Kiran Stacey Fears of damage to containment vessel at stricken nuclear plant

I’m not keeping up with minute-by-minute updates from the Japan nuclear crisis for the very good reason that FT readers can access that in Gideon Rachman’s blog. But this one piece of information is important enough to flag up.

The IAEA’s latest report says the containment vessel at unit two of the plant may have been breached. Experts warn that damage to the containment vessel could lead to much more widespread release of radiation. This is the key paragraph:

After explosions at both units 1 and 3, the primary containment vessels of both units are reported to be intact. However, the explosion that occured at 0425 UTC on 14 March at the Fukushima Daiichi unit 2 may have affected the integrity of its primary containment vessel. All three explosions were due to an accumulation of hydrogen gas.

It should also be noted however that in another statement, the IAEA also said that radiation levels had been seen to be falling at the site.