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Monday
Mar142011

Japan's Nuclear Emergency: Third Fukushima Reactor Failing

Photo by DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- A series of nuclear reactors continue to deteriorate in the wake of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, raising worries of a nuclear meltdown.

After two hydrogen explosions in three days at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, a third reactor has lost its ability to cool. Officials are increasingly concerned about unit 2 at the plant.

The fuel rods on unit 2 were fully exposed for a period of time, a dangerous development in the effort to stop the reactor from melting down.  Workers are frantically pouring sea water over the rods, officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Company said.

"They continue to work hard to raise the water level to cover the fuel.  Let's pray again," Tatsujiro Suzuki, Vice Chairman of Japan's Atomic Energy Commission, posted on Facebook Monday.

The exposure of the fuel rods means that the temperature in the reactor is likely to rise, which will allow it to make steam.  The steam could lead to the creation of hydrogen and cause another explosion, experts said.

While unit 1, the first reactor to explode at the plant, appears to be stable, unit 3, which exploded early Monday morning in Japan, reportedly has a leak in its bottom.

Japanese officials insist that things are under control at the nuclear plant and that radiation levels are safe.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio