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Thursday
Apr072011

Fresh quake triggers tsunami warning in Japan

"A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck Japan on Thursday, triggering a tsunami warning for one prefecture.

Workers evacuated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the quake, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. Tokyo Electric said it has communication with the plant and the power is still on. There were no immediate reports of damage, it said." CNN

Thursday
Apr072011

"...part of the Unit 2 core may be out of the reactor pressure vessel..."

A dispute has erupted between top officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and U.S. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), longtime critic of the nuclear power industry and ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Energy and Environment Subcommittee. NASDAQ reports that Timothy Riley, an NRC congressional affairs officer, emailed a Markey staffer that "Based on radiation readings in the drywell and the torus ... the NRC staff speculates that part of the Unit 2 core may be out of the reactor pressure vessel and may be in the lower space of the drywell...". But Martin Virgilio, deputy executive director for reactor and preparedness programs at NRC, told reporters yesterday "That's not in the situation report that we have from the team in Japan...And that [report is] as of this morning." Virgilio continued that Markey "obviously received the information from somebody or some source and from the NRC...So we'll have to sort that out." Virgilio concluded that NRC believes there was significant fuel damage in three reactors, "but we don't believe at this point in time that core has left the vessel." The New York Times has also reported on this subject.

Thursday
Apr072011

TEPCO pumps nitrogen gas into Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 to prevent hydrogen explosion

Reuters reports that Tepco has been pumping gaseous nitrogen into Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 reactor to prevent a repeat of the massive hydrogen detonation over three weeks ago that destroyed the secondary containment building, and may also have damaged other vital safety structures. Meanwhile, the UN Scientific (sic) Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) continues to downplay the health risks associated with the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe's large-scale radioactivity releases into the environment. Asked what health risks he expected from Fukushima, Wolfgang Weiss, chairman of UNSCEAR, said, incredibly: "From what I know now, nothing, because levels are so low." One of UNSCEAR's shameful "tricks" when it comes to dismissing radioactivity's health risks is to ignore internal doses from inhaled or ingested radioactive contaminants, which would deliver the motherlode of health damage after a catastrophe like Fukushima. UNSCEAR has pulled the same trick in the past to cover up the truth about Chernobyl's health impacts.

Thursday
Apr072011

Foreign governments take precautions, while others level criticism, in wake of Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

China is detecting radioactive contamination of its own spinach crops, India has banned Japanese food imports for three months, South Korea is warning children to not go outdoors, and Russia has criticized Japan for its scant information flow and its inadequate emergency response to the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, Reuters reports.

Thursday
Apr072011

"...a huge impact on the ocean."

Reuters reports that Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yukio Edano, has said "If the current situation continues for a long time, accumulating more radioactive substances, it will have a huge impact on the ocean," referring to uncontrolled discharges of highly radioactively contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Japan has called upon Russia to send a liquid radioactive waste processing ship, although its through-put capacity is quite limited, compared to the 11,500 tons of radioactively contaminated water Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) is now intentionally discharging into the ocean, to free up storage space for even more highly radioactively contaminated water inundating the site. Tepco has also claimed to be constructing a "silt curtain" in the ocean, in a desperate bid to block hazardous radioactive contaminants from flowing into the sea and its food chain.