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Japan's Nuclear Catastrophe

By March 16, 2011

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Japan nuclear reactor diagram

The world is watching news reports from Japan, awaiting developments at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

Of particular concern are the spent fuel rods, which ordinarily are immersed in pools of water to reduce heat. The pools and containment structures housing the spent fuel rods have been damaged, allowing radioactive steam to escape into the atmosphere.

Read more:

Union of Concerned Scientists: Explanation of reactors' function and current crisis

Nuclear Energy Institute: Tracking the crisis

Japan's woes have the U.S. and the rest of the world considering their own risk and re-examining their commitment to nuclear power.

Quake-prone California questions nuclear safety

Germany decides to close old nuclear plants

Graphic (c) Nuclear Energy Institute

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