Continued concerns about Fukushima pressure vessels

19 April 2011

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

Experts in Japan have warned that fragments of melted fuel rods could burn through pressure vessels at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The facility in the north of the country was affected by last month's devastating earthquake and crews have been working around the clock to make it secure.

Writing for the Japan Times, Kanako Takahara explained pieces of melted nuclear fuel rods have sunk to the bottom of the plant's reactors and may be at risk of damaging pressure vessels and causing a security risk if there is a disruption to cooling efforts.

According to the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, if enough concentrated heat is generated by these fragments, they could melt through pressure vessels posing a significant environmental and health risk.

Vice-Chairman of the organization, Takashi Sawada, warned it could be two or three months more before the situation is fully under control.

Thousands of people in the vicinity of the nuclear site were evacuated from their homes as the risk escalated and higher levels of radiation were released by the damaged reactors.

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