To make a safe nuclear power plant, it is important to keep the hazardous radiation inside the reactor. For this purpose, every nuclear power plant has a shielding structure surrounding it called the containment unit, which must retain its integrity even in the worst case scenario.
The containment of this particular reactor type relies on two layers of protection, in contrast with the four layers found in many modern reactors.
The hydrogen explosions blasted away the roof construction of three reactor buildings, which may have been avoided if the buildings had a second steel shielding and concrete dome, as do many other reactors. The main consequence of this is that the fuel pools, which are at the top of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, are now exposed to the open air with the effect that radiation, and radioactive materials in the case of a fire or explosions, can enter the atmosphere much more easily.
As a result of this catastrophic failure, the German government now made the decision to immediately shut down 7 pre-1980 reactors of a similar type which are considered too dangerous.
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