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Japan Earthquake: Nuclear Power Plants & Natural Disasters?

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  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
    So one of the first things the prime minister of Japan said in his speech was to reaffirm the safety of their nuclear power plants and that there was no current radiation risk. So does nuclear energy adequately take into account worst case scenarios like this?

    Looking at the news footage it looks like a tsunami could easily devastate a nuclear power plant within its reach. But what about a major earthquake too?

    There are just so many potential bad things that can happen with something like this other than the obvious direct damage we can see in network news footage...
  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
    News reports are still coming in but  this Daily Mail report states that:

    "Japanese authorities will release radioactive vapour into the atmosphere in a bid to prevent a nuclear power plant from exploding after its cooling system failed following today's massive earthquake...The country's nuclear safety agency says pressure inside the reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant has risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal. To reduce the pressure, slightly radioactive vapour will be released."

    "So far officials have said there is no leak of deadly radiation from the crippled facility in Onahama city, about 170 miles north-east of Tokyo in the Fukushima prefecture. But around 2,800 residents within a two-mile radius of the plant have been ordered to evacuate the area."

    Authorities seem to be downplaying the danger, but I wonder if they are just trying to mitigate panic with residents.  Will keep following...


  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
    Here's a report from Kevin Kamps just posted in the Institute for Public Accuracy:

    Threat of Nuclear Disaster in Japan, March 11, 2011

    Kamps is a specialist in nuclear waste at Beyond Nuclear. Last year he was in Japan assessing the state of nuclear facilities there. He said today: “The electrical grid is down. The emergency diesel generators have been damaged. The multi-reactor Fukushima atomic power plant is now relying on battery power, which will only last around eight hours. The danger is, the very thermally hot reactor cores at the plant must be continuously cooled for 24 to 48 hours. Without any electricity, the pumps won’t be able to pump water through the hot reactor cores to cool them. Once electricity is lost, the irradiated nuclear fuel could begin to melt down. If the containment systems fail, a catastrophic radioactivity release to the environment could occur.

    “In addition to the reactor cores, the storage pool for highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel is also at risk. The pool cooling water must be continuously circulated. Without circulation, the still thermally hot irradiated nuclear fuel in the storage pools will begin to boil off the cooling water. Within a day or two, the pool’s water could completely boil away. Without cooling water, the irradiated nuclear fuel could spontaneously combust in an exothermic reaction. Since the storage pools are not located within containment, a catastrophic radioactivity release to the environment could occur. Up to 100 percent of the volatile radioactive Cesium-137 content of the pools could go up in flames and smoke, to blow downwind over large distances. Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago.”

    It doesn't look good from these reports...