"The Telegraph reports today: The nuclear fuel in three of the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant has melted through the base of the pressure vessels and is pooling in the outer containment vessels, according to a report by the Japanese government. The findings of the report, which has been given to the International Atomic Energy Agency, were revealed by the Yomiuri newspaper, which described a "melt-through" as being "far worse than a core meltdown" and "the worst possibility in a nuclear accident."
Other portions of the Telegraph article underplay the severity of the crisis, such as: "The fuel appears to be stable at present as it is being cooled by water pumped into the vessels, although it will complicate the emergency recovery plan put forward by the government." But we now know that this happened at the very beginning of the accident, so I see no particular additional affects on human health, he said.
Alexander Higgins notes: "The Telegraph report once again echoes statement from TEPCO that the fuel at the plant is now being cooled and that plant is stable. However, we have heard the same exact statements from TEPCO day after day for almost three months now. We heard it when there was no meltdown. and an were assured the rods were stable so the risk of meltdown was little to none. The media printed the statements.
Indeed, as NHK reported Saturday: "The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says steam was observed coming out of the floor of the No.1 reactor building, and extremely high radiation was detected in the vicinity. TEPCO said it found that steam was rising from a crevice in the floor, and that extremely high radiation of 3,000 to 4,000 millisieverts per hour was measured around the area. The radiation is believed to be the highest detected in the air at the plant. TEPCO says the steam is likely coming from water at a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius that has accumulated in the basement of the reactor building."
And Japan Times reports today: "The government should consider evacuating children and pregnant women from a wider area around the Fukushima No. 1 power plant because radiation levels remain high even outside the 20-km no-go zone, Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International, said Thursday in Tokyo. Naidoo's team of radiology experts found hot spots that had a maximum hourly reading of 45 microsieverts of radiation alongside a school zone.
During the news conference, Jan Beranek, an expert on radiology from Greenpeace International who joined Naidoo's trip to Fukushima, recommended that the government widen the evacuation zone to at least 60 or 70 km from the power plant. He said there were parks and public spaces where the level of radiation activity hit 9 microsieverts per hour. Even some nursery schools that have already undergone a decontamination process had a relatively high reading of 0.5 microsievert per hour, he said. That would translate into an annual exposure of 5 millisieverts, which was the evacuation threshold for Chernobyl, Beranek said. The government recommends a maximum intake of 1 millisievert a year during normal times, but raises that to 20 millisieverts in times of a nuclear accident.