Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Police officers maintain a checkpoint near the Fukushima power plant. (Photo: Warren Antiola/flickr/cc)

Near-Total Meltdown of Fukushima Reactor 2 Confirmed

Researchers say between 70 and 100 percent of fuel inside reactor 2 melted during 2011 disaster

Nadia Prupis

At least 70 percent of nuclear fuel inside one of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant melted down following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, bringing the total of reactors which experienced meltdowns to three, according to a Japanese research team.

In fact, it's possible that 100 percent of the fuel inside reactor 2 may have melted during the disaster, the researchers said over the weekend in Osaka, where they presented the results of their ongoing investigation. The team from Nagoya University and Toshiba Corp. investigated reactor 2 using muons—particles which are deflected by nuclear materials.

The findings, while expected, help move along the decommissioning process, which has been slow due to continued heavy radiation from the reactors. The project is expected to take decades to complete.

Meanwhile, climate groups continue warning of the meltdown's long-term health and environmental impacts, including charges that pro-nuclear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration pushed Fukushima refugees to return to their homes even as radiation in the area remains "so widespread and at such a high level" that it is still unsafe to live in.

In August, Japan restarted a nuclear reactor at the Sendai power plant despite widespread opposition and public safety concerns. Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan publicly protested the move, joining a last-minute rally outside the plant where he warned that Fukushima "exposed the myth of safe and cheap nuclear power, which turned out to be dangerous and expensive."

"Why are we trying to resume nuclear power?" he said.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Ilhan Omar Fends Off Primary Challenger Boosted by Right-Wing PAC Money

"Ilhan Omar has faced some of the ugliest attacks of any elected official and had hundreds of thousands of dollars spent against her," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. "Despite this, she won her primary once again."

Jake Johnson ·


'Let's Send Ron Johnson Packing': Mandela Barnes Wins Wisconsin Senate Primary

"We're going to the Senate to rebuild the middle class," said Barnes. "We're going to protect the right to choose. We're going to fight to make the American Dream an American reality."

Jake Johnson ·


Global Allies Stand With Walden Bello as Social Justice Champion Posts Bail in the Philippines

"Walden Bello's arrest is a violation of his fundamental rights, an affront to the institutions of Philippine democracy, and a threat to free expression everywhere," said the Progressive International council.

Jessica Corbett ·


Team Trump Reportedly 'Bullish' About Exploiting FBI Raid to Win Reelection

One former Trump aide-turned-"Big Lie" detractor said that the Justice Department may have "just handed Trump" the 2024 GOP nomination "or potentially the presidency."

Brett Wilkins ·


Pentagon Contractors in Afghanistan Pocketed $108 Billion Over 20 Years

Military contracting "obscures where and how taxpayer money flows," and "makes it difficult to know how many people are employed, injured, and killed," said the Costs of War Project report's author.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo