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An 8.9 magnitude earthquake is affecting nuclear power stations in Japan. ANS Nuclear Cafe begins at | 0800 | 2011 03 11 | a media clip service on breaking news about the status of nuclear energy facilities in Japan. The news reports will be in descending order based on time/date stamps where available or when posted.
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CNN – Japan to pump sea water into reactor containment building 2011 03 12 | 0800 EST (CNN) — An explosion at an earthquake-damaged nuclear plant was not caused by damage to the nuclear reactor but by a pumping system that failed as crews tried to bring the reactor’s temperature down, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Saturday. The next step for workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant will be to flood the reactor containment structure with sea water to bring the reactor’s temperature down to safe levels, he said. The effort is expected to take two days. Radiation levels have fallen since the explosion and there is no immediate danger, Edano said. But authorities were nevertheless expanding the evacuation to include a radius of 20 kilometers (about 12.5 miles) around the plant. The evacuation previously reached out to 10 kilometers. The explosion about 3:30 p.m. Saturday sent white smoke rising above the plant a day after a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled cooling systems at the plant in northeastern Japan. Four workers were injured in the blast. The exact circumstances of the explosion remained unclear. Kyodo News Agency, citing Tokyo Electric Power Company, reported that the roof of a reactor at the plant collapsed after the explosion. The Fukushima prefecture government said hourly radiation levels at the plant had reached levels allowable for ordinary people over the course of a year, Kyodo reported. Earlier Saturday, Japan’s nuclear agency said workers were continuing efforts to cool fuel rods at the plant after a small amount of radioactive material escaped into the air. The agency said there was a strong possibility that the radioactive cesium monitors detected was from the melting of a fuel rod at the plant, adding that engineers were continuing to cool the fuel rods by pumping water around them. A spokesman for Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Agency earlier said atomic material had seeped out of one of the five nuclear reactors at the Daiichi plant, located about 160 miles (260 kilometers) north of Tokyo. Authorities evacuated people living near the reactor after the earthquake and tsunami crippled cooling systems there, as well as at another Tokyo Electric Power Company nuclear plant in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture. By late Saturday, authorities had extended the evacuation area to 20 kilometers around the Daiichi plant, Kyodo reported.
Reuters – Japan to fill leaking nuke reactor with sea water 2011 03 12 | 1237 GMT TOKYO, March 12 (Reuters) – Tokyo Electric Power Co plans to fill a leaking reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant with sea water to cool it down and reduce pressure in the unit, Japan’s top government spokesman said on Saturday. “The nuclear reactor is surrounded by a steel reactor container, which is then surrounded by a concrete building,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. “The concrete building collapsed. We found out that the reactor container inside didn’t explode.” Japan earlier in the day warned of a meltdown at the reactor at the plant, damaged when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast coast, but said the risk of radiation contamination was small. “We’ve confirmed that the reactor container was not damaged. The explosion didn’t occur inside the reactor container. As such there was no large amount of radiation leakage outside,” he said. “At this point, there has been no major change to the level of radiation leakage outside (from before and after the explosion), so we’d like everyone to respond calmly,” Edano said. “We’ve decided to fill the reactor container with sea water. Trade minister Kaieda has instructed us to do so. By doing this, we will use boric acid to prevent criticality.” Edano said it would take about five to 10 hours to fill the reactor core with sea water and around 10 days to complete the process. Edano said due to the falling level of cooling water, hydrogen was generated and that leaked to the space between the building and the container and the explosion happened when the hydrogen mixed with oxygen there.
New York Times – Explosion not at reactor 2011 03 12 0745 EST WASHINGTON — An explosion at a nuclear power plant in northern Japan on Saturday blew the roof off one building, brought down walls and caused a radiation leak of unspecified proportions, Japanese officials said, after Friday’s huge earthquake caused critical failures in the plant’s cooling system. Yukio Edano, confirmed earlier news reports of an explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, 15o miles north of Tokyo, saying: “We are looking into the cause and the situation and we’ll make that public when we have further information.” * * * Naoto Sekimura, a professor at Tokyo University, told NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, that “only a small portion of the fuel has been melted. But the plant is shut down already, and being cooled down. Most of the fuel is contained in the plant case, so I would like to ask people to be calm.” The plants’ problems were described as serious but were far short of a catastrophic emergency like the partial core meltdown that occurred at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pa., in 1979.
