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article imageDaiichi reactor melting temperature came within hours of tsunami

By Lynn Herrmann     May 15, 2011 in Politics
Tokyo - Japanese officials have given up a latest attempt at stabilizing the No.1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility and records released by TEPCO reveal the reactor's core temperature reached melting point within hours of the tsunami impact.
New information made available (pdf) on Sunday by TEPCO shows the water level for the No.1 reactor at Daiichi began falling immediately after arrival of the tsunami on March 11, dropping below the top of active fuel within three hours of the tsunami event. Within approximately four and a half hours of the tsunami’s impact, reactor water level had dropped below the bottom of active fuel, according to a TEPCO chart.
Consequently, the reactor’s core temperature began increasing as soon as “the reactor water level became lower than top of active fuel, then reached the core melting temperature,” between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on March 11, TEPCO data reveals.
According to a TEPCO report,
Results of the provisional analysis show that the fuel pellets of Unit 1 were melted and fell down to the bottom of RPV at a relatively early stage after the tsunami reached the plant.
The new information, staggering in its impact, will likely dwarf previous reports on the nuclear disaster.
On Sunday, BBC reports
The power plant was badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March.
TEPCO officials have said melting fuel rods had created a hole in the No.1 reactor’s containment chamber, allowing 3,000 tonnes of radiation-contaminated water to escape into the basement of the reactor building, BBC notes.
TEPCO added in its news release on Sunday
regarding the reactor core status of Unit 1, because the fuel has been cooled stably by water injection, we believe that there would not be likely the further situation transition, e.g. to the situation where we need to release a large amount of radioactive materials.
The power company added
we will make effort to have more accurate status of the reactor core through further investigation.
TEPCO added it will conduct similar analyses for Units 2 and 3.
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