Japanese officials are hoping to have electricity reconnected to at least two of the crippled nuclear reactors at the Daiichi plant today. In the meantime – efforts are still underway to douse reactor 3 with water to prevent both a meltdown and radioactive waste containing plutonium from escaping into the atmosphere.
Even if electricity is successfully restored – it’s not certain that the crucial cooling pumps that funnel water into each reactor will still work. More smoke was seen billowing out of reactor 2 today – and no one is exactly sure why – and elevated levels of radiation have been detected throughout Japan – including beyond Tokyo – about 150 miles South of the doomsday nuclear plant.
Reactors 1, 2, and 3 are believed to have all experienced partial meltdowns – basically – 3 Three Mile Islands have already taken place at the Daiichi plant. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is describing the events as “grave and serious.” And Gregory Jaczko – the chief of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission warned that it could take weeks to get the plant under control. There are reports that Japan is contemplating a “Chernobyl solution” of burying the entire facility in concrete – which could prevent more radiation from leaking – but would leave a large area of Japan uninhabitable for decades.
These next few days will be crucial in determining the fate of the nuclear plant – the nation of Japan – and the world.