Archive for Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan suspends work at stricken nuclear plant; 6.0-magnitude aftershock strikes

March 16, 2011


— Japan suspended operations to keep its stricken nuclear plant from melting down today after surging radiation made it too dangerous to stay.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the workers dousing the reactors in a frantic effort to cool them needed to withdraw.

“The workers cannot carry out even minimal work at the plant now,” Edano said. “Because of the radiation risk we are on standby.”

The nuclear crisis has triggered international alarm and partly overshadowed the human tragedy caused by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami, which pulverized Japan’s northeastern coastline, killing an estimated 10,000 people and severely damaging the nuclear plant.

Since then, authorities have tried frantically to avert an environmental catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex in northeastern Japan, 140 miles north of Tokyo.

Edano said the government expects to ask the U.S. military for help. He did not elaborate. He said the government is still considering whether and how to take up the various offers of help from other countries.

The surge in radiation was apparently the result of a Tuesday fire in the complex’s Unit 4 reactor, according to officials with Japan’s nuclear safety agency. That blast is thought to have damaged the reactor’s suppression chamber, a water-filled pipe outside the nuclear core that is part of the emergency cooling system.

Officials had originally planned use helicopters and fire trucks to spray water in a desperate effort to prevent further radiation leaks and to cool down the reactors.

“It’s not so simple that everything will be resolved by pouring in water. We are trying to avoid creating other problems,” Edano said.

“We are actually supplying water from the ground, but supplying water from above involves pumping lots of water and that involves risk. We also have to consider the safety of the helicopters above,” he said.

A U.S. nuclear expert said he feared the worst.

“It’s more of a surrender,” said David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer who now heads the nuclear safety program for the Union of Concerned Scientists, an activist group. “It’s not like you wait 10 days and the radiation goes away. In that 10 days things are going to get worse.”

“It’s basically a sign that there’s nothing left to do but throw in the towel,” Lochbaum said.

The government has ordered some 140,000 people in the vicinity to stay indoors. A little radiation was also detected in Tokyo, triggering panic buying of food and water.

Meanwhile, a new aftershock of 6.0 magnitude rattled northeast Japan today.

Scores of strong aftershocks have followed the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Friday and caused a devastating tsunami.


KUrolls 6 years ago

-The nuclear crisis has triggered international alarm and partly overshadowed the human tragedy caused by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami, which pulverized Japan’s northeastern coastline, killing an estimated 10,000 people and severely damaging the nuclear plant.-

Death, destruction and total societal mayhem.

Yet no looting. It's comforting to know the Japanese culture is like the New Orleans culture after Katrina.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

The difference is that the Japanese don't check the race and party affiliation of the people in distress before providing aid, like BushCo did.

But I give you credit for creativity in finding a way to put a racist spin on this disaster. Your bona fides for nomination to the Troll Hall of Fame got a big boost from this post.

somedude20 6 years ago

He might, but at least for his sake, he is not you!

yankeevet 6 years ago

Yes; it has been noticed that there is no looting; robbing; etc in Japan during this why are they so well behaved compared too America?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Yet another racist looking for the wrong answers to the wrong questions in the wrong places.

yankeevet 6 years ago

Nothing racists about it; just a simple question...bozo........

yankeevet 6 years ago

No accusations; just a simple question.........

yankeevet 6 years ago

no problem ; not looking for an argument; it was just a question; no offense meant to anyone..

Cait McKnelly 6 years ago

Let's dance around the fact that we're looking at a potential disaster with global ramifications.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

Yeah, and let's dream on that something like that could never happen here.

TheStonesSuck 6 years ago

At this point, I'm expecting Godzilla to emerge at any moment....

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

6 reactors are history according to radio news..... maybe number 7 is on the way.

The Waste Problem

* A typical reactor will generate 20 to 30 tons of high-level nuclear waste annually. There is no known way to safely dispose of this waste, which remains dangerously radioactive for a quarter of a million years.

* The nuclear power industry has amassed hundreds of thousands of tons of "low-level" radioactive waste (or, in industry and regulatory parlance, "slightly radioactive solid materials"), which has created an enormous disposition problem. The industry hopes to absolve itself from liability for this waste through the insane practice of "releasing" it from regulatory control, whereupon it could be sent to recycling facilities and ultimately end up in common consumer products!

* Isolating nuclear waste from people and the environment requires significant energy and resources.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Are you forgetting that attribution thing again, planet-killer merrill? Plagiarism is dumb and irresponsible!!!!!!!!

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Report: U.S. nuke plant problems ignored, including in Vt.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientists said in a report released this week that federal regulators “overlooked or dismissed” serious safety problems in 2010 at U.S. nuclear plants, including at the Vermont Yankee plant near the Massachusetts border.

The report also says there there were 14 “near-misses” at U.S. nuclear plants during 2010 — inspections launched by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in response to “troubling events, safety equipment problems and security shortcomings at nuclear power plants.”

“While none of the safety problems in 2010 caused harm to plant employees or the public, their frequency — more than one per month — is high for a mature industry,” the report states.

Read more: Report: U.S. nuke plant problems ignored, including in Vt. | Boston Business Journal

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

How many threads did you copy/paste this same hoo-haw on today, merrill. Excessive copy/pasting is dumb and irresponsible!!!!!?

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