Japan Declares Nuclear Emergency
If there is ever a better argument for the dangers associated with nuclear power, it would have to compete with what’s happening in Japan in the wake of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake.
Naoto Kan, prime minister, stressed that no radiation had leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi facility’s six reactors. But residents living within 3km of the plant were being evacuated by the military, and those within 10km told to stay in their homes.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the world’s nuclear watchdog, expressed concern, saying it was “seeking further details on the situation at Fukushima and other nuclear power plants and research reactors, including information on off-site and on-site electrical power supplies, cooling systems and the condition of the reactor buildings…
An IAEA official said: “All nuclear power plants need to keep fuel cool after the reactor is shut down and not producing energy. This is because after the shutdown the fuel elements are physically hot and radioactively hot, and there is therefore a safety risk.”
The expert added: “In a situation like this, you would also worry about physical degradation to the containment of the nuclear facility, which might end up with radiation being released.”
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