The story of the three quake- and tsunami-hit reactors at Japan’s Fukushima plant continues, with indications that one of the three worst-hit reactors has sustained further damage. A fire also broke out at another reactor, shut down at the time of the quake and not previously thought to be a problem, but this has now been put out. None of this suggests that the reactors’ crucial containment vessels could be breached, however.
Japan’s nuclear powerplants have performed magnificently in the face of a disaster hugely greater than they were designed to withstand, remaining entirely safe throughout and sustaining only minor damage.
Japan is facing the world’s biggest nuclear crisis for decades as engineers struggle to regain control of the Fukushima plant following another explosion and a fire that caused a spike in radiation to harmful levels.
Amid growing fears that the situation is heading for catastrophe, 70 technicians are still battling to cool reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi facility but non-essential personnel have been ordered to leave and the Kyodo news agency reported that radiation levels have become too high for staff to remain in control rooms. The government has already called in international help in tackling the spiralling crisis.
Dangerous levels of radiation began leaking from a crippled nuclear plant Tuesday, forcing Japan to order 140,000 people to stay indoors. Japan’s prime minister also warned that more leaks could occur.
In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average is down 240 points, or 2 percent, to 11,752 in early trading.
Ahead of the opening bell, First Solar, a strong gainer yesterday, is indicated sharply higher. JA Solar, Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Sunpower Corp., Canadian Solar, LDK Solar and Suntech Power are all indicated higher.
Late yesterday, Morgan Stanley cut its price target for JA Solar and Canadian Solar and It raised its target for LDK Solar. Earlier Monday, Piper Jaffray warned that solar companies may suffer because of the Japan disaster and downgraded JA Solar, Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Sunpower and Suntech. It seems that market has its own ideas about these stocks.
In Europe, alternative energy stocks, including solar, also are trading higher.
After Japan’s earthquake and tsunami led to a second nuclear reactor explosion, tests showed low levels of radioactivity on 17 U.S. Navy helicopter crew members after they returned to the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan.
“They probably had particle radiation from the plume that’s coming from the reactors and typically by movement that going away moving the aircraft through the air will move the large particles,” says Bill Caton from the Marine Corps Logistics Base who is an expert in explosive matter.
The nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan is continuing to deteriorate. Multiple explosions have blown roofs and outer walls off reactor buildings, and a dire struggle is under way to prevent the worst.
For several days, authorities have attempted to reassure the public. Now, they are pleading for help.
To get independent answers about the risks faced by people, GlobalPost turned to Arnold Gundersen, a 39-year veteran of the nuclear industry. Now chief engineer at Fairwinds Associates, he has worked as a nuclear plant operator and he served as an expert witness in the investigation into the Three Mile Island accident.
The Fukushima Daiichi complex was due to be decommissioned in February but was given a new 10-year lease of life. -msnbc
From TEPCO, through Edano: Daiichi plant reactor No.1: water is being pumped, pressure is stable. No.2: water is being pumped, condition unknown. No.3: pumping and stable. No.4: fire is out as far as can be seen from outside – radioactive material of 100millisieverts/he had been spewing – workers are investigating the interior for small fire, but must be very careful.
Greed in the nuclear industry and corporate influence over the U.N. watchdog for atomic energy may doom Japan to a spreading nuclear disaster, one of the men brought in to clean up Chernobyl said on Tuesday.
Slamming the Japanese response at Fukushima, Russian nuclear accident specialist Iouli Andreev accused corporations and the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of wilfully ignoring lessons from the world’s worst nuclear accident 25 years ago to protect the industry’s expansion.
Chernobyl clean-up expert slams Japan, IAEA
march 15th PM:
Kyodo news: 70% of fuel rods have been damaged at Daiichi reactor No.1.
march 16 AM
The occupational limit for radiation exposure has been raised in order to allow the workers to return to the site.
March 16, 6am:
The steam observed rising above No.3 for hours is radioactive. It is now presumed that the containment vessel has cracked. SDF had prepared to drop water from helicopter, but could not do so safely.
7am: “Tests revealed traces of radiation in tap water in Fukushima city, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the Daiichi nuclear plant, the local government said Wednesday. The Fukushima prefecture’s nuclear department said amounts of radioactive cesium and iodine that are not harmful to the human body were found in water samples taken at 8 a.m. Wednesday (7 p.m. ET Tuesday)…