24 May 2011

More meltdowns confirmed at Fukushima plant

7:55 pm on 24 May 2011

The operator of a stricken Japanese nuclear power plant has confirmed the partial meltdown of two reactors.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has been trying to contain radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi plant crippled by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on 11 March.

The latest announcement means all three reactors with active fuel inside the plant in northeast Japan are believed to have suffered meltdowns, ABC reports.

Tepco announced earlier in May that the No 1 reactor most likely had a fuel meltdown shortly after the disaster.

The company now says a partial meltdown is believed to have happened in the No 2 and No 3 reactors as well and the pressure vessels in the reactors may also be damaged.

UN team to inspect plant

A team of 20 United Nations nuclear inspectors has arrived in Japan to investigate the Fukushima plant.

Nuclear safety is under heavy scrutiny after the disaster undermined confidence in the industry, the BBC reports.

Japan's government has faced criticism at home and from its neighbours over its handling of the crisis.

Chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano has said the team from the International Atomic Energy Agency is being welcomed into the country to demonstrate transparency.

Led by Mike Wakeman, Britain's chief inspector of nuclear installations, the experts from a dozen countries are expected to visit the crippled plant.

They will also meet officials as they compile a report which will be presented to member states of the IAEA in June.