It is probably not common knowledge that I used to work at a nuclear power plant. This fact is probably scary enough as it is, but trust me when I tell you that the situation in Japan is worse than you think it is.
Any time you hear the words “spent fuel rods” and “uncovered” in the same sentence, as I saw earlier today in a CNN article, then you are dealing with the potential to depopulate LARGE portions of the nearby geography. Dumping sea water onto a nuclear reactor is an act of EXTREME desperation. I am very concerned about this. Not for my OWN safety, but because a lot of people are very close to wishing they had died in the earthquake/tsunami.
ALSO, and this is speculation on my part… it seems to me that the Japanese government is understating the problem. The word “meltdown” had been thrown about entirely to freely without much explanation of what it means. I see scientists on CNN almost 24/7 explaining how earthquakes and tidal waves work… but there is a noticeable lack of folks describing in detail just how screwed the people working in/around those reactors really are. The phrase “walking dead” comes to mind. Let’s hope they get a handle on this thing.