Yuji Okada and Tsuyoshi Inajima
May 25, 2011
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the containment chambers of damaged reactors at its Fukushima nuclear plant were likely breached, identifying additional source of radiation leaks that may exceed Chernobyl.
Computer simulations of the meltdowns of three reactors in March indicates holes formed in chambers, the company known as Tepco said in a report.
The analysis confirms what independent researchers have said occurred after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit the plant. The report to the government raises fresh questions about how Tepco, which took more than two months to acknowledge fuel rods had melted, is handling the crisis, a nuclear researcher said.
“Unfortunately I can’t find any consistency in the report,” Hironobu Unesaki, a nuclear engineering professor at Kyoto University, said by phone. “Tepco hasn’t released sufficient radionuclide analysis of leaked contaminated water. Now they’ve confirmed fuel rods melted, they should also release more data including plutonium and uranium readings.”
Containment chambers surround the reactor vessel, which holds the fuel rods, and are meant to stop radiation and coolant leaks in the case of overheating.