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but in July 2016 TEPCO revealed that the ice wall had failed to totally stop groundwater from flowing in and mixing with highly radioactive water inside the wrecked reactor buildings, adding that they are "technically incapable of blocking off groundwater with the frozen wall".In February 2017, TEPCO released images taken inside Reactor 2 by a remote-controlled camera, that show there is a 2-meter (6.5 ft) wide hole in the metal grating under the pressure vessel in the reactor's primary containment vessel, which could have been caused by fuel escaping the pressure vessel, indicating a meltdown/melt-thru had occurred, through this layer of containment.

Image on 16 March 2011 of the four damaged reactor buildings. Hydrogen-air explosions occurred in Unit 1, 3, and 4, causing structural damage.

The maximum cancer mortality and morbidity estimate according to the linear no-threshold theory is 1,500 and 1,800 but with most estimates considerably lower, in the range of a few hundred.

In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that the residents of the area who were evacuated were exposed to low amounts of radiation and that radiation-induced health impacts are likely to be low.

At the time of the Tōhoku earthquake on 11 March 2011, Reactors 4, 5, and 6 were shut down in preparation for re-fueling.

Immediately after the earthquake, the electricity-producing Reactors 1, 2, and 3 automatically shut down their sustained fission reactions by inserting control rods in a legally-mandated safety procedure referred to as SCRAM, which ceases the reactors' normal running conditions.These pumps needed to continuously circulate coolant water through a Generation II reactor for several days to keep the fuel rods from melting, as the fuel rods continued to generate decay heat after the SCRAM event.