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Potential meltdown at second Japanese reactor

Second Fukushima reactor loses cooling system; fears of meltdown

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The stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, after Friday's earthquake seriously damaged its reactors. (Getty Images)
The stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, after Friday's earthquake seriously damaged its reactors. (Getty Images)

As rescuers struggle to pull survivors from the aftermath of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, concern is now mounting as a second nuclear reactor at the stricken Fukushima plant has lost its cooling system.

The plant’s Tokyo Electric Power has said that radiation levels had risen above permissible limits, and government spokesman Yukio Edano has acknowledged that it was possible a meltdown had occurred at reactor 3, the BBC has reported.

Having declared an atomic emergency, a blast at the plant’s number 1 reactor yesterday saw 170,000 people evacuated from a 20km radius around the power station, with authorities suggesting that radiation was within ‘assumed levels’.

The plant’s failing cooling system is now thought to be behind a potential meltdown at reactor 3, which has seen teams pumping seawater through it in an effort to make sure fuel rods aren’t exposed to the atmosphere. Both reactors have been subject to a vapour release in an attempt to reduce pressure, also releasing radioactive material into the air, and officials have now confirmed that a third reactor has also been vented.

 

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