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Two more Fukushima reactors melted down during nuclear crisis

Japanese nuclear officials have now said that three of the plant’s six reactors suffered a meltdown after the plant sustained serious damage in March’s earthquake and tsunami.

6 May 2011 photo of efforts to cool reactor 4 at the Fukushima plant.
6 May 2011 photo of efforts to cool reactor 4 at the Fukushima plant.
Image: TEPCO/Kyodo/AP/PA Images

A GROUP OF experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency has arrived in Japan for its fact-finding mission as Japanese officials admitted today that three of the Fukushima power plant’s six reactors suffered a meltdown after March’s earthquake and tsunami.

The plant’s operators, TEPCO, released new information today suggesting that fuel rods in reactors 2 and 3 suffered a meltdown early on in the crisis, signalling that the situation was far more serious than had been suggested by officials in the first days after the plant was damaged.

Over a week ago, TEPCO confirmed that reactor 1 had suffered a meltdown.

The natural disasters caused significant damage to the plant and allowed some radiation to leak out, sparking an evacuation of the area close to the plant. About 80,000 people who were evacuated have been unable to return home. TEPCO has been heavily criticised for their handling of the situation, particularly for delays in providing information to the public about the ongoing crisis.

The plant is still leaking radiation – at much lower levels than recorded initially – but plant operators are hoping to bring it to a complete shutdown by January.

The IAEA had announced earlier this month that a 20-person panel would travel to Japan for a ten-day visit to assess areas that may require further exploration for safety regulations and to hear about the lessons Japanese officials have learned from the Fukushima crisis.

It said today that the expert panel had arrived in Tokyo and will make a “preliminary assessment of the safety issues” associated with the crisis at the power station.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read: TEPCO chief resigns after Fukushima crisis causes major company losses >

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