And the news out of Japan just keeps getting worse. This is just heartbreaking.
Japan’s nuclear crisis verged toward catastrophe on Tuesday, after an explosion at one crippled reactor damaged its crucial steel containment structure and a fire at another reactor spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air, according to official statements and industry executives informed about the developments.
After an emergency cabinet meeting, the Japanese government told people living within 30 kilometers, about 18 miles, of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station to stay indoors, keep their windows closed and stop using air-conditioning. [...]
Mr. Kan said that radiation had spread from the crippled reactors and there was “a very high risk” of further leakages. [...]
The sharp deterioration came after a frantic day and night of rescue efforts focused largely on the No. 2 reactor. There, a malfunctioning valve prevented workers from manually venting the containment vessel to release pressure and allow fresh seawater to be injected into it. That meant that the extraordinary remedy emergency workers had been using to keep the nuclear fuel from overheating no longer worked.
As a result, the nuclear fuel in that reactor was exposed for many hours, increasing the risk of a breach of the container vessel and more dangerous emissions of radioactive particles.
By Tuesday morning, Tokyo Electric Power said that it had fixed the valve and resumed seawater injections, but that possible leaks were detected in the containment vessel that prevented water from fully covering the fuel rods.
Then an explosion hit that reactor. After a series of conflicting reports about what level of damage was inflicted on the reactor after that blast, Mr. Edano said, “There is a very high probability that a portion of the container vessel was damaged.”