According to Japan’s Nuclear Safety Division, cesium and iodine were detected in the area of the damaged cooling unit reactor No.1 in Oguma Cho, Fukushima Prefecture. Cesium and iodine are two by-products of nuclear fission.
If a meltdown of the reactor core is confirmed, it would be the worst-ever nuclear accident in Japan and the first time a meltdown has occurred in the country. If a core meltdown leads to a large-scale release of these radioactive materials many people may be exposed, according to a nuclear expert.
Nuclear authorities earlier warned that the No. 1 reactor “may be experiencing a nuclear meltdown.”
Meanwhile, the plant’s cooling system was damaged in the earthquake yesterday. Reactor No. 2 has potential problems because of rising temperatures. The government has extended the evacuation zone for residents from 3 km to 20 km of the plant.