Fukushima | Japan | Natural Disasters | News | Nuclear Power | Tokyo

No-Fly Zone Established Over Damaged Nuke Plant; Crisis Deepens

The situation in Japan continues to deepen as explosions and fire have damaged the Fukushima nuclear reactor perhaps beyond recovery:

Fukushima In a brief morning address to the nation Tokyo time, Prime Minister Naoto Kan pleaded for calm, but warned that radiation had already spread from the crippled reactors and there was “a very high risk” of further leakage.

The sudden turn of events, after an explosion Monday at one reactor and then an early-morning explosion Tuesday at yet another — the third in four days at the plant — already made the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl reactor disaster a quarter century ago.

Most workers have abandoned the plant:

Engineers at the plant, working at tremendous personal risk, on Tuesday continued efforts to cool down the most heavily damaged unit, reactor No. 2, by pumping in seawater. According to government statements, most of the 800 workers at the plant had been withdrawn, leaving 50 or so workers in a desperate effort to keep the cores of three stricken reactors cooled with seawater pumped by firefighting equipment, while crews battled to put out the fire at the No. 4 reactor, which they claimed to have done just after noon on Tuesday.

RIA Novosti reports: "The Japanese Transport Ministry declared a no-fly zone within the range of 30 km from the blast-hit Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant, the Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday. The ban does not include planes and helicopters involved in rescue efforts and delivering aid to quake-hit areas."

Some folks are evacuating Tokyo: "Panic swept Tokyo on Tuesday after a rise in radioactive levels around an earthquake-hit nuclear power plant north of the city, causing some to leave the capital or stock up on food and supplies. Embassies advised staff to leave affected areas, tourists cut short vacations and some multinational companies told staff to move from Tokyo out after low levels of radiation were detected in one of the world's biggest and most densely populated cities."

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington was docked for maintenance after detecting low levels of radioactivity.

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Comments

  1. You really need some physicists and engineers (including medical physicists) to put some perspective on the hype here. Even if this is the worst incident since Chernobyl, it's like comparing a bicycle toppling over to a 747 going down. The radiation levels are very low, and it's not nuclear fuel that's exploding. The vented steam becomes stable isotopes within seconds of emission.

    These reactors, even at the close of their working life have actually performed incredibly well in the face of a millennial event. Even without this, the death rate from other energy sources (comparing both energy outputs, and hours of running time) - coal, oil, even solar is orders of magnitude higher than nuclear. Compare plane crashes which get more news reports, but planes are still fundamentally safer than other transport options.

    Let's not get hysterical about this in an uninformed way like say folks in NOMA et al do over gay issues.

    Posted by: Michael | Mar 15, 2011 7:45:56 AM


  2. @Michael,

    +1

    Nuclear energy has been VERY reliable and safe compared to several main stream alternatives and even compared to so-called 'Green' processes.

    And although there's been some hype on this issue also, the Japanese over-all have handled this situation very well, especially the Japanese people. You can't help but compare this with Katrina. It's an embarrassing comparison. The American federal, state and local governments performance were substandard and many people on the ground, especially in NOLA, acted like uncivilized savages.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 15, 2011 1:20:56 PM


  3. Notice how ALL mainstream media hype have been demonizing nuclear energy since this started? Compare this with anytime a major accident or scandal occurs involving oil, where big oil consumption is always acknowledged as a necessary evil that must continue. Big oil runs the show, and they either/or buy out their alternatives, or demonize them.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 15, 2011 1:26:42 PM


  4. The media is doing a terrible job misreporting this situation and using words that hype fear -- they always do. MIT has a page dedicated to explaining things. In a nutshell, the media makes it sound far worse than it really is.
    http://mitnse.com/

    Posted by: cls | Mar 15, 2011 2:34:29 PM


  5. LOL

    deaths from killer solar cells? the weekly world news wants you 2 to stop quoting their stories

    The radiation levels there are 1 hour = to 1 yr of solar exposure

    That is not safe so stop the BS

    The danger with nuke tech is not necessarily the tech, it is Private business

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/15/956655/-Chernobyl-clean-up-expert-smacks-Japan-and-mocks-IAEA

    private biz run nuke = safety shortcuts to increase profits and clean up mess ups due to trying to protect their biz name and protect profits

    as long as nuke energy is private biz run it will never be safe

    the sole interest of private biz is profits NOT safety


    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Mar 15, 2011 2:41:09 PM


  6. PS

    yet again I will get on the thorium soap box

    GOV run thorium reactors was /is the safest way to go

    China is doing it now and will surpass us in no time

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Mar 15, 2011 2:43:01 PM


  7. I'm also mindful that many of the engineers and other heroic individuals working to solve issues at these stations undoubtedly suffered great personal family losses in the surrounding areas.

    Posted by: Michael | Mar 15, 2011 4:48:11 PM


  8. so michael

    U just endorsed

    UNIONS!

    :-P

    cool, the only other option to counter Big biz cutting corners for profits sake especially with nuke tech - Unions

    "I'm also mindful that many of the engineers and other heroic individuals working to solve issues at these stations undoubtedly suffered great personal family losses in the surrounding areas."

    Bet u didn't realize u would end up at this point with your Repub sounding pro nuke talking points

    unionized engineers with family and friends in the area affected by this
    would have been a wonderful checkes and balance on GE seeking profits and no doubt cutting corners at this nuke site that contributed to the melt down


    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Mar 15, 2011 10:01:49 PM


  9. sorry Tokyo electric power owns the site

    general electric built the reactor and parts

    strong UNIONS of local egniners all along the path to design, building, and maintaining would have been whistle blowers on anyone along the line cutting corners for profits sake

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Mar 15, 2011 10:05:05 PM


  10. PS

    U do understand these magical "engineres" u mention are LABOR

    they might spend most of their working day in front of a desk/drawing board but eventually their hands are getting dirty just like a sewage worker

    LABOR while the boss rakes in the $ and won't be held accountable for all the corners that were most likely cut for profits sake in the design and building of the site

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Mar 15, 2011 10:10:49 PM


  11. @ MSTROZFCKSLV@YAHOO.COM I don't know what fairy-tale world of black-and-white issues you live in, but I'm not an American and don't suffer from a commitment to talking points for any regime.

    So enough of creating dumb straw-men opponents please in the face of enormous tragedy. It's revolting, whatever your politics.

    Posted by: Michael | Mar 16, 2011 6:59:01 AM


  12. Michael what is disgusting is this bit of crazy from you


    ".........even solar is orders of magnitude higher than nuclear............."

    in reference to deaths

    LOL

    hyperbolic disgusting falsehood

    Booga Booga watch out for those killer solar cells

    So please stop with your all of a sudden worrying about people being hurt or dieing from this catastrophe

    your whole original post was soley focused on defending uranium nuclear reactors


    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Mar 16, 2011 10:23:42 AM


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