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Subject Records Show Confusion in U.S. at Start of Japan’s Atomic Crisis
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Records Show Confusion in U.S. at Start of Japan’s Atomic Crisis
For example, on the second day of the crisis, one official referred to “unconfirmed reports of boiling” in spent fuel pools, but the reports did not say which of the six reactors were involved, a maddening ambiguity for officials who oversaw similar reactors in the United States.

In hindsight, some of the information was simply wrong. John D. Monninger, an engineer at the N.R.C., reported that an explosion at Unit 4 had broken open the spent fuel pool, which had more radioactive materials in it than the Unit 4 reactor, and that “there’s no water in there whatsoever.” He added, “Somebody has talked about dropping sand in there, et cetera.”

The belief that the pool in Unit 4 was dry led the N.R.C. chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, to recommend that Americans be evacuated to a radius of 50 miles — far larger than the area the Japanese government was recommending. But N.R.C. officials said on Tuesday that given the actual releases of radioactive material, that move was sound.

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[link to www.nytimes.com]
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