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  • A Tepco employee measures radiation as workers construct a wall at Tepco

    A Tepco employee measures radiation as workers construct a wall at Tepco's tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last month. (Photo: Reuters)

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Japan's agriculture ministry concluded in July that 14 rice paddies outside of the power plant's evacuation zone had been contaminated with radioactive material.

The fallout from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan continues to get worse as Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said on Wednesday that it estimates all the fuel rods in the No. 3 reactor melted down.

TEPCO had previously estimated in November 2011 that only about 63 percent of the fuel rods had melted.

According to The Japan News: 

“As the core meltdown is now believed to have started earlier than was previously thought, the amount of melted nuclear fuel that passed into the containment vessel through the pressure vessel is considered to have been greater, making it technically more difficult to extract the melted fuel and dispose of it.”

A report in Bloomberg suggested that TEPCO has fallen behind schedule and will not meet its March 31, 2015 deadline to finish cleaning the toxic waste from the power plant site. 

"We can only say we'll make efforts to achieve that target," said Mayumi Yoshida, a TEPCO spokeswoman.

Fukushima melted down on March 11, 2011 after it was hit by a tsunami caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck 231 miles outside of Tokyo.

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