Originally Posted By: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

Keep this in mind as we look to Japan. A reactor with a better design by GE, a better safety system all around, and "total failure mode" for these plant (a full meltdown and core rupture) would not be as bad as Chernobyl in terms of hard gamma radiation exposure to the environment and Iodine 131 and Cesium contamination.

I wouldn't be so sure considering that the main fuel for the Chernobyl reactor RBMK design used Uranium instead of the reactor at Fukushima nuclear plant No3 used a mixed oxide fuel (MOX) of Uranium and Plutonium (the most toxic substance known to man).

Chernobyl did have Plutonium in its core. It was a breeder reactor designed for Plutonium production. While its initial fuel load out was Uranium, a portion of this Uranium was converted to Plutonium by neutron capture. Any Uranium fueled reactor is going to have Plutonium in it.