NucNet – THE NUCLEAR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK Japan Update / Brief No. 55 / 12th March 2011 Tepco Confirms Venting Of Unit 1, ‘Reactor Not Affected’ By Explosion 12 Mar (NucNet): Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has confirmed that it has successfully vented the containment of unit 1 at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in northern Japan. Meanwhile, chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano has told a press conference that there was an explosion at Fukushima-Daiichi at 15:36 local time, but he said it has not affected the reactor’s primary system or its containment. Mr Edano said there was a hydrogen explosion in the space between the concrete container and the reactor’s primary system. However, the explosion did not damage the containment function or the reactor system, he added. In a statement, Tepco said the venting of unit 1 had been successful and it was preparing to vent units 2 and 3, which also shut down automatically when the 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit yesterday. The utility also confirmed that the national government had ordered an evacuation for residents within a 10 km radius of the plant’s periphery. Tepco has not yet made any comment on the explosion at the plant, although confirmation of successful venting would appear to contradict media reports that the containment has been breached. Venting is designed to reduce pressure in the containment. It is not yet known why the pressure increased. Earlier, Tepco said the pressure in unit-1’s containment was 600 kilopascal (6 bar) and according to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) it could have increased to 840 kilopascal (8.4 bar) in the meantime. NISA said the design pressure for the unit’s containment is 400 kilopascal (4 bar).
Wire Services – Explosion, injuries reported at Fukushima 2011 03 12 | 0350 EST TOKYO (Dow Jones)–An explosion was heard and white smoke was seen around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant late Saturday afternoon in Japan, though the cause and exact location of the event were not immediately clear, according to Japan’s national broadcaster NHK. Several people appeared to have been injured in the incident, NHK said. Reuters – Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano: expands evacuation area at no.2 plant to 10 km. Bloomberg Reactor Fuel Rods May Have Started to Melt 2011 03 12 | 0345 EST A nuclear reactor in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station about 220 kilometers (140 miles) north of Tokyo may be starting to melt down after Japan’s biggest earthquake on record hit the area yesterday. Fuel rods at the No. 1 reactor at the plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. may be melting after radioactive Cesium material left by atomic fission was detected near the site, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, spokesman Yuji Kakizaki said by phone today. “If the fuel rods are melting and this continues, a reactor meltdown is possible,” Kakizaki said. A meltdown refers to a heat buildup in the core of such an intensity it melts the floor of the reactor containment housing.
Wall Street Journal – Japan Scrambles to Avert Meltdown – |2011 03 12 | 0252 EST TOKYO—Emergency measures taken to avert a meltdown at a nuclear power plant hit by Friday’s massive earthquake in northern Japan appear to be working, the plant’s operator said after earlier warning that it faced a meltdown threat. Workers are bringing down dangerous pressures that had built up in the container for the Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 nuclear reactor, a spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Saturday afternoon. “The steps we have taken through relieving the pressure inside the container and adding additional water to cool the rods appear to be succeeding in averting any damage to the reactor core, which was our main priority,” said a Tepco spokesman. Previously, the utility had said there was a risk of a meltdown in the core after the quake cut off power to pumps providing cooling water. That, in turn, could lead to heating of the core, the risk of a meltdown, and the release of radiation. A portion of the reactor’s fuel rods, which create heat through a nuclear reaction, had become exposed due to the cooling-system failure. The spokesman for Tepco said 1.5 meters of the 4.5 meter long fuel rods were exposed. It was unclear Saturday afternoon whether the water added by workers had re-covered the rods. Loss of cooling water resulted in a near meltdown of the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania in 1979, the worst nuclear incident in U.S. history. Asked about the impact of radiation at eight times higher than normal levels, Naoto Sekimura, a professor of quantum engineering at Tokyo University, said on national broadcaster NHK, “This is a minuscule amount. This is not going to have negative impact on the human body.” Later on Saturday, Tokyo Electric said another nuclear-power plant nearby, Fukushima Daini, was experiencing rises of pressure inside its four reactors. A state of emergency was called and precautionary evacuations ordered. The government has ordered the utility to release “potentially radioactive vapor” from the reactors, but hasn’t confirmed any elevated radiation around the plant. Start Saturday March 12, 2011 coverage
End Friday March 11, 2011 coverage
CNN – Two Japanese plants struggling to cool cores 2011 03 11 1730 EST Tokyo (CNN) — Reactors at two Japanese power plants can no longer cool radioactive substances inside, a prominent electric company said Saturday, according to a news agency report that added that atomic material may have leaked out of one of the plants. Citing the Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan’s Kyodo News Agency said that radioactive substances may have seeped out of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, about 160 miles (260 kilometers) north of Tokyo. Potentially dangerous problems in cooling radioactive material appear to have cropped up there, as well as at another of the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s nuclear plants. Both plants are named Fukushima Daiichi and both have nuclear reactors, but they are separate facilities. Kyodo reported Saturday that the power company alerted authorities that the cooling system at three of the four units of one Fukushima Daini plant in northeastern Japan’s Fukushima prefecture had failed.
