Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority has admitted, despite earlier obfuscations, that it can no longer contain radioactive waste from the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant.
|By: DSWright Monday August 5, 2013 10:20 am|
|By: Gregg Levine Monday March 11, 2013 12:10 pm|
I was up working in what were in my part of the world the early morning hours of March 11, 2011, when I heard over the radio that a massive earthquake had struck northeastern Japan. I turned on the TV just in time to see the earliest pictures of the tsunami that followed what became known as the Tohoku quake. The devastation was instantly apparent, and reports of high numbers of casualties seemed inevitable, but it wasn’t until a few hours later, when news of the destruction and loss of power at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant hit the English-language airwaves, that I was gripped by a real sense of despair.
|By: Gregg Levine Tuesday January 29, 2013 12:55 pm|
On December 2, 1942, a small group of physicists under the direction of Enrico Fermi gathered on an old squash court beneath Alonzo Stagg Stadium on the Campus of the University of Chicago to make and witness history. Uranium pellets and graphite blocks had been stacked around cadmium-coated rods as part of an experiment crucial to the Manhattan Project–the program tasked with building an atom bomb for the allied forces in WWII.
|By: Nancy Foust Monday December 3, 2012 6:30 pm|
New research shows that corrosion of reactor pipes currently being used to pump water into the reactors in an attempt to cool the melted fuel may compromise those pipes long before TEPCO plans to stop injecting water. This same corrosion may be doing considerable damage to metal parts in the spent fuel pools.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday August 10, 2012 2:45 pm|
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant when the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami struck last year, bowed to public and government pressure this week, releasing 150 hours of video recorded during the first days of the Fukushima crisis. Even with some faces obscured and two-thirds of the audio missing, the tapes clearly show a nuclear infrastructure wholly unprepared for the disaster, and an industry and government wholly determined to downplay that disaster’s severity.
|By: Gregg Levine Thursday July 5, 2012 10:32 am|
The massive disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility that began with the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami could have been prevented and was likely made worse by the response of government officials and plant owners, so says a lengthy report released today by the Japanese Diet (their parliament).
But perhaps most damning, and most important to the future of Japan and to the future of nuclear power worldwide, is the Investigation’s finding that parts of the containment and cooling systems at Fukushima Daiichi were almost certainly damaged by the earthquake before the mammoth tsunami caused additional destruction.
|By: Gregg Levine Saturday April 7, 2012 11:30 am|
Late Thursday, the United States Coast Guard reported that they had successfully scuttled the Ryou-Un Maru, the Japanese “Ghost Ship” that had drifted into US waters after being torn from its moorings by the tsunami that followed the Tohoku earthquake over a year ago. The 200-foot fishing trawler, which was reportedly headed for scrap before it was swept away, was seen as potentially dangerous as it drifted near busy shipping lanes.
Coincidentally, the “disappearing” of the Ghost Ship came during the same week the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released its report on the effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on the US marine environment, and, frankly, the metaphor couldn’t be more perfect.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday March 30, 2012 3:40 pm|
On March 11, communities around the world commemorated the first year of the still-evolving Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster with rallies, marches, moments of silence, and numerous retrospective reports and essays. But 17 days later, another anniversary passed with much less fanfare.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday March 16, 2012 2:52 pm|
Rather than it being a salutary moment, a tribute of sorts to the victims in Japan on the anniversary of their disaster, the announcement by the NRC stands more as an insult. It’s as if the US government is saying, “Sure, there are lessons to be learned here, but the profits of private energy conglomerates are more important than any citizen’s quaint notions of health and safety. “
|By: Gregg Levine Friday March 9, 2012 3:20 pm|
One year on, perhaps the most surprising thing about the Fukushima crisis is that nothing is really that surprising. Almost every problem encountered was at some point foreseen, almost everything that went wrong was previously discussed, and almost every system that failed was predicted to fail, sometimes decades earlier. Not all by one person, obviously, not all at one time or in one place, but if there is anything to be gleaned from sorting through the multiple reports now being released to commemorate the first anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami–and the start of the crisis at Fukushima Daiichi–it is that, while there is much still to be learned, we already know what is to be done. . . because we knew it all before the disaster began.