Congressman: Reactor Number 2 Has Melted Down

In an interesting “he said, she said” situation, Reuters noted:

The core at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor has melted through the reactor pressure vessel, Democratic Congressman Edward Markey told a hearing on the nuclear disaster on Wednesday.

“I have been informed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the core of Unit Two has gotten so hot that part of it has probably melted through the reactor pressure vessel,” said Markey, a prominent nuclear critic in the House of Representatives.

However, the NRC is denying this. Reuters subsequently reported:

A top official from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Wednesday it was not clear that Japan’s Fukushima No. 2 nuclear reactor has melted through the reactor pressure vessel.

Earlier, Democratic lawmaker Edward Markey told a House of Representatives hearing on the nuclear disaster that the NRC had told him the core had melted through the vessel.

“That’s not clear to us, nor is it clear to us that the reactor has penetrated the vessel,” said Martin Virgilio, deputy executive director for reactor and preparedness programs at the NRC.

Did Markey misunderstand what the NRC was telling him? Or is the NRC covering up the situation by publicly denying what it told Markey in a private briefing?

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  • Howard T. Lewis III

    Three reactors melted down soon after the initial explosions. Markey still is lost.