LA Times – Japan nuclear plant conditions worsening 2011 03 11 1944 EST The Kyodo news agency says the cooling system has failed at three reactors at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan and that the coolant water’s temperature has reached boiling level. Conditions appear to be worsening at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan, according to local media. The Kyodo news agency reported that the cooling system has failed at three reactors of Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant. The coolant water’s temperature had reached boiling temperature, the agency reported, citing the power plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power. The cooling system failure at the No. 2 power plant came after officials were already troubled by the failure of the emergency cooling system at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, which officials feared could cause a meltdown.
Associated Press State of Emergency declared for five reactors 2011 03 11 1815 EST TOKYO — Japan declared states of emergency for five nuclear reactors at two power plants after the units lost cooling ability in the aftermath of Friday’s powerful earthquake. Thousands of residents were evacuated as workers struggled to get the reactors under control to prevent meltdowns. A single reactor in northeastern Japan had been the focus of much of the concern in the initial hours after the 8.9 magnitude quake, but the government declared new states of emergency at four other reactors in the area Saturday morning. The earthquake knocked out power at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and because a backup generator failed, the cooling system was unable to supply water to cool the 460-megawatt No. 1 reactor. Although a backup cooling system is being used, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said pressure inside the reactor had risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal. Authorities said radiation levels had jumped 1,000 times normal inside Unit 1 and were measured at eight times normal outside the plant. They expanded an earlier evacuation zone more than threefold, from 3 to 10 kilometers (2 miles to 6.2 miles). Some 3,000 people had been urged to leave their homes in the first announcement. The utility, which also operates reactors at the nearby Fukushima Daini plant, later confirmed that cooling ability had been lost at three of four reactors there, as well as a second Fukushima Daiichi unit. The government promptly declared a state of emergency there as well. Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency official Ryohei Shiomi said radiation levels surged inside the control center at the Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 reactor, while a monitoring device at the front gate of the compound detected radiation that is eight times higher than normal. The level outside the 40-year-old plant in Onahama city, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo, is still considered very low compared to the annual exposure limit, Shiomi said. It would take 70 days of standing at the gate to reach the limit, he said. Shiomi said radioactive vapor probably entered the control room because of lack of air flow control resulting from power outage. The control room is usually radiation free, protected by negative air pressure. If the condition persists or worsens, the plant is equipped with gas masks and other protective gear to protect workers from radiation exposure, he said. Officials planned to release slightly radioactive vapor from the unit to lower the pressure in an effort to protect it from a possible meltdown, but the continuing power supply problem has delayed the process. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the amount of radioactive element in the vapor would be “very small” and would not affect the environment or human health. “With evacuation in place and the ocean-bound wind, we can ensure the safety,” he said at a televised news conference early Saturday.
