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WORLD
April 12, 2011 | By Kenji Hall and John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
Japanese nuclear regulatory officials Tuesday raised the severity rating at the earthquake- and tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant to the highest level by international standards, equaling the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown in the former Soviet Union. The country's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency announced that because of the amount of radioactive material released from the plant after the magnitude 9 earthquake a month ago, the rating would be changed to level 7, a "major accident" on the International Atomic Energy Agency's scale, up from a level 5, an "accident with wider consequences.
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WORLD
March 23, 2011 | By Julie Makinen and Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
[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.
WORLD
March 25, 2011 | By Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times
As Japan marked two weeks since the giant earthquake and tsunami, the number of people dead or missing grew to more than 27,000, with at least 200,000 others in shelters and radioactivity from a stricken nuclear plant continuing to cast a pall over daily life. Two workers at the hobbled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility were hospitalized for radiation exposure Thursday after stepping into contaminated water during repair operations at reactor No. 3, officials at the nation's nuclear safety agency said.
WORLD
March 27, 2011 | By Julie Makinen and Kenji Hall, Los Angeles Times
For the better part of Sunday, media outlets in Japan and around the world carried scary-sounding news about radiation at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant's No. 2 reactor. In a typical report, Japanese broadcaster NHK said: "Power company says it has detected radioactive materials 10 million times normal levels. " After nightfall came the mea culpa. There was a "mistake in the measurement of the assessment" of radiation in a building near the reactor, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said on its website.
OPINION
April 10, 2011 | Mark Lynas, Mark Lynas is the author of "Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet" and "High Tide: The Truth About Our Climate Crisis." He lives in Oxford, England. He blogs at www.marklynas.org
What a strange turn of events. Instead of uniting the environmental movement in renewed opposition to nuclear power, the Fukushima disaster in Japan has divided it still further. An increasing number of green advocates, including some very prominent voices, have declared their support for nuclear power as a clean energy option, even as radioactive water accumulates and the timeline for cleaning up the contaminated areas extends by decades. Can they be serious? They can. The irony of Fukushima is that in forcing us all to confront our deepest fears about the dangers of nuclear power, we find many of them to be wildly irrational -- based on scare stories propagated through years of unchallenged mythology and the repeated exaggerations of self-proclaimed "experts" in the anti-nuclear movement.
WORLD
August 20, 2011 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
Relations between the United States and Japan, already strained over the delayed relocation of an American military base on Okinawa, received no help this week when a retired U.S. envoy publicly criticized Tokyo's initial response in March to the nation's nuclear crisis. Comments by Kevin Maher, a former director of the State Department's Japan Office, shed light on Washington's mind-set during the early days of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Maher said U.S. officials worried about the lack of leadership shown by Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami led to partial reactor meltdowns at the coastal plant.
SCIENCE
March 21, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
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.
SCIENCE
March 28, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Highly radioactive water is building up in tunnels underneath at least three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, impairing the ability of workers to reestablish power connections at the facility. Officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the facility, also said that tests last week found trace levels of plutonium in soil outside the plant, an indication that the containment vessel of reactor No. 3, the only one that is fueled with plutonium, may have been breached.
SCIENCE
March 13, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Japanese officials have begun pumping seawater into a second nuclear reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant 140 miles north of Tokyo to cool the reactor core in a last-ditch effort to stave off a core meltdown. The action indicates that the reactor's normal backup cooling system has failed and is no longer able to supply fresh water to the core. Officials at Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the plant, have been struggling to keep six shut-down nuclear reactors cooled because seawater from the tsunami that followed Friday's magnitude 9.0 earthquake damaged the diesel generators that power the circulating pumps.
WORLD
March 15, 2011 | By Laura King, Ralph Vartabedian and Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
? Dangerous levels of radiation escaped a quake-stricken nuclear power plant after one reactor's steel containment structure was apparently breached by an explosion, and a different reactor building in the same complex caught fire after another explosion, Japan's leaders told a frightened population. Authorities warned that people within 20 miles of the crippled reactors should stay indoors to avoid being sickened by radiation. FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the first name of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan as Naoko.
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