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Nuclear Power Hub



04/19/2007


No Leak Reported as French Nuke Plant Explodes, Carbonises Man

An explosions was reported today at the nuclear waste processing plant at the Marcoule nuclear site near Nimes in the south of France, The Guardian reports:

Marcoule The site produces MOX fuel, which recycles plutonium from nuclear weapons, and is partly used by the French nuclear power company Areva. Part of the process involves firing superheated pellets of plutonium and uranium in an oven to reduce them in size to make them easier to store.

Local newspaper Midi Libre reported that one person had been killed and four others injured, including one seriously, in the explosion at 11.45am (10.45 BST). The papers said the body of one male worker at the plant had been "found carbonised", but it added that there was no evidence that the explosion had "caused any radioactive leak".

The site continues to be under close scrutiny.


Watch: Journalist Takes Riveting Trip Inside Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Evacuation Zone

Dog

Japanese journalist Tetsuo Jimbo drove inside the Fukushima nuclear reactor evacuation zone, an area of frightening desolation, to file a report:

The Japanese government has issued the evacuation order on March 12 for the residents living within the 20 kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Since then, residents have left their homes, and the "no man land" has been out of touch with the rest of the world.

He says that, inside the evacuation zone, homes,building, roads and bridges, which were torn down by Tsunami, are left completely untouched, and the herd of cattle and pet dogs, left behind by the owners, wonders around the town while the radiation level remains far beyond legal limits.

Watch it all, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Journalist Takes Riveting Trip Inside Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Evacuation Zone" »


Experts: Don't Worry About Radiation from Japan Nuke Plant in U.S.

Plume

Experts say the amounts will be minor and well within limits that are safe, but small amounts of radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant currently in crisis in Japan will reach California by tomorrow.

The L.A. Times reports:

A network of sensors in the U.S. and around the world is watching for the first signs of that fallout, though experts said they were confident that the amount of radiation would be well within safe limits.

Atmospheric experts said the material should begin showing up on the West Coast as early as Friday, though it could take up to an additional week for the 5,000-mile trip from Japan to Southern California. Although the organization has told its member countries that the first indication of radiation would hit on Friday, the plume from a North Korean nuclear test in 2006 took about two weeks to travel to North America, U.N. officials said.

Radiation Forecast levels of radiation on March 18, at 2 am (unclear what time zone) are shown in the screencap above.

Video, AFTER THE JUMP...

NYT:

The projection, by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, an arm of the United Nations in Vienna, gives no information about actual radiation levels but only shows how a radioactive plume would probably move and disperse.

The forecast, calculated Tuesday, is based on patterns of Pacific winds at that time and the predicted path is likely to change as weather patterns shift.

Experts assure there is no need to worry in the U.S.

The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory B. Jaczko, said Monday that the plume posed no danger to the United States. “You just aren’t going to have any radiological material that, by the time it traveled those large distances, could present any risk to the American public,” he said in a White House briefing.

Video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Meanwhile, the situation in Japan worsens.

Continue reading "Experts: Don't Worry About Radiation from Japan Nuke Plant in U.S." »


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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