The situation at Fukushima may be worse than thought, and the disaster response plans of U.S. plants are found wanting.
In the days following the disaster at Fukushima, experts believed that getting the situation under control would be a simple matter. The reactor vessels were containing the nuclear fuel, and all that was needed was to pump water into the reactors until power could be restored and the plant’s cooling systems restarted. But it has proven much harder to control the situation than expected. Now, TEPCO, the utility in charge of the plant, says that fuel rods in at least one of the reactors melted and made a hole in the reactor vessel. It could take years to construct a containment wall to make up for the hole.