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Japan: World Watch On Nuclear Damage

  • March 14th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

nuclear-symbol.jpgIn Japan, the desperate moves to avert a nuclear disaster continue, with emergency resources also heavily stressed by the impacts of the initial earthquake and tsunami – the catastrophe named by the Japanese government as the worst endured by the country in over 50 years.

Reverberations are felt in Europe.

WORK ON REACTORS

fukushima-daiichi1.jpgEngineers are working to keep control of cooling of reactor cores, with three facilities badly damaged as a result of the natural disaster, causing urgent concern.

Japanese stations are constructed to specifications for resisting earthquake shocks well beyond the high point of 7 on the Richter scale, though the one that struck on Friday was at the high end for all records kept in the world since 1900, at 8.9.

The following is information released by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna:

“Based on information provided by Japanese authorities, the IAEA can confirm the following information about the status of Units 1, 2 and 3 at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

“Unit 1 is being powered by mobile power generators on site, and work continues to restore power to the plant. There is currently no power via off-site power supply or backup diesel generators being provided to the plant. Seawater and boron are being injected into the reactor vessel to cool the reactor. Due to the explosion on 12 March, the containment building has been lost.

“Unit 2 is being powered by mobile power generators on site, and work continues to restore power to the plant. There is currently neither off-site power supply nor backup diesel generators providing power to the plant. The reactor core is being cooled through reactor core isolation cooling, a procedure used to remove heat from the core. The current reactor water level is lower than normal but remains steady. The containment building is intact at Unit 2.

“Unit 3 does not have off-site power supply nor backup diesel generators providing power to the plant. As the high pressure injection system and other attempts to cool the reactor core have failed, injection of water and boron into the reactor vessel has commenced. Water levels inside the reactor vessel increased steadily for a certain amount of time but readings indicating the water level inside the pressure vessel are no longer showing an increase. The reason behind this is unknown at this point in time. To relieve pressure, venting of the containment started on 13 March at 9:20AM local Japan time. Planning is underway to reduce the concentration of hydrogen inside the containment building. The containment building is intact at Unit 3.

“The IAEA is seeking information about the status of spent fuel at the Daiichi plant.”

NUCLEAR SAFETY ALERTS

nuclear-station-greenpeace.jpgThe nuclear crisis has generated an alert in Europe, most notably in Germany where the Chancellor, Angela Merkel, called in Ministers for urgent talks on the weekend, and ordered a safety review of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants.

The Chancellor called the crisis in Japan, with fears of a cloud of nuclear pollution, a “decisive moment” for the world.

The  drift of radioactive material from the Chernobyl nuclear accident across several countries in 1986 remains fresh in memory in Europe; (parallel experience in Australia was the drift of pollution from French nucelar tests over the Pacific Ocean in the 1970s, effects showing up like contamination of milk in the Atherton Tableland dairying region).

Large street protests have taken place already in Germany in the current political season, in the lead-up to three state elections.

The federal government is under fresh attack for extending the life of the nuclear power network; stations were being phased out in the period leading to 2020, and that was stretched last year to a new date for full decommissioning, 2032.

See EUAustralia Online : “Nuclear fear in Japan catastrophe”, 13.3.11; “Berlin – Munich; two cities different crowds”, 19.9.10.

Reference

IAEA, Vienna,”Japan Earthquake Update (14 March 2011 01:30 CET)”.
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html, (14.3.11).

Bernd Radowitz and Terence Roth /Dow Jones Newswires,”Germany’s Merkel Hit By EU Compromise, Nuclear Power”, Wall Stret Journal, NY, 13.3.11.
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110313-702227.html, (14.3.11).

Quentin Peel, “Germany orders safety review at nuclear plants”, Financial Times, London, 13.3.11.
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/842c725e-4d81-11e0-85e4-00144feab49a.html#axzz1GX72CM51, (14.3.11).

Pictures  Symbols – Greenpeace

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