Japanese nuclear facility in trouble.
Officials declared a state of emergency today at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant when its cooling system failed to function properly after the nuclear reactor lost power and automatically shut down.
A meltdown could lead to a breach of the reactor's steel containment vessel and allow radiation to escape into an outer, concrete containment building, or even into the environment.
"Up to 100 percent of the volatile radioactive Cesium-137 content of the pools could go up in flames and smoke, to blow downwind over large distances," said Kevin Kamps, a nuclear waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear, which is an advocacy group that opposes nuclear weapons and power.
"Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago."
"It's good they evacuated – let's put it that way," Lyman said. "All indications are that this is a very serious event."