GWEN IFILL: Do we have any indication of degree of damage that has been done when these rods were uncovered by water?
MILES O'BRIEN: Well, I have talked to quite a few experts today. And what they tell you is that some things have melted. The question is, has the fuel itself melted? Probably the rods, the zirconium, have. As a matter of fact, there's no doubt about that.
But has it reached the point where the fuel begins melting and becomes this molten mass, which creates that scenario we have heard in the movies, the China Syndrome. I don't know what you would call it on this side of the planet, the Cleveland syndrome or something.
Whatever the case may be, in theory, it becomes so hot, that it would melt its way out of this primary containment chamber. We haven't seen that yet, but this is still a very tense time. They're pouring in seawater into these vessels, as best they can, to keep it cool. Now, that means they have written off these plants. You will never be able to use them again. The seawater is modulated with boron to make sure the neurons aren't active.
And that means the plants are a write-off. And the question is can they continue keeping this seawater in at a proper level to keep the temperatures safe?