Japanese nuclear engineers are now considering using concrete to cover the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
The move, seen as a last resort to avert a catastrophic radiation release, was also used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl. It comes after authorities raised the alert level to five, just two shy of the maximum.
After meeting the head of the UN’s atomic energy agency, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan admitted he is not optimistic at all about the situation but urged the nation to unite in the face of its “worst crisis.”
Nonetheless, the clean-up operation is continuing along with efforts to restart water pumps needed to cool overheating nuclear fuel rods. Workers are also still spraying water on the No. 3 reactor, the most critical of the plant’s six.
Japan has been criticised for underplaying the severity of the nuclear threat. But it now appears to have been completely overwhelmed by the crisis.