Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
IIRCC, in the EE Times article linked to by ceebs I read that the Soviets brought in coal miners to dig beneath the Chernobyl plant and install a large, thick concrete "core catcher". If they used that term it might be one of the earliest instance. This is probably infeasible at Fukushima due to the water table from the adjacent ocean.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:43:51 AM EST
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Carrie 4