Engineers have stopped highly radioactive water leaking into the sea from a crippled Japanese nuclear power plant, the facility’s operator said on Wednesday, a breakthrough in the battle to contain the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
“The leaks were slowed yesterday after we injected a mixture of liquid glass and a hardening agent and it has now stopped,” a TEPCO spokesman told Reuters.
Desperate engineers had been struggling to stop the leaks and had used sawdust, newspapers and concrete as well as liquid glass to try to stem the flow of the highly-contaminated water.
Japan is facing its worst crisis since World War Two after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit its northeast coast, leaving nearly 28,000 people dead or missing, thousands homeless, and rocking the world’s third-largest economy.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. — or TEPCO as it is commonly known — has said that it is likely to completely shut down the four unstable nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant that were damaged after the March 11th earthquake and ensuing tsunamis. The reactors have caused a nation-wide nuclear crisis after they were unable to be stabilized and now officials are saying that in addition to shutting down the reactors, their containment will be a very long process.
”We probably have no choice but to scrap reactors 1 to 4 if we look at their conditions objectively,” Tsunehisa Katsumata, TEPCO’s chairman said. ”We apologize for causing the public anxiety, worry and trouble due to the explosions at reactor buildings and the release of radioactive materials,” he added. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said in a news conference that four reactors was not enough. He believes that all six reactors at the 40 year old plant should be shut down, adding, “it is very clear looking at the social circumstances.”
Katsumata responded to the government’s call for all reactors to be shut down by saying that the “basic functions have been retained” at Fukushima Dailchi reactors numbers 5 and 6. The country of Japan called a nuclear emergency soon after the reactors were damaged and since then tens of thousands of citizens have been evacuated from the surrounding areas because of fear of radiation poisoning. Reactors numbers 1, 2 and 3 are believed to have suffered damage that reaches into their cores and the number four reactor lost cooling capabilities and it is also thought that a pool containing spent fuel rods is also overheating.
Due to the overwhelming cost of the disaster, TEPCO is now facing a financing crisis that could cripple the company, but they are pushing forward. ”By consulting with the government, we will work hard to avoid experiencing fund shortages because we are coming up short no matter how much money we have due to mounting fuel and restoration costs,” Katsumata told the public while his company works to make sure they have enough fuel to provide power to the areas affected. Via Gizmodo
Radiation in water at Japan’s earthquake-damaged nuclear plant reached potentially lethal levels, hampering work to cool reactors.
As the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl entered its third week, the government said soil near the Fukushima plant would be tested for plutonium contamination. The radioactive metal was used in one of the reactors and its presence outside the plant would suggest the fuel rods were damaged.
Water in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 2 reactor’s turbine building was measured at more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said today. That’s higher than the dose that would cause vomiting, hair loss and diarrhoea, according to the World Nuclear Association. The radiation is 10 million times the plant’s normal level, broadcaster NHK said.
“They’re finding quite high levels of radiation fields, which is impeding their progress dealing with the situation,” said Richard Wakeford, an expert in radiation epidemiology at the U.K.’s Dalton Nuclear Institute in Manchester. At reactor 2, “you’d have a lot of difficulty putting anyone in there.”
According to Akihabara News, Panasonic recently unveiled a solar table at Tokyo’s Security Show that harnesses QI technology to wirelessly charge your gadgets whenever you place them on the countertop! The solar panels located at the center of the table power a system of wireless charging pads. QI’s technology supports Cell phones, mobile devices and PDAs, so users needn’t lug their heavy wall-wart chargers around anymore.
Japan is no stranger to earthquakes, but this morning’s incident was nothing like the country had ever seen before. Registering at a record breaking magnitude 8.9, the earthquake even triggered a staggering 33 foot tsunami which swept away boats, cars, homes and people as widespread fires burned out of control. While there is no question that the devastation has been massive – the situation could have been worse. Given the country’s past experience with these life-threatening tremors, Japan boasts one of the most well-thought out building codes in the world. With a system that underscores the importance of smart design and preventative measures, millions of lives may very well have been spared.
From seawalls that line stretches of Japan’s coastline, to skyscrapers that sway to absorb earthquakes, to unrelenting building codes, there is no other country better prepared for an earthquake than Japan. Over the years, the country has invested billions of dollars developing new technology to aid in protecting their citizens and infrastructure against earthquakes and tsunamis.
Buildings in the country have been built to be earthquake proof, and construction focuses on deep foundation and massive shock absorbers to dampen seismic energy in the event of an earthquake. Another method that is often employed in construction is to create a base for the building that would allow it to move semi-independently from the total structure, in turn reducing the shaking caused by a quake. As seen in the video taken above by an onlooker in the neighborhood of Shinjuku, while the buildings sway, they do not collapse. In fact, not one building in Tokyo fell despite the record breaking magnitude – a true testament to the level of engineering involved in the construction of their structures.