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article imageNo.2 and No. 3 reactor meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima plant

By Lynn Herrmann     May 24, 2011 in Politics
Tokyo - Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility suffered meltdowns at two additional reactors shortly after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast part of the country, the plant’s operator confirmed on Tuesday.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. has announced the No.2 and No.3 reactors suffered meltdowns within days of the devastating tsunami, leaving the facility with an unlikely future as its radiation continues spreading.
Fuel rods at the No.2. reactor began melting three days after the tsunami event and the No.3 reactor’s fuel rods were damaged by the afternoon of March 13, company officials said at a press conference.
Earlier this month TEPCO released data showing the No.1 reactor at Daiichi suffered a meltdown “at a relatively early stage after the tsunami reached the plant.” The announcement came more than two months after the event occurred.
This week’s news adds to misery Japanese citizens are experiencing over the disaster. Already confirmed as a result of the meltdowns are contaminated vegetables, milk, fish and seaweed, all essential parts of the Japanese diet.
TEPCO’s latest news release states it is continuing to conduct “sampling to evaluate the spread of radioactive materials to the ocean,” detected at the Daiichi facility.
The power company also announced it is continuing to spray water onto the spent fuel pool of Daiichi’s No.4 reactor and further water spraying will be conducted there, “if needed.”
Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University said business has returned to normal in Tokyo, despite the disaster which people have grown accustomed to. “It could very well be that Tepco is rushing to conclude that the tsunami is to blame to prevent further questions and give more momentum to the nuclear camp. It's not just Tepco, it's the whole nuclear industry, maybe business circles as a whole. It's highly political,” he said, Reuters reports.
TEPCO’s share price has dropped by more than 80 percent since the disaster began. Some analysts say the company’s liability could top $100 billion.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, speaking in parliament on Monday, said: “I am very sorry that the public is mistrustful of the various disclosures made by the government on the accident,” according to Reuters.
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