USA Today – Japan declares emergency at 2nd nuclear plant 2011 03 11 1836 EST Update at 6:36 p.m. ET: The Japanese government has declared a nuclear emergency at the Fukushima No. 2 power plant. An emergency also exists at plant No. 1. The cooling system has failed for three reactors at the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant, about seven miles from its quake-crippled companion, the Tokyo Electrical Power Co. now says. The utility, which operates both Fukushima plants, notified the government Saturday morning that the failsafe system at the No. 2 plant stopped working as the coolant water topped the boiling point, the Kyodo news service reports. Update at 6:25 p.m. ET: Japan’s nuclear safety agency is preparing to issue what Kyodo News called “an unprecedented order” directing the Tokyo Electric Power Co. to open a valve at the earthquake-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to release pressure from a reactor that is in danger of overheating. Original post: Radiation 1,000 times normal has been detected inside a crippled nuclear plant in northeastern Japan where utility managers have released potentially radioactive steam to reduce mounting reactor pressure, the Kyodo News service is reporting, citing the government’s safety agency. That suggests radioactivity could spread around Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima No. 1 plant, where thousands of residents within a 6-miles were ordered to leave before dawn Saturda
Mobile generator in service at Fukushima-Daiichi NPP; Tepco Considers Controlled Venting 12 Mar (NucNet): Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has installed a mobile power generation unit at its Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in an effort to ensure the function of essential pumps for cooling reactors that automatically shut down during an earthquake yesterday. The back-up power is needed because the plant’s cooling system failed when the earthquake caused a power outage and emergency diesel generators stopped working after less than an hour for an as yet unknown reason. The utility said pressure in the containment of the oldest unit on the site, unit 1, which has been in commercial operation since 1970, has continued to increase. At 00:00 local time, the pressure was 600 kilopascal (6 bar) and according to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) it could have increased to 840 kilopascal (8.4 bar) in the meantime. NISA said the design pressure for the unit’s containment is 400 kilopascal (4 bar). At 04:00 local time Tepco said it had decided to implement measures to reduce the pressure in the reactor containment vessel “for those units that cannot confirm a certain level of water injection by the reactor core isolation cooling system”. Tepco is considering a controlled containment venting in order to avoid an uncontrolled rupture and damage to the containment itself. Tepco said there has already been a leak of a small amount of radioactive substances. Earlier, authorities in Fukushima prefecture evacuated residents living within three kilometres of the plant. Japanese officials also told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that pressure is increasing inside unit 1’s containment and they have decided to vent the containment to lower the pressure. The controlled release will be filtered to retain most radioactive substances within the containment, the IAEA said. Three reactors at the plant were operating at the time of the earthquake, and the water level in each of the reactor vessels remains above the fuel elements, according to Japanese authorities. The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) said earlier today that unit 2 at the six-unit plant suffered a loss of feeding water for its cooling system, caused by the cut-off of power supply. JAIF said Tepco had earlier reported to NISA that two emergency diesel generators were out of order at Fukushima-Daiichi. Eleven nuclear reactors in areas of Japan affected by today’s earthquake have all shut down automatically and so far there have been no reports of radioactive release, the Ministry of Economic Trade and Industry (METI) has said. The 11 nuclear units are in three northern prefectures: Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki. The reactors that automatically shut down because of the quake are: • All three units at the Onagawa plant; • Units 1, 2 and 3 at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant (units 4, 5 and 6 were undergoing a scheduled inspection and already shut down); • All four units at the Fukushima-Daini nuclear plant; • Unit 1 at the single-unit Tokai plant. Earlier, NISA said no damage to nuclear plants has been reported “at this stage” following the earthquake The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at 14:46 local time and was magnitude 8.9 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was about 70 kilometres east of Honshu and the depth was about 24 km. The epicentre was about 80 km east of the Onagawa nuclear site and about 150 km north-east of both Fukushima sites.
New York Times – Japan expands evacuation area 2011 03 11 1805 EST Japanese officials early Saturday expanded the area around a crippled nuclear power plant subject to emergency evacuation, as radiation levels inside the facility were reported to have surged and operators struggled to keep the plant’s cooling system operating on battery power. A Japanese nuclear safety panel said radiation levels were 1,000 times above normal in a reactor control room after a huge quake damaged the plant’s cooling system, and that some radiation — it was not clear how much — had seeped outside the plant. The elevated radiation reading was taken inside the control room of the No. 1 reactor of the Fukushima plant. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said before boarding a helicopter to visit the plant that the government had expanded the evacuation area around the plant to a six-mile radius from a two-mile radius. The nuclear plant, known formally as the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, was operating in an emergency, battery-powered cooling mode seventeen hours after the earthquake knocked out its two main sources of the electrical power needed for safe shutdown. But the International Atomic Energy Agency said that “mobile electricity supplies have arrived at the site” to keep the crisis at the crippled plant from worsening. The Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Japanese government said the plant was releasing steam with a “very small” amount of radioactive material to relieve pressure in one reactor at the. The government had earlier declared an “atomic power emergency” to begin the evacuation, a difficult challenge in the midst of a natural catastrophe With the steam-driven pump in operation, pressure valves on the reactor vessel would open automatically as pressure rose too high, or could be opened by operators. “It’s not like they have a breach, there’s no broken pipe venting steam,” said Margaret E. Harding, a nuclear safety consultant, who managed a team at General Electric, the reactor’s designer, that analyzed pressure build-up in reactor containments. “You’re getting pops of release valves, for minutes, not hours, that take pressure back down.” Some of the radioactive steam would condense back to liquid in the containment building, she said.
