Japan’s government asked the United Nations atomic agency to provide “expert missions” to help stabilize the nuclear reactors, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement from Vienna.
The cooling system failed at Fukushima Dai-Ichi station’s No. 1 and No. 3 reactors after the March 11 earthquake, and it stopped working March 13 at the No. 2 reactor. Bloomberg reported that operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it cannot rule out that fuel rods are melting at the No. 2 reactor after they became exposed for a second time by a drop in water levels.
Radiation levels reached 3,130 microsieverts an hour at the monitoring site near the gate of the plant as of 9:37 p.m. March 14 local time, Bloomberg reported. The agency said that is twice the previous record. Radiation had retreated to 326.2 microsieverts per hour at 10:35 p.m., Tokyo Electric said.
Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano said “the economic impact will exceed the 20 trillion yen in damage sustained during the Kobe earthquake” of 1995. The government still has 1.3 trillion yen ($15.8 billion) in discretionary funds from this year’s budget that can be allocated for quake relief, he said at a press conference.