Fuel rods at Japanese nuclear reactor fully exposed again

TOKYO (AP) - The crisis continues at a Japanese nuclear plant. A drop in water levels left uranium rods completely exposed today - and although the water was restored, the rods are again exposed after a second episode.

That increases the risk that radiation will spread - and that there may eventually be a meltdown.

A top Japanese official said the fuel rods in all three of the most troubled reactors at the site appeared to be melting.

An explosion earlier today tore through a building housing one of the reactors. But officials say that explosion may have actually reduced pressure that was building inside the reactor. And they are most concerned with the problems at a different reactor, Unit 2. The other two, they say, are "somewhat stabilized."

The troubles at the Fukushima plant are among the serious challenges facing Japan's government in the aftermath of Friday's quake and tsunami. Officials are struggling to get relief to hundreds of thousands of people along the country's northeastern coast, where at least 10,000 people are believed to have died.

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