The incident is both worse and better than feared / reported.
How can that be?
Now that the plant operators have power and can get to the remote sensor data they could not during the height of the crises, they have modeled the incident for Fukushima 1 based on that information.
The bad? It looks as if Fukushima 1 lost all cooling immediately after the tsunami, and that within about 16 hours the core was completed uncovered with water and a full on meltdown occured. It’s also likely that primary (fuel pellet containment), secondary (fuel rod containment) and tertiary (reactor pressure vessel containment) were all breached.
The good? Quartiary containment (the dry well beneath the reactor) did NOT fail, and the release of radioactive material appears to be a fraction of what it was at Chernobyl, with most of the material from Fukushima finding its way to the Sea, which has diluted it such that its not really an issue.
The better news remains that while several drowned at the plant due to the tsunami, and one other died of a heart attack, no one has taken a life threatening (or even health averse) dosage of radiation to date, and the odds are that will continue to hold true.
What remains now is a nasty and prolonged cleanup.
Update: Continuous radiation exposure measurements of a businessman traveling to the Fukushima area and returning home. Hat Tip: Instapundit.