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Monday
May162011

TEPCO failed to heed danger warnings about natural disasters

Reuters: A government body conducted analyses on the damage tsunamis of various scale would inflict on a nuclear power plant, according to documents made public yesterday, adding to allegations that Japan and its largest utility failed to heed warnings.

The latest revelation, reported by the Mainichi daily, emerged as the government prepares to help the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) compensate victims of the crisis at the tsunami-crippled nuclear Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

The government and TEPCO have repeatedly described the combination of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the ensuing 15m tsunami as beyond expectations. Read more.

Monday
May162011

No nukes in Germany? No problem!

"The German government is combining its push for renewables with a rapid retreat from its existing nuclear assets", write Arne Jungjohann of the Heinrich Böll  Foundation and Wilson Rockerson, CEO of Mesiter Consultants Group. "Following the Fukushima disaster, the German government announced a three-month shutdown of seven of its seventeen nuclear power plants and a review of its nuclear strategy. No blackout followed and national energy supply has remained stable. Germany, in particular, is pursuing a path forward that represents a significant departure from business-as-usual in the US and other countries. Rather than developing nuclear power, Germany is aggressively pursuing renewable energy in combination with innovative new electricity grid management strategies. Interestingly, Germany used to depend much more on nuclear electricity (~30% of national supply in 1999) than the U.S. currently does (~20%)."

Monday
May162011

Tepco to erect "tent" over melting down reactors

An artist's concept of a canopy that will cover the damaged reactor buildings at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. (Tokyo Electric Power Co.)Asahi reports that Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) will construct steel I beam and plastic "canopies" over the 4 destroyed secondary containment buildings which suffered disastrous hydrogen gas explosions in the first days of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe. How well such "tents" could contain leaking radioactivity -- if at all -- is not clear.

Monday
May162011

Attempt fails to cool Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 reactor due to massive water leakage

Asahi reports that attempts to cool the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 reactor with massive infusions of water -- called "water entombment" -- has failed due to large-scale leakage of the water from the primary containment structure. 3,000 tons of highly radioactively contaminated water has leaked into the reactor building's basement, threatening to overflow into the turbine building and then the ocean, as has happened previously at the Unit 2 and 3 reactors. Installing new cooling systems is very dangerous for workers, as radiation dose rates of up to 200 rem (2,000 millisieverts) per hour have been detected in the building. About 500 rem of exposure will deliver a lethal dose to 50% of people; they will die within 60 days, even with medical intervention.

Sunday
May152011

Tepco: Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 large-scale meltdown occurred just 16 hours after earthquake and tsunami

Voice of America has reported that most of the nuclear fuel in the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 atomic reactor likely melted down on March 12, less than a day after the 9.0 tremor and 45 foot tall tsunami hit. This admission comes just days after Tepco announced that the Unit 1 reactor pressure vessel has actually been breached by the meltdown.