Fuel rods fully exposed Japan at nuke power plant

In this image made off Japan's NTV/NNN Japan television footage, smoke ascends from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant's Unit 3 in Okumamachi, Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011. The second hydrogen explosion in three days rocked Japan's stricken nuclear plant Monday, sending a massive column of smoke into the air and wounding 11 workers. (AP Photo/NTV/NNN Japan)

A Japanese utility says fuel rods at a troubled nuclear reactor have been fully exposed.

The exposure happened at Unit 2 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant — the latest reactor to lose its ability to cool down. The other two reactors at the plant are facing a meltdown and authorities are racing to cool them with sea water.

Tokyo Electric Power said Monday sea water is being channeled into Unit 2. It did not know if the rods were covered yet.

Their exposure raises the risk of the reactor overheating, which can lead to meltdown.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

SOMA, Japan (AP) — A Japanese official says fuel rods at a troubled nuclear reactor were temporarily exposed.

The exposure happened at Unit 2 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant — the latest reactor to lose its ability to cool down. The other two reactors at the plant are facing a meltdown and authorities are racing to cool them with sea water.

Fukushima government spokesman Masato Abe said Monday that Unit 2’s rods were briefly exposed. Sea water is being channeled into the reactor to cover the rods again.

Abe could not confirm if the rods were ever totally exposed.

Their exposure raises the risk of the reactor overheating, which can lead to meltdown.

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