Bloomberg – damaged reactor may release radioactive steam 2011 03 11 1745 EST Tokyo Electric Power Co. may vent radioactive vapor to reduce pressure at its nuclear reactor in Fukushima, Japan, after the nation’s strongest earthquake on record caused power failures, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. Radioactive elements in the vapor from the Dai-Ichi No. 1 reactor wouldn’t pose a threat to public health, Edano said at a press conference today in Tokyo. The plant, 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of Tokyo, lost power after the earthquake yesterday and about 5,800 residents near the plant were ordered to evacuate.
Wire services – San Onofre Officials Expect No Problems 2011 03 11 1507 EST Officials at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station south of San Clemente said they do not expect any issues. “The waves that could reach the Southern California coastline shortly after 8 a.m. (Pacific) today due to the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan would pose no danger to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station,” spokesman Gil Alexander said in a statement. “The plant’s protective measures include a reinforced tsunami wall 30 feet above sea level.” Power plants along the U.S. West Coast were preparing themselves in light of the tsunami alert on Friday, after a massive earthquake off Japan. PG&E Corp (PCG.N: Quote) said its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant was operating normally and the reactors were designed to deal with any big wave that might reach California later Friday. Meanwhile, Southern California Edison, a unit of Edison International (EIX.N: Quote) said workers at its San Onofre plant would be monitoring “unusual small waves” that were likely to hit the coast and that the plant was designed with a 30-feet tsunami protective wall.
Reuters – TEPCO’s biggest nuke plant continue ops after quake 2011 03 11 1431 EST (Reuters) – Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Co said operations at its biggest Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant were continuing after a strong quake hit northern Japan on Saturday. A strong earthquake aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck northwestern Japan on Saturday, about half a day after massive 8.9 magnitude quake hit northeastern Japan. Four nuclear units at the plant continued to operate, while the three remaining units were kept shut, a company official at the plant said.
New York Times – Emergency Declared at Japanese Nuclear Plant 2011 03 11 1355 EST The Japanese government declared an “atomic power emergency” and evacuated thousands of residents living close to a nuclear plant in northern Japan after a major earthquake, but officials said there had been no radiation leak from the facility and that problems with its cooling system were not critical. The plant is designed to shut down safely after an earthquake, but its emergency diesel generators, needed to run water pumps, were not working. American experts on reactors of the Fukushima design said, though, that technicians at the plant would have several hours to restore power before any significant damage resulted. Japan’s nuclear safety agency said pressure inside one of six boiling water reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant had risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal, according to The Associated Press. To reduce the pressure, slightly radioactive vapor would be released, the news agency said, but it was not immediately clear if it was going to be released into the containment building or the atmosphere. The agency said the radioactive element in the vapor would not affect human health. At least two other Japanese nuclear plants also reported trouble, but there was no radiation leak at either of them, government officials said. A number of nuclear reactors around the hardest-hit area of the country were shut down, and Japanese news media said a fifth of the country’s total nuclear generating capacity was offline because of the quake.
Associated Press – Fukushima Daiichi reactor cooling system update Japan’s nuclear safety agency said pressure inside one of six boiling water reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant had risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal. To reduce the pressure, slightly radioactive vapor may be released. The agency said the radioactive element in the vapor would not affect the environment or human health. After the quake triggered a power outage, a backup generator also failed and the cooling system was unable to supply water to cool the 460-megawatt No. 1 reactor, though at least one backup cooling system is being used. The reactor core remains hot even after a shutdown. The agency said plant workers are scrambling to restore cooling water supply at the plant but there is no prospect for immediate success. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the 40-year-old plant was not leaking radiation. The plant is in Onahama city, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo. If the outage in the cooling system persists, eventually radiation could leak out into the environment, and, in the worst case, could cause a reactor meltdown, a nuclear safety agency official said on condition of anonymity, citing sensitivity of the issue. Another official at the nuclear safety agency, Yuji Kakizaki, said that plant workers were cooling the reactor with a secondary cooling system, which is not as effective as the regular cooling method. Kakizaki said officials have confirmed that the emergency cooling system — the last-ditch cooling measure to prevent the reactor from the meltdown — is intact and could kick in if needed. “That’s as a last resort, and we have not reached that stage yet,” Kakizaki added.
