reports that uranium was found outside of the plant).
  • Meanwhile, in the actual city of Fukushima, the populace within a 12-mile radius has been evacuated due to the possibility of a meltdown.

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