EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Nuclear Fear In Japan Catastrophe

  • March 13th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

iaea-emergency-centre.jpgDestruction at two nuclear power plants near Sendai, 250 kilometres North of Tokyo, has intensified the danger and suffering in  the wake of Friday’s earthquake and tsunami.

PROCEDURES FOR ATOMIC CRISIS

In Vienna the United Nations nuclear agency, the IAEA, was collaborating in line with standard emergency protocols, with Japanese industry and government authorities, monitoring alarming developments at the two plants.

A statement from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) late on Saturday, in Japan, detailed an explosion and steps for trying to protect the local population:-

fukushima-daiichi.jpg“1340 CET 12 March 2011: Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has informed the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) that there has been an explosion at the Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant [picture, intact], and that they are assessing the condition of the reactor core.

“The explosion was reported to NISA by the plant operator, TEPCO, at 0730 CET. Further details were not immediately available.

“Japanese authorities have extended the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant to a 20-kilometre radius from the previous 10 kilometres.

“At the nearby Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant, the evacuation zone has been extended to a 10-kilometre radius from the previous three kilometres.

“The authorities also say they are making preparations to distribute iodine to residents in the area of both the plants.

“The IAEA has reiterated its offer of technical assistance to Japan, should the government request this.

“The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities, and is in full response mode to monitor the situation closely around the clock as it evolves.”

INTERNATIONAL RELIEF EFFORT

The United Nations has announced that the first wave of international support for Japanese rescue workers, early response search and rescue teams, had been sent from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States, with more coming from Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The huge off-shore earthquake, 8.9 on the Richter scale, struck on Friday afternoon, generating destructive waves along the North-east coast of Honshu, the main island.

Estimates of the number of people dead had run to 1700 by late Saturday; searchers had reported finding hundreds of bodies among the remains of one port city, and also of making 1000 rescues.

Tens of thousands are being reported as missing though authorities say those will include large numbers of persons put out of contact while communications are down.

The Australian government has located over 800 Australians out of 1200 registered with it in Japan, with some reports that that more than 10000 might be in the country.

The European Union announced it was “mobilising all assistance”.

NUCLEAR THREAT

greenpeace-nuke.jpgThe nuclear threat has emerged quickly as the most menacing aspect of the disaster for any longer period of time.

The Amsterdam-based Greenpeace organisation while expressing condolences to sufferers has not held back in this crisis, reiterating its long-maintained position that nuclear industry is not viable, if only because of the potent dangers.

Assessing information being made public about the power stations and reactors in Japan, with the failure of a cooling system and huge explosion at one, its nuclear campaign director, Jan Beranek said:

“Releasing any amount of radiation into the atmosphere risks the health of people in the surrounding area.

“The fact that the Fukushima nuclear power plant is leaking, or has been forced to deliberately release, contaminated gases from the reactor into the atmosphere means that all of the physical protection that was supposed to isolate radioactivity from the environment has failed.

“How many more warnings do people need to get before they understand that nuclear reactors are inherently hazardous?

“We hope that future investigations into the impacts on the nuclear installations, and how they affect the population and surrounding environment will be conducted independently and reported to the public.”

The crisis is being watched closely in Europe where nuclear power is relied on heavily, and untrustingly since the disaster at Chenobyl in Ukraine in 1986.

The largest investment is in France where nuclear is the main source of electricity supply.

Germany has a program for decommissioning its 17 nuclear plants, two having been closed already.

The present government inherited the project for a total closure by 2020, from the previous “Red-Green” coalition, and has since moved to extend that to 2032.

See EUAustralia Online, “Berlin / Munich – Two Cities / Different Crowds”, 19.9.10.

Reference

European Council, Brussels, “Statement of the EC on the earthquake in Japan:, 11.3.11. EUCO 013/11, PRESSE.

AFP, Paris, “Greenpeace: Japan nuke crisis could be ‘devastating’”, 12.3.11.

Greenpeace International, Amsterdam, “Nuclear disaster at Fukushima Japan”, 12.3.11. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/ Amsterdam, 12.3.11.

IAEA, Vienna, “Earthquake and Tsunami Update”, 12.3.11. http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html, (12.3.11).

Sify, Chennai, ANI, “Greenpeace worried about Japan nuke plant collapse impact”, 12.3.11.

Pictures

Emergency centre, Vienna – IAEA
uncoverage.net, not-another-one, IAEA

Leave a Reply