CNN – Japan struggling to ‘cool down’ nuclear plant, minister says 2011 03 11 1327 EST U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told him there was no evidence so far of radiation leaks from nuclear reactors due to the earthquake and tsunami, an assertion also made by Edano earlier in the day. Yet Edano said the Fukushima Daiichi reactor “remains at a high temperature,” because it “cannot cool down.” The Kyodo agency reported Friday that the radiation level was rising in a turbine building at the plant. Cham Gallas, a professor of disaster management at the University of Georgia, said that it wouldn’t be surprising if reactors get “both thermally hot and radioactively hot” after the reactors were shut down. “When they shut down reactors, it takes a long time for them to go down,” said Dallas. “It does not necessarily mean radioactive material got out of the reactor.” While authorities are “bracing for the scenario,” the minister said, “At this moment, there is no danger to the environment.” Fire broke out at a second facility, the Onagawa plant, but crews were able to put that fire out, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Using Air Force planes, the U.S. government has sent over coolant for the Fukushima plant, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday.
Wire services – Diablo Canyon nuclear plant shuts down as precaution 2011 03 11 1220 EST San Francisco, March 11, 2011 — In a move PG&E Corp. calls routine, the power producer shut down its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant due to a tsunami warning in California. Much of the West Coast is under a tsunami warning following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan that has sent tsunami waves across the Pacific Ocean. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said there is nothing wrong with the plant, but a tsunami warning requires the plant to shut down as a precaution. The NRC said the plants are located in an area that the expected waves should not impact, and furthermore that the plants are designed to deal with the sort of waves heading for the California coast. Both reactors at Diablo Canyon were operating normally and at full capacity. The NRC also said Edison International’s San Onofre nuclear plant was monitoring the tsunami but was only under a tsunami watch. Diablo is located in the middle of the Californian coast, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. San Onofre is on the Southern California coast between
Los Angeles and San Diego. New York Times – Cooling system under control at Fukushima nuclear reactor 2011 03 11 1155 EST An analyst with the World Nuclear Association, a major international nuclear power group, said that he understood fresh cool water was now being pumped into the cooling system at Fukushima, reducing the threat of a meltdown. “We understand this situation is under control,” the analyst said. The analyst said he understood that a back-up battery power system had been brought online after about an hour, and begun pumping water back into the cooling system, where the water level had been falling.
Reuters Cooling system under control at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor 2011 03 11 1058 EST (Reuters) – The World Nuclear Association, the main nuclear industry body, said Friday that it understood the situation at Japan’s Fukushima plant after a massive earthquake was under control, and water was being pumped into its cooling system. “We understand this situation is under control,” an analyst at the association told Reuters. The Japanese government had declared an emergency situation around the plant as a precaution and evacuated residents, saying a cooling system was not working. The analyst said he understood that a back-up battery power system had been brought online after about an hour, and begun pumping water back into the cooling system, where the water level had been falling.
Reuters – Calif nuclear plants operating normally, on Tsunami alert 2011 03 11 0817 EST
Precautions are routine, California nukes operating normally
Reuters) – PG&E Corp declared an “unusual event” at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California due to a tsunami warning, which is a normal operating procedure, a spokesman at the NRC told Reuters Friday. The tsunami warning followed the massive earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan. NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said there was nothing wrong with the plant, but a tsunami warning is something that requires the plant to issue an unusual event. The same thing would happen if, for instance, there was a twister in the general area or an earthquake in Mexico. It merely puts plant workers on alert to prepare for the unusual. Both reactors at Diablo Canyon were operating normally and at full capacity. Burnell said the reactors were designed to deal with the big wave expected to reach California later Friday. The NRC also said Edison International’s San Onofre nuclear plant was monitoring the tsunami but was only under a tsunami watch. Diablo is located in the middle of the Californian coast, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. San Onofre is on the Southern California coast between Los Angeles and San Diego.
