– Fukushima No.1 rods “completely melted” (Xinhua)
BEIJING, May 17 (Xinhuanet) — The operator of the Fukushima Nuclear plant, TEPCO, says it’s trying to determine whether the facility was actually damaged by the earthquake on March 11th, rather than the resulting tsunami.
TEPCO also says fuel rods in the facility’s number one reactor have completely melted down.
A spokesman for TEPCO has outlined a new analysis of the crisis.
A review of data suggests the number 1 reactor’s fuel rods were fully exposed within five hours of the quake, causing them to heat rapidly.
By the next morning – just 16 hours later – the rods had largely melted down. If the new data analysis is correct, it means the facility was mainly damaged by the quake itself – NOT the resulting tsunami, as previously thought.
The No. 2 and No. 3 reactors are thought to have gone through a similar process, but with only 30 percent damage to their fuel rods.
On the day the tsunami hit it has been known that there was a meltdown going on:
Listen to the interview with the former editor of the Japan Times Yochi Shimatsu on March 12: