March 23, 2011 |
[Update 12:47 a.m.] Tokyo's utility company says black smoke has been seen emerging from Unit 3 of the crippled nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, prompting a new evacuation of the complex. Officials with Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that workers from the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have been temporarily evacuated. _________________ Control room lights were on and electronic thermometers were functioning Wednesday at several of Japan's stricken nuclear reactors, marking small but potentially critical steps toward controlling overheated fuel that has been spewing radiation for more than a week.
March 23, 2011 |
The nuclear crisis at the Daiichi complex in Fukushima, Japan, has turned a spotlight on the severe dangers involved in storing spent nuclear fuel in pools. But the danger is not new. In 2003, I cowrote a report with a group of academics, nuclear industry executives, former government officials and other researchers warning that spent fuel pools at U.S. nuclear power plants were vulnerable. The drainage of a pool might cause a catastrophic radiation fire, we reported, which could render an area uninhabitable greater than that created by the Chernobyl accident (roughly half the size of New Jersey)
March 23, 2011 |
Reporting from Tokyo -- Infants in Tokyo and five surrounding cities should not be allowed to consume tap water, the city's government said Wednesday after elevated levels of radioactive iodine from a crippled nuclear plant were detected at a water treatment plant. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged consumers not to eat a dozen types of contaminated vegetables from the region surrounding the nuclear facility 150 miles northeast of the capital and also expanded a shipment ban. Water tests in Tokyo found levels of radioactive iodine 131 at 210 becquerels per liter Tuesday and 190 becquerels per liter on Wednesday morning, about double the level of 100 becquerels per liter deemed safe for children under the age of 1. A level of 300 becquerels per liter is considered safe for adults.
March 22, 2011 |
The panic buying of salt that swept China last week amid fears of radiation from Japan has been replaced with a new frenzy: how to get a refund. Former hoarders are now lining up at some grocery stores to ask for their money back, especially from shopkeepers who were charging as much as 10 times normal prices for the seasoning, according to Chinese news reports. "I regret it very much. I will never behave this silly anymore," a woman who was denied a refund told the West China City News in Nanjing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 22, 2011 |
State Sen. Sam Blakeslee said Monday that he would try to block Pacific Gas & Electric's licenses to run one of the state's two coastal nuclear power plants unless the utility withdraws its renewal application pending a seismic study of the facility's site. Blakeslee, a San Luis Obispo Republican whose district includes the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, wants to know the potential effect of a recently discovered fault line near there. "I'm concerned mostly about this culture of disregard of risk," said Blakeslee, who has a doctorate in geophysics.
March 21, 2011 |
Although officials of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant appear to have stabilized and that the containment vessels at three reactors had not been seriously breached, smoke was reported rising from two reactors Monday evening. The cause of the smoke was unknown, however, and it did not appear to be associated with a radiation spike. The executive director of the NRC, Bill Borchardt, said Monday that the agency's staff in Japan reported that the three reactors that had shut down following the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake 10 days ago probably have suffered some core damage but do not appear to be leaking significant quantities of radiation.
March 20, 2011 |
On a day police miraculously rescued an elderly woman and her teenage grandson trapped for nine days under rubble, workers at a crippled Japanese nuclear plant said they succeeded in connecting two reactors to the power grid Sunday, raising the possibility it could restore vital cooling systems to the overheated facilities. But those glimmers of progress continued to compete against emerging fears about radiation contamination in Japan's food supplies. A day after officials said they discovered higher-than-normal radioactivity in batches of milk and spinach -- as well as traces of radioactive iodine in tap water in Tokyo and elsewhere -- the Associated Press reported Sunday that Japanese fava beans imported to Taiwan were found to have small amounts of radiation, according to an official of Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council.
March 19, 2011 |
Fighting exhaustion and radiation fears, engineers struggled anew Saturday to complete the crucial task of hooking a crippled nuclear plant to the electricity grid to help cool down damaged reactors. The official count of dead and missing in the quake and tsunami soared above 18,000, making this Japan's worst disaster since World War II. In the earthquake zone, tears trickled down the cheeks of some survivors and rescue workers who observed a solemn moment of silence at 2:46 p.m. Friday, marking a week since the magnitude 9 temblor slammed Japan's northeastern coast.