TEPCO admits full nuclear meltdown and core breach at Fukushima-Daiichi reactor 1

Feature story - May 16, 2011
(Tokyo)– Greenpeace today criticised TEPCO and the Japanese government for continuing to underplay the seriousness of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, after TEPCO yesterday admitted (1) that a partial meltdown of the core of reactor 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant occurred a mere five hours after the tragic March 11 earthquake and tsunami, followed by a full meltdown within 16 hours.

Greenpeace says that TEPCO’s admission – that with
temperatures reaching 2,800°C, melted fuel dropped and accumulated at
the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel, which was  then breached,
causing radiation to leak from the core and to spread via cooling
water to the ground and ocean - clearly shows that there are
significant risks to the marine ecosystem along the Fukushima coast

“That it has taken TEPCO more than two months to confirm that a full
meltdown took place at Fukushima demonstrates the nuclear industry’s
utter failure to deal with the severity of the crisis or the risks
involved in nuclear power,” said Jan Beránek, Greenpeace International
Nuclear Campaign Leader. “TEPCO should have known that water pumped
into reactor vessel 1 would become highly contaminated - it is
appalling that company did not do more to prevent massive volumes of
contaminated water being released into the ocean, spreading long-lived
radioactive contamination along Japan’s East coast.”

“The nuclear industry has claimed situations like Fukushima could not
arise with this type of reactor, due to lessons learned in the past.
It has taken far too long for Japan’s authorities to admit that they
were wrong,” said Beránek. “This has major implications to all
previous assumptions about nuclear safety, and it is clear that the
public should not put their faith in the nuclear industry to protect
their health and safety.”

“TEPCO must immediately make public any other information about the
state of the other reactors at Fukushima.”

No data or analysis has been provided on the meltdowns that have
probably taken place in units 2 and 3. Those two reactors are
significantly larger than unit 1 and contain almost double amount of
nuclear material.

For more on Greenpeace’s work in Fukushima, visit:

Google map of locations and radiation readings: http://bit.ly/gaMGnf

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1) http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/betu11_e/images/110515e10.pdf

2) Greenpeace marine radiation monitoring teams have found high levels
of contamination in seaweed along the Fukushima coast: