Fuel rods in the No. 1 reactor at Japan`s crippled nuclear power plant may have melted after being fully exposed, the plant`s operator told the Kyodo news agency on Thursday, according to RIA Novosti.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said water levels in the damaged reactor where far lower than was earlier thought.
"Based on the latest data after workers adjusted gauges for measuring the water level at the reactor, water could not be confirmed inside the pressure vessel at a point 5 meters below where the top of the 4-meter-long fuel rods normally are," Kyodo cited the utility as saying.
The fuel rods are now being cooled by water at the bottom of the pressure vessel.
The plant was badly damaged in a powerful earthquake and tsunami that struck of the northeast coast of Japan on March 11. More than 15,000 died in the twin disaster, and some 10,000 are still unaccounted for.