NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia, March 15 Russia's nuclear
chief warned on Tuesday that all six reactors at a stricken
Japanese nuclear plant could melt down unless the authorities
scrambled to cool down the nuclear fuel rods. [ID:LDE72E0A0]
Japan is grappling with a nuclear disaster after the
quake-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant exploded in the
worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in
Sergei Kiriyenko, who holds sway over most of the former
Soviet Union's nuclear facilities, told Russia's paramount
leader, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, that under the worst case
scenario all six reactors could melt down.
"All six can pose a threat unfortunately," Rosatom chief
Kiriyenko told Putin at a hastily convened meeting at Putin's
Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow.
"But even if there is a meltdown at all six then this will
still not lead to a nuclear explosion," he said.
Kiriyenko added that gas escaping from the damaged reactors
was spewing out radiation and that another risk is that the
water being used for cooling the reactors could contaminate the
Kiriyenko said the information Russia was receiving from
Tokyo was often patchy and out of date but that a group of
Russian nuclear experts had been working on models trying to
predict the worst case scenario in the disaster.
Kiriyenko said a failure by the Japanese authorities to pour
water into the fuel pool of reactor No. 4 had allowed it to
overheat sparking a fire.
"Nearby are reactors No. 5 and No. 6 where... the
temperature is rising... so most likely in the fuel pool," he
Kiriyenko said there was very little chance of an explosion
with the force that could propel radioactive dust up high enough
into the atmosphere to pose a significant risk to Russia, even
if there were strong winds towards Russian territory.
(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya, writing by Alexei Anishchuk)