Numerous press sources are reporting at this hour that Japanese officials fear that a breach has occured in the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiich.
ABC reported within the hour:
A possible breach of the reactor core at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant could lead to further contamination in what would be a major setback to efforts to bring the post-earthquake crisis under control, Japanese officials said today.
The uncertainty led to work being halted again today at the nuclear complex 150 miles northeast of Tokyo, where dozens of people have been working to cool reactors at the overheating plant.
Experts began to suspect a breach when two workers suffered radiation burns yesterday:
The possible breach was suspected when two workers waded into water 10,000 times more radioactive than normal and suffered skin burns, according to the Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency.
“It is possible there may be damage somewhere in the reactor,” spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said, adding that the cause of the burns still remains unclear.
Nishiyama was not yet willing to admit that a breach has occurred:
Nishiyama said there is no data suggesting there were any cracks, and that a leak in the plumbing or the vents could be the cause.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister apologized to the people of a Japan in a press conference, and assessed the situation:
A somber Prime Minister Naoto Kan today called the situation “grave and serious,” adding “we are not in a position to be optimistic.”