Even as workers race to prevent the radioactive cores of the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan from melting down, concerns are growing that nearby pools holding spent fuel rods could pose an even greater danger. It estimated 100 quick deaths would occur within a range of 500 miles and 138,000 eventual deaths. The study also found that land over 2,170 miles would be contaminated and damages would hit $546 billion. That section of the Brookhaven study focused on boiling water reactors â the kind at the heart of the Japanese crisis. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/world/asia/15fuel.html?partner=rss&emc=rss Radiation level soars after Japan nuke plant fire Japanese officials told the International Atomic Energy Agency that the reactor fire was in a storage pond and that "radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere." Long after the fire was extinguished, a Japanese official said the pool, where used nuclear fuel is kept cool, might be boiling. "We cannot deny the possibility of water boiling" in the pool, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, an official with the economy ministry, which oversees nuclear safety. That reactor, Unit 4, had been shut down before the quake for maintenance.