TEPCO officials said the No 3 reactor fuel rods of the power plant started melting on 13 March 2011 while the fuel rods in No 2 reactor started melting three days after the earthquake.

The operator first confirmed meltdowns of fuel rods at the plant’s No 1 reactor, followed by the No 3 reactor and then No 2 on 14 March 2011.

The company believes 35% of the fuel rods of No 2 reactor and 30% of the fuel rods of No 3 were damaged after the cooling systems failed.

The preliminary finding based on the data from the plant was reported to Japan’s nuclear safety agency,

Currently the company is trying to cool the reactors and the fuel rods, as it plans to reach a cold shutdown of the power plant by January.