Daily Mail UK – Control rods in core, internal cooling expected at Fukushima No. 1 power plant run by the Tokyo Electric Power 2011 03 11 0853 EST
Professor Tim Abram, a nuclear fuel technology expert at Manchester University, said that as long as a reactor is shut down, it is considered ‘benign’ until bosses decide it is safe to be turned back on. He said: ‘All nuclear facilities are designed to withstand seismic events. ‘The magnitude of the seismic event that they are designed to withstand varies from country to country. ‘It’s not done on a case of a particular point on the Richter scale, but instead on the basis of probability of earthquakes in particular countries. In somewhere like Japan, the probability will be much, much higher.’ The professor said although a failure in the cooling system of a nuclear power plant was ‘unexpected’, once a reactor is shut down, the heat levels plummet anyway. He said: ‘Reactors shut themselves down automatically when something called “ground acceleration” is registered at a certain point, which is usually quite small. It will instantly drop control rods into the core.’ At that stage, he said, the heat of a nuclear station drops dramatically in a matter of seconds, and within a couple of minutes, it is down to under five per cent of its normal temperature. He added: ‘That’s a tiny, tiny percentage of the usual power output of the core. ‘You still need to get rid of the decay heat, but the system is very capable of doing that.
CNN – Cooling system problems at Fukushima NPP 2011 03 11 0910 EST (CNN) — Workers at a nuclear power plant in north-central Japan are having trouble cooling the reactor and authorities have asked nearby residents to evacuate, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a news conference Friday. The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant was shut down after the earthquake that hit the country. “This is a precautionary instruction for people to evacuate. There is no radioactive leakage at this moment outside of the facility,” he said. “At this moment there is no danger posed to the environment.” Japan declared a state of atomic power emergency after the earthquake, the Kyodo News agency reported. The government is sending senior officials and a defense force team to the power plant, it said. Edano said plant workers were having trouble generating sufficient electricity to pump water into the cooling system. They were using all available backup electricity, he said. “The emergency shutdown has been conducted but the process of cooling down the reaction is currently not going as planned,” he said.
NucNet – 11 Reactors shut down in Japan 2011 03 11 0817 EST TOKYO, March 11 (Xinhua) — Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday declared a state of atomic power emergency after an earthquake hit Japan’s northeastern Honshu island, but he denied there are any radiation leaks. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said some cooling functions were not working at the plant and one reactor cannot be cooled down. Separately, a fire broke out at a nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture following the massive quake. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said that the fire started detected at a building housing the turbine at its Onagawa plant but denied any radiation leaks. According to the ministry, 11 nuclear reactors were automatically shut down at the Onagawa plant, Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants and Tokai No. 2 plant.
Reuters – Japan working to fix reactor cooling systems 2011 03 11 0852 EST (Reuters) – A cooling system for a nuclear reactor was not working after a powerful earthquake in Japan, prompting the government to declare an emergency situation as a precaution although it said there was no radioactive leakage at present. Residents that live within a 3 km radius of Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been told to evacuate, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference. The declaration of a state of emergency allows the government to mobilize people and equipment to respond to the earthquake. TEPCO confirmed that water levels inside the reactors at its Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant were on a falling trend, but added it was working to maintain water levels to avert the exposure of nuclear fuel rods. The company has been trying to restore power to its emergency power system so that it can add water to the inside of the reactors, a TEPCO spokesman said.
NY Times – Japan orders evacuation near nuclear power plant 0800 EST TOKYO (AP) — Japan is issuing an evacuation order to thousands of residents near a nuclear power plant. Japan’s nuclear safety agency says the evacuation order to more than 2,800 people followed the government’s declaration at a nuclear power plant after its cooling system failed following a massive earthquake Friday. The agency says plant workers are currently scrambling to restore cooling water supply at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. There was no prospect for an immediate success. The plant experienced a mechanical failure in the backup power generation system to supply water needed to cool the reactor. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that the plant was not in immediate danger of radiation leak.
