Fukushima Thread: March 19, 2011
Posted by Leanan on March 19, 2011 - 11:23am
Tokyo (CNN) -- Japanese authorities took new steps Saturday to tackle the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant but new concerns emerged about the impact that already emitted radioactive materials have had on the food supply.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that abnormally high levels of radiation had been detected in some, but not all tested samples of spinach and milk from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima and Ibaraki.
(Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it restarted the residual-heat removal pump at the No. 5 reactor of its stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, one of the least damaged at the facility.
The utility began cooling the pool in the reactor that contains spent fuel rods, it said in a statement today. Temperatures in the pool had earlier fallen to 67.6 degrees Celsius from 68.8 degrees, Kyodo News reported. Temperatures should be kept below 25 degrees Celsius, according to international guidelines.
TOKYO — Scrambling to corral a widening crisis, engineers linked a power cable to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station early Saturday as they struggled to restart systems designed to prevent overheating and keep radiation from escaping.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the plant, said it hoped to connect the electric cord to the cooling equipment inside the facility later Saturday in an attempt to stabilize the reactors that were damaged by the powerful earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan eight days ago.
E.ON AG, Germany’s largest utility, halted the sixth of seven nuclear power plants Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered closed for safety checks, leaving RWE AG due to shut the last of the seven as early as today.
Ms. Lauvergeon, 51, known as Atomic Anne, is one of the most prominent female executives in Europe, and one of the most independent minded — perhaps too much so for France’s male-dominated elite. She is fighting for her job, and as usual here, the battle is as much personal as professional. At the same time, the nuclear industry she represents is facing its largest challenge since the meltdown at Three Mile Island, and how the unfolding tragedy in Japan will affect her future is anyone’s guess.
The disaster at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant has highlighted the importance of nuclear energy to Japan and the power long wielded by the nuclear sector. But that influence now is sure to wane, to the relief of opponents who have fought for years to check nuclear's rapid growth.
The Post asked energy experts, lawmakers and others how the recent events in Japan would affect the “nuclear renaissance” in the United States. Below, responses from Steven F. Hayward, Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R), Ellen Vancko, Marvin Fertel, Douglas E. Schoen and Frances Beinecke.
Today, activists who figured prominently in the movement’s teach-ins and protest rallies are hoping that Japan’s nuclear crisis will rekindle a protest movement in the United States. Their aim, they say, is not just to block the Obama administration’s push for new nuclear construction, but to convince Americans that existing plants pose dangers.
Victoria, Texas (CNN) -- This small Texas town is half a world away from the nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan.
Nevertheless, the calamity is having a ripple effect.
''This is definitely in the Chernobyl league now. If the reactors go, that's bad, of course. But the real concern at this point is if those … spent-fuel pools catch fire. There are many Chernobyls' worth of radioactive material in there.''
Los Angeles (CNN) -- The cities flattened by last week's earthquake look eerily similar to the decimated buildings Shigeko Sasamori saw after an atomic bomb was dropped on her hometown in 1945.
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. -- Japan's nuclear crisis has transported residents of central Pennsylvania back 32 years, when the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant raised fears that a massive amount of radiation could be released into the atmosphere or the Susquehanna River.
But there are stark differences between the disasters.
If a crisis at a nuclear reactor happened in the U.S., could you be living in a danger zone? In a 10-mile radius, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the air could be unsafe to breathe in the event of a major catastrophe. In 50 miles, food and water supplies may be unsafe.
NHK Feed: Best source for the timely news
All Things Nuclear: Maintained by the Union of Concerned Scientists
JAIF: Japan Atomic Industrial Forum
A Drop of Rain: Archive of useful links
MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub: Information about the incident at the Fukushima Nuclear Plants in Japan, maintained by the students of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT