Japanese officials say the nuclear fuel rods appear to be melting inside all three of the most troubled nuclear reactors.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Monday: "Although we cannot directly check it, it's highly likely happening."
Some experts would consider that a partial meltdown of the reactor. Others, though, reserve that term for times when nuclear fuel melts through a reactor's innermost chamber but not through the outer containment shell.
In addition to the massive loss of human life, the despair and angst over the missing, the ruinous economic impact, and other freakish natural occurrences, the fear of nuclear radiation is an almost inconceivable addition to Japan's roster of grief and concern. Absolutely heartbreaking.
For an arresting, and truly disturbing, series of before-and-after aerial photos of the devastation, click through.