Los Angeles Times – size of earthquake surprises seismologists 2011 03 11 0800 EST The 8.9 magnitude earthquake is among the top 10 ever recorded and occurred on an irregular fault line where a smaller temblor would be expected. The magnitude 8.9 earthquake that struck Friday off the coast of Japan “is going to be among the top 10 earthquakes recorded since we have had seismographs,” said seismologist Susan Hough of the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena. “It’s bigger than any known historic earthquake in Japan, and bigger than expectations for that area.” Geologists had expected the portion of the Ring of Fire that produced this quake to yield a temblor on the order of magnitude 8 or perhaps 8.5, she said. “Something as big as an 8.9 is a bit of a surprise.” A quake that big usually requires a long, relatively straight fault line that can rupture, such as those found in Peru and along the eastern coast of South America. Thursday’s quake occurred in the Japan Trench, where the Pacific tectonic plate slides under the Japan plate.
Reuters – IAEA says no radiation leaks at affect Japan NPP 2011 03 11 0758 EST Reuters) – Japan has told the U.N. nuclear wathchdog that a heightened state of alert has been declared at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after Friday’s major earthquake, the Vienna-based agency said. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had also been informed that the plant had been shut down and that no release of radiation had been detected.
Wall Street Journal: Japan issues emergency at nuclear plant 2011 03 11 0716 EST TOKYO—The Japanese government issued an official emergency at one of the country’s nuclear plants Friday after a massive earthquake automatically shut down its reactors and caused problems with its cooling system, but said there are currently no reports of radiation leakage.
Kyodo News – Japan declares nuclear emergency 2011 03 11 0800 EST Japan declared a state of atomic power emergency after the country was hit by its largest-ever magnitude earthquake, while saying no radiation leaks have been detected at or near any nuclear power plants as of Friday evening. The International Atomic Energy Agency is scrambling for details from contacts with Japan’s industry ministry, while saying in a statement that at least four nuclear power plants ”closest to the quake have been safely shut down” after the 2:46 p.m. quake with a magnitude 8.8. According to the ministry, a total of 11 nuclear reactors were automatically shut down at the Onagawa plant, Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants and Tokai No. 2 plant after the biggest-magnitude quake in the country’s modern history.
Xinhua News Service – 11 reactors offline in Japan 2011 03 11 0740 TOKYO, March 11 (Xinhua) — Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday declared a state of atomic power emergency after an earthquake hit Japan’s northeastern Honshu island, but he denied there are any radiation leaks. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said some cooling functions were not working at the plant and one reactor cannot be cooled down. Separately, a fire broke out at a nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture following the massive quake. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said that the fire started detected at a building housing the turbine at its Onagawa plant but denied any radiation leaks. According to the ministry, 11 nuclear reactors were automatically shut down at the Onagawa plant, Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants and Tokai No. 2 plant.
Nuclear Engineering News (UK) – Japan mobilizes emergency response 2011 03 11 0800 EST Onagawa, Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Daini and Tokai nuclear power stations have automatically shut down following a magnitude 8.8 earthquake off the northeast coast of the largest island of Japan, Honshu. All four operating plants on that coast have automatically shut down, or SCRAMmed, according to Japan Atomic Information Forum (JAIF). Higashidori 1, which is also located on Honshu’s northeast coast, was shut down for a periodic inspection. The earthquake struck at 2:45pm local time. A 6:45 pm local time report from the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency contained more information of damage and other problems in a site-by-site report. -A C02 fire has broken out at Onagawa nuclear power station. -Utility TEPCO has requested the establishment of a nuclear emergency response programme for Fukushima Daiichi 1&3 and Fukushima Daini 1. JAIF reported that Fukushima Daiichi 1, 2 and 3 automatically shut down; units 4, 5 and 6 were in maintenance outages. Fukushima Daini 1, 2, 3 and 4 automatically shut down. JAIF has reported that TEPCO sent the emergency report because emergency diesel generators at the two sites are out of order. It also said that there have been no reports of radiation detected outside of the site. Nuclear power stations at Hamaoka, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa and Tomari are continuing normal operation, according to JAIF.
World Nuclear News (London UK) – Plant by plant status report following 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan (see URL for individual NPP) 2011 03 11 0800 EST Nuclear reactors appear to have shut down normally during today’s massive earthquake in Japan. Official sources have no reports of radioactive release. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) alerted safety regulators to a technical emergency in relation to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, at which some emergency diesel generators failed to start automatically. Nisa noted that emissions from the exhaust stack of the showed no increase in radioactivity. Tohoku Electric Power Company has reported a fire in the non-nuclear turbine building of Onagawa 1. A minor fire burned in a non-nuclear service building of Tepco’s Fukushima Daini 1 but this was extinguished within two hours. # # # End clip trace