Experts have warned of a potentially dangerous radiation leak if Japan proceeds with plans to flood a damaged reactor containment vessel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The facility’s operator has admitted uranium fuel rods in the No 1 reactor partially melted after being fully exposed because of the 11 March tsunami.
Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said water levels had fallen to at least one metre below four-metre-long fuel rods inside the reactor core and melted fuel had slumped to the bottom of the reactor’s containment vessel.
The damage is more severe than Tepco had previously reported and is almost certain to frustrate its quest to bring the plant under control within six to nine months. Officials said the leaked fuel was being kept cool and there was no risk of an explosion of the kind that blew the roof off the reactor in March.