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Japan's TEPCO admits further reactor meltdowns

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TOKYO (AFP) – Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Company said Tuesday it believed most of the fuel had melted at two more reactors at its tsunami-stricken nuclear power plant.

TEPCO had previously said fuel rods inside reactor one had been fully exposed to the air and had mostly melted. It said reactors two and three could be in a similar condition.

"It is highly possible that meltdowns have occurred at reactors two and three," a TEPCO spokesman said as the firm released its latest analysis of data from the Fukushima Daiichi plant after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

"Most of the fuel is believed to have fallen to the bottom (of pressure vessels that contain fuel rods) as has happened in reactor one," he said.

The announcement Tuesday means all three active reactors are believed to have experienced meltdowns but the TEPCO spokesman added: "They are now being cooled and are in stable conditions."

Japan's March 11 disaster left nearly 25,000 people dead or missing. Cooling systems at the Fukushima plant were disabled, leading reactors to overheat, triggering the worst nuclear incident since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

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