What are the chances of avoiding a meltdown and the release of radiation further than a 6 mile zone?
Paul? Anyone else?
When an earthquake strikes, the plants automatically shut down, but the radioactive material continues to decay and produce heat. Reactor cooling systems, which rely on electric pumps to circulate water around the nuclear core, are designed to prevent overheating and pressure buildups.
The earthquake in Fukushima caused a power outage and damaged the plant's backup diesel generator, forcing the pumps to run on battery power. Workers have been unable to restore the systems.
Japan's nuclear safety agency said pressure inside the reactor had risen to abnormal levels and radiation levels inside the facility had surged to 1,000 times more than normal.