March 12, 2011 |
Attempts to control a nuclear reactor that exploded after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in northern Japan continued Sunday using sea water injections and steam releases to cool the reactor, authorities said. Photos: Scenes from the earthquake Friday's quake and tsunami left the No.1 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Daiichi power plant with a crippled cooling system, causing the reactor temperature and pressure to increase. "We are doing the two things at the same time - venting air out of the reactor and supplying water into the reactor," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said during a Sunday press conference broadcast and streamed live online by NHK. "Radiation released in the process is low enough not to affect people's health," Edano said.
March 12, 2011 |
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 26, 2010 |
When your closest neighbors include Southern California's only nuclear power plant and its largest military base, you hardly even blink when the thunder of high explosives echoes over the hills or sirens wail a nuclear alert drill. Exposure to danger comes with the geography of San Clemente, a prosperous, laid-back Orange County beach town flanked on three sides by steep, brush-covered hillsides, the San Onofre power plant and the Pacific Ocean. Wildfires often break out during military exercises in the brush-covered hills of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton or in coastal canyons that creep down the hillsides toward the ocean.
October 27, 2010 |
Iran on Tuesday began loading nuclear fuel rods into the core of its first nuclear power plant, bringing the facility a step closer to producing electricity, Iranian state television reported. The start of the weeks-long process lends credence to Iranian claims that a high-profile computer virus attack this year did not significantly postpone the launch of the nuclear plant near the southern city of Bushehr. After years of delay, the facility, built in part by Russian engineers, is scheduled to produce electricity early next year, after all 163 of its fuel rods are moved into the reactor core and undergo tests.
September 20, 2010
Nuclear reactors don't just create energy; a few also create medical isotopes vital to medical tests that doctors have come to rely on. The Radiological Society of North America estimates at least 80% of the nearly 20 million nuclear medicine procedures performed in the U.S. each year use technetium-99m, also known as Tc-99. The worldwide radiopharmaceutical shortage, as its called, has affected the ability of doctors to perform cardiac stress tests that use nuclear tracers.
August 21, 2010 |
Engineers began loading fuel rods into a nuclear reactor on Iran's southern coast Saturday, a milestone that puts the long-delayed plant within a few weeks of operation, Iranian state television reported. Against the backdrop of tightened sanctions that are meant to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions, the Russian-built plant has become the center of an international controversy as all sides invest the reactor with a symbolic significance far beyond its ability to produce electricity.
August 17, 2010
A Canadian nuclear reactor that normally supplies about a third of the world's technetium-99m for medical imaging came back online this week after a 15-month shutdown for repairs that severely impaired physicians' ability to perform many needed tests. The situation was made even worse by the shutdown of a second reactor in the Netherlands that also produced significant amounts of the radioisotope. That reactor is expected to reopen next month. The National Research Universal reactor in Chalk River, Canada, produces radioactive molybdenum-99, which has a half-life of only 66 hours and must be shipped immediately to hospitals and dispensing pharmacies throughout North America.
March 13, 2010 |
India signed five deals Friday to purchase more than $7 billion in hardware and expertise from Russia, including an aircraft carrier, a fleet of MIG-29 fighters, defense and space technology and at least 12 civilian nuclear reactors. On the minds of both parties, analysts said, was a nation not present at the signing. "China will be the ghost in the room," wrote analyst C. Raja Mohan in an opinion piece this week in the Indian Express. Having a working aircraft carrier -- India's only carrier, the 50-year-old British-built Viraat, rarely leaves port -- should allow India to expand its presence in the Indian Ocean.
March 11, 2010
Nuclear power's place Re "Nuclear power isn't 'green,' it isn't safe and it isn't cost-effective," Opinion, March 5 Those who profit from nuclear power plants seem to have co-opted part of the media space to continue the falsehoods of "safe, clean" nuclear power. Nuclear power is not safe (ask worried workers at San Onofre) and not clean (when the polluting fossil fuels required for the whole nuclear fuel cycle are considered). It is never cost-effective, as no commercial company will touch a nuclear project without massive government subsidies and government insurance.
March 5, 2010 |
President Obama's announcement that the federal government would guarantee loans for two advanced-design nuclear plants in Georgia was good news. The commitment jump-starts the U.S. nuclear energy industry at a time when we have begun to understand that nuclear energy has a substantial role to play in combating climate change and supplying power. More important for the near term, the administration is putting nuclear energy at the center of its push to revitalize the economy. In his State of the Union address, Obama called for "a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants" to create more "clean-energy jobs."