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Health Last Updated: Mar 15th, 2011 - 14:12:03

Chernobyl Style Disaster Impossible, But Japanese Face Nuclear Challenges
David Hope
Mar 14, 2011, 10:20

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The Chernobyl disaster is back in mind as the world watches Japan struggle to contain their nuclear power plants - but experts say the two events are not at all alike. Still, some immediate issues remain. Yesterday, a nuclear physicist said that using sea water to cool Japan's damaged nuclear reactors is a desperate measure that will wreck them.

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," James Acton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said: "They started pumping sea water into the core of the first of the reactors. Now you only do that if you basically decided to write off the reactor anyway � "You're only going to do that if you're seriously worried about the possibility of significant core melting.

"There's both significant uncertainty about what's going on at the moment and significant uncertainty about the possible outcomes," he added.

But Acton said a Chernobyl-type catastrophe is unlikely.

"I think that's a very unhelpful thing to come to people's minds. � It's almost inconceivable that we would have an explosion of the reactor vessel itself spewing radiation everywhere."

Ichiro Fujisaki, Japanese ambassador to the United States, said six reactors at Fukushima are damaged and sea water is being used to cool two of them.

He said the explosion was in an outer building, not a reactor nor a container.

Source: UPI

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