Thursday, April 21, 2011

While Offshore Japan continues to Shake, here is a bit of Nuclear News

Earthquakes of up to 6.0 on the Richter scale continue to shake off of Japan’s Honshu island–as Japanese leaders refuse to reduce its future dependence on nuclear power.

According to the IAEA: “Overall, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains very serious, but there are early signs of recovery in some functions, such as electrical power and instrumentation.”

Other news includes:

Japan Considers Banning Residents from Area Near Damaged Nuclear Plant
Japanese authorities are considering banning all residents from entering the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility due to increased fears about radiation exposure. Some 80,000 people live within a 12-mile radius around the plant. Residents were evacuated last month, but many have occasionally returned to their homes to collect belongings and care for their property.

Plans to Build New Nuclear Reactors in Texas Abandoned
The U.S. nuclear power company NRG Energy has abandoned its plans to build two giant new nuclear reactors in southern Texas due to the rising costs of the project. NRG had already spent $331 million on planning and permitting of the nuclear plant expansion.

Meanwhile, here is what NHK reports today, April 21:

“Levels of radioactive water rising despite efforts

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant continues to transfer highly radioactive water near a reactor to a storage facility.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says work has been underway since Tuesday to move 10,000 tons of highly contaminated water accumulated in the turbine building of the Number 2 reactor to an on-site waste processing facility. The water has been pumped into the facility at a rate of 10 tons per hour.

TEPCO says the toxic water level in a tunnel near the turbine building was 2 centimeters lower as of 6 PM on Wednesday. But it says because there was no change in the water level in the basement of the turbine building, the leaking of toxic water into the basement appears to be continuing.

The utility company also says the water level in a tunnel linked to the Number 3 reactor has been rising several centimeters a day for the past week. The water is expected to rise to about one meter below the ground level soon.

The company says water levels are also rising in the Number 5 and 6 turbine buildings.

TEPCO says an estimated 67,500 tons of contaminated water are now in the Number 1, 2 and 3 reactors alone, hampering efforts to restore the reactors’ cooling systems.

The utility says at the Number 1 reactor, some cooling water poured in has likely evaporated.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 06:08 +0900 (JST)

High radioactive levels detected in reactors

Robots have detected high levels of radioactivity inside the reactor buildings of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. The plant operator says the radioactivity must be reduced to allow work inside the buildings to bring the crisis under control.

Tokyo Electric Power Company surveyed the interiors of 3 reactor buildings on Sunday and Monday using robots equipped with dosimeters and cameras.

TEPCO says that over 50 minutes the robots found18.9 millisierverts of radioactivity in reactor Number 1 and 6.46 millisierverts in Number 2. The levels are hazardous to humans even over a short period. Levels of radioactivity were not available in the Number 3 reactor.

Video footage also suggests various difficulties that could hamper operations inside the buildings.

Footage of the Number 3 reactor shows steel plates and other debris scattered on the floor following the hydrogen explosion of March 14th. The doors of the circuit box were open, raising fears that the power system has been damaged.

TEPCO says humidity inside the Number 2 reactor was 94 to 99 percent, fogging up the robot’s camera lens.

The company says the humidity indicates that radioactive steam leaked into the building. It says it will need to install air conditioners to ventilate and clean the air of radioactivity before people can work there.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 06:08 +0900 (JST)

Nearly 28,000 dead and missing in Japan disaster

Nearly 28,000 people are dead or missing in the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

The National Police Agency said on Wednesday that 14,063 people have been confirmed dead, including the victims of aftershocks on April 7th and 11th. About 84 percent of the dead have been identified.

13,691 people are listed as missing, including 210 in Sendai City, the capital of hardest-hit Miyagi Prefecture.

Miyagi suffered the largest number of deaths at 8,530, followed by 4,058 in Iwate and 1,412 in Fukushima prefectures.

The agency said more than 133,000 people are still living in evacuation centers, most of them in the 3 prefectures.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 17:48 +0900 (JST)

Prince and Princess Hitachi visit evacuees

Japan’s Prince and Princess Hitachi have visited quake and tsunami survivors and nuclear plant accident refugees at a facility in Kawasaki, near Tokyo.

The couple on Wednesday visited about 100 people from Fukushima Prefecture at an auditorium where they’re sheltering.

Prince Hitachi, the younger brother of the Emperor, spoke to a man who expressed anxiety about radiation leakage from the troubled plant. The prince said he understood how scared the man was.

Princess Hanako put her hand on the shoulder of a woman to encourage her.

The prince told the evacuees that the couple hopes they will stay well and return to their peaceful lives in their hometowns.

A 66-year-old man said that although he cannot return to his hometown for fear of leaked radiation, he was encouraged by the prince’s words.

For some reason Taipei newspapers are quiet on the nuclear matter in Japan this April 21.

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