Recently released data from Tokyo Electric Power Company about the Fukushima Dai-Ichi disaster paints a grim picture of a narrowly missed catastrophe.
Global Post reports that Tepco has released information showing that nuclear fuel in its plasma state was within centimeters of escaping its steel outer casing and into the environment. It is believed that most of the fuel inside of reactor number one melted following the March 11th tsunami that had disabled many of the plant’s fail-safe mechanisms such as its cooling systems. Luckily the molten fuel was cooled by the water being pumped into the collapsed reactor but had it not been cooled in time the reactor could have eclipsed Chernobyl and molten fuel would have escaped into the atmosphere and environment. Fukushima’s reactors are in the process of being completely shutdown and more than nine months after the crisis, radiation levels within the plant are too high for workers to enter so the firm relies upon computer modeling to determine the extent of the disaster’s damage. A nuclear plant’s ‘cool shutdown’ phase is when the water used to cool the reactors remains below boiling point and the fuel rods are unable to heat up. Following the Fukushima catastrophe, the Japanese government has undertaken an inspection of all of the country’s 54 nuclear reactors and there is a possible scenario next May that the country may no longer have a single working nuclear reactor after the passing of strict new regulations for the plant’s ability to withstand a nuclear disaster on the scale of the March 11th, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.