Tokyo Electric Power Company: ‘No Chernobyl is possible’

The Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which operates the six-reactor Daiichi site, said Friday that it had also lost cooling ability at a second reactor there and three units at its nearby Fukushima Daini site.

The government declared state of emergency at all those units.

Prior to the blast, Japanese officials and experts were at pains to say that while there would be radiation leaks, they would be very small and have dismissed suggestions of a repeat of a Chernobyl-type disaster.

In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded and caught fire, sending a cloud of radiation over much of Europe.

“No Chernobyl is possible at a light water reactor. Loss of coolant means a temperature rise, but it also will stop the reaction,” said Naoto Sekimura, a professor at the University of Tokyo.

“Even in the worst-case scenario, that would mean some radioactive leakage and equipment damage, but not an explosion. If venting is done carefully, there will be little leakage. Certainly not beyond the 3-km (1.8-mile) radius.”

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