TOKYO May 24 Tokyo Electric Power Co ,
the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
disabled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, confirmed on
Tuesday that there were meltdowns of fuel rods at three of the
plant's reactors early in the crisis.
It had said earlier this month that fuel rods in the No.1
reactor had melted, but officials of the utility, known as
Tepco, confirmed at a news conference that there were also
meltdowns of fuel rods at the plant's No.2 and No.3 reactors
early in the crisis.
Engineers are battling to plug radiation leaks and bring the
plant northeast of Tokyo under control more than two months
after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and deadly tsunami that
devastated a swathe of Japan's coastline and tipped the economy
The disaster has triggered a drop of more than 80 percent in
Tokyo Electric's share price and forced the company to seek
government aid as it faces compensation liabilities that some
analysts say could top $100 billion.
The Tepco officials said damage to the No.2 reactor fuel
rods began three days after the quake, with much of the fuel
rods eventually melting and collecting at the bottom of the
pressure vessel containing them.
Fuel rods in the No.3 reactor were damaged by the afternoon
of March 13, they said.
They repeated that the tsunami that followed soon after the
quake disabled power to the reactors, knocking out their cooling
(Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Michael Watson)