18 Mar '11, 9pm

Next few days vital in Japan's nuclear crisis: experts

PARIS - European experts monitoring the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis in Japan said on Friday that this weekend may determine the course of what is already one of the worst accidents in nuclear history. In an operation framed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as "a race against time", engineers are struggling desperately to restore electrical power to the crippled plant's water pumps. They have to cool three reactors whose fuel has already partially melted and cover spent fuel rods in tanks where water has slumped to alarmingly low levels. Their task is laden with radiological danger. A full meltdown could cause molten radioactive slag to burn through the steel vessels surrounding the reactors, while fuel rods exposed in the tanks could release their radiation directly into the sky, as buildings have been damaged by blasts. "Clearly we are at a critic...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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