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Nuclear Power Plants

March 19, 2011 | By Benjamin Haas
China has joined Germany, France, Russia and other nations now pledging to review their atomic energy programs in the aftermath of the nuclear crisis sparked by Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami. FOR THE RECORD: Energy in China: A March 19 Business article about China's nuclear power industry misspelled the name of Yang Fuqiang, senior advisor on climate and energy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, as Yan Fuqiang. ? Premier Wen Jiabao announced this week that China would put a moratorium on construction of new nuclear power plants while it updates safety standards.
March 18, 2011 | By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
A minuscule amount of radiation from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in Japan was detected in Sacramento but at such a low level that it posed no threat to human health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday afternoon. One station in Sacramento detected "minuscule quantities" of a radioactive isotope, xenon-133, that scientists said they believed came from the reactors at the stricken Fukushima plant. Photos: In Japan, life amid crisis But the level detected would result in a "dose rate approximately one-millionth of the dose rate that a person normally receives from rocks, bricks, the sun and other natural sources," according to an EPA statement.
March 17, 2011 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Who are the "Fukushima 50" -- the workers trying to take regain control of Japan's stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant? Twitter messages and blog posts by the workers' families offer an inkling of the "Fukushima 50," so nicknamed because the 180 employees at the site work in 50-person shifts. One of the workers is a veteran power plant worker, a 59-year-old who volunteered to take on the assignment, according to Jiji Press, a Japanese news wire service, quoting a woman who claimed to be his daughter on Twitter.
March 15, 2011 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
The political and environmental shockwaves of the Japanese earthquake reached Europe on Monday as Germany and Switzerland moved to curb their nuclear energy programs, at least temporarily. The Swiss government imposed an immediate freeze on plans to build and replace nuclear power plants until inspectors review safety standards in light of developments in Japan, where last Friday's monster earthquake and ensuing tsunami have put nuclear power stations at risk. Switzerland relies on five reactors for 40% of its energy supply.
March 14, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
Japan's earthquake-stricken nuclear facilities are unlikely to suffer the kind of catastrophic accident that occurred in Chernobyl 25 years ago, the Japanese director-general of the U.N.'s nuclear agency said Monday. The design and structure of Japanese nuclear power plants are different from the Soviet-era facility where an April 26, 1986, explosion blew the roof off the northern Ukrainian complex's No. 4 reactor, unleashing a radiation cloud that swept across Europe and around the world.
March 14, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
The fuel rods at a third nuclear reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have been fully exposed to air for short periods of time and at least partially exposed for more than three hours, allowing them to heat up and sharply raising the risk of a meltdown, according to officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the plant. The cooling problems at reactor No. 2 represent the most serious development in the ongoing problems at the nuclear power plant to date, according to nuclear specialist Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
March 14, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
The threat to the United States of a meltdown at a Japanese nuclear plant is minimal, the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday. Speaking at the White House, Gregory Jaczko said there is "a very low probability" of harmful radiation levels affecting any U.S. territories, and that the government is providing technical assistance to Japanese officials in response to the crisis at Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant. "Right now, based on the information we have, we believe that the steps that the Japanese are taking to respond to this crisis are consistent with the approach that we would use here in the United States," Jaczko said.
March 12, 2011 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
As many as 160 people may have been exposed to radiation after an explosion at a Japanese nuclear power plant after a massive earthquake Friday, an official at the country's nuclear safety agency told Reuters Sunday Tokyo time. Nine people showed signs of possible radiation exposure from the plant, based on information from tests by municipal authorities and other sources, and estimates from authorities suggested the figure could reach 160, the official from Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told Reuters at a news conference.
March 12, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Another nuclear reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 facility in Japan has lost its emergency cooling capacity, according to the Associated Press, bringing to three the number of reactors at that facility to fall prey to Friday's magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami. Added to failure of three reactors at Fukushima No. 2, the count is now six overall. So far, the only reactor that seems to pose an immediate risk of widespread danger is one of the two shut-down reactors at Fukushima No. 1, also known as Fukushima Daiichi, which was disabled by an explosion overnight that destroyed the building housing the reactor and the backup cooling system.
March 12, 2011 | By Mark Magnier, Barbara Demick and Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
Japan's most punishing earthquake on record and the devastating tsunami it triggered plunged the heart of the densely populated island nation into an apocalyptic scene of blazing buildings, cratered highways, waterborne rubble and frenzied efforts to avert radiation leaks at damaged nuclear power plants. Japan Broadcasting Corp. said more than 1,000 people had died, mostly in the northeastern part of the country. The death toll is expected to rise once disaster-response teams reach the hardest-hit areas and assess casualties, the National Police Agency and Defense Ministry said Saturday.The force of the magnitude 8.9 quake, which seismologists said released 1,000 times the energy of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, broke the foundations under homes and buildings and opened chasms in fields and pavement, swallowing cars and shearing off sidewalks and driveways.
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