Areal view of damaged Fukushima reactors – another Chernobyl?
In what is being considered as a “worst case scenario” Japan power company authorities have now confirmed that three of the Fukushima nuclear reactors have actually melted down. The news follows onsite investigation by volunteer plant workers who were able to observe the damage from the March 9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that flooded the reactors with sea water, which resulted in radiation levels in the seas near the plant of up to 1,250 times above normal levels. With this fact in mind, many people began to fear that a meltdown of the reactor fuel rods in even one of the damaged reactors will seriously affect the world environment for years to come.
Former Diiachi plant offices: too hot to handle
TEPCO confirmed a nuclear fuel meltdown in three of the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear reactors, following earlier disclosure that only one reactor, the No. 1 reactor, had melted down. Spokespersons for Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) finally admitted that fuel rods in at least three reactors “partially melted down” at the damaged Fukushima Diiachi nuclear power plant. This latest news quickly reached media sources including those in nearby Russia, where memories of the 1986 Ukraine Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in what was then part of the former Soviet Union, is still very fresh on many people’s minds.
Suspicions concerning the seriousness of the reactor damage became more paramount when reports came in that at least two of the reactor fuel rods containment vessels were “riddled with holes”. Some of these holes, which became larger in the crucial 48 – 60 hour period following the earthquake, were as large as 7 to 10 centimeters ( 2.8- 3.9 inches) TEPCO representatives said in a prepared document that contains no less than 225 pages.
The Russian Ria Novosti news site reports that while the No. 2 and 3 reactors suffered partial meltdowns, reactor No. 1 suffered a “near total meltdown” resulting in “serious radiation leaks”.
The crisis surrounding this worst nuclear plant disaster since Chernobyl has resulted in Japanese citizens taking to the streets in protest against their government’s reliance on nuclear energy to create electricity.
While it is obvious that Japanese governmental authorities will not be able to replace nuclear energy with other fuel sources in the short run, this crisis may result in Japan weaning itself from its dependence on the same nuclear energy to provide power as that which devastated the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII.
What’s happening in Japan should be a lesson to other countries as well, including those in the Middle East, that the use of nuclear energy is not really the “clean and green” fuel source that proponents of nuclear energy say it is.
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