Japanese engineers struggled on Sunday to pump radioactive water from a crippled nuclear power station after radiation levels soared in seawater near the plant more than two weeks after it was battered by a huge earthquake and a tsunami.
Prolonged efforts to prevent a catastrophic meltdown at the 40-year-old plant have also intensified concern around the world about nuclear power. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was time to reassess the international atomic safety regime.
The government has said the situation was nowhere near to being resolved, although it was not deteriorating.
More than 700 engineers have been toiling in shifts but there's no end in sight.
Yet so far the death toll from the reactor situation is zero, and if they get things under control in the long term it's likely to be less than the death toll of one oil drilling accident. And this is after one of the most severe natural disasters in recorded history.
What it really shows is that we should learn what we can from it, and proceed as expeditiously as possible with nuclear power. Won't happen though.
I can't really determine what is exactly going on. Some of that is just me not really keeping up
with it all and the rest seems to be confusion and misinformation. However I have never yet heard anyone
say that everything will certainly be fine, or this situation is under control.
TOKYO — New signs emerged Friday that parts of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were so damaged and contaminated that it would be even harder to bring the plant under control soon.
One sign of possible deterioration in the plant itself came at Reactor No. 3. Workers who were trying to connect an electrical cable to a pump in a turbine building next to the reactor were injured when they stepped into water that was found to be significantly more radioactive than normal. On Friday, officials and experts offered conflicting explanations of what had gone wrong — but all pointed to greater damage to the reactor’s systems and more contamination there than officials had indicated earlier.
Japan's Government Criticizes Nuke Plant Operator (Published March 26, 2011 | Associated Press)
Government spokesman Yukio Edano urged Tokyo Electric Power Co. to be more transparent...
"We strongly urge TEPCO to provide information to the government more promptly," Edano said.
The situation at the crippled complex remains unpredictable, Edano said Saturday, adding that it would be "a long time" until the crisis ends.
"We seem to be keeping the situation from turning worse," he said. "But we still cannot be optimistic."
There is no such thing as a nuclear disaster, so we really don't need to worry
about such things. Nuclear events are, of course, another story. One also has to
be careful not to confuse a nuclear accident with a nuclear incident.
The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) was introduced in 1990 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to enable prompt communication of safety significance information in case of nuclear accidents.
The scale is intended to be logarithmic, similar to the Moment magnitude scale that is used to describe the comparative magnitude of earthquakes. Each increasing level represents an accident approximately ten times more severe than the previous level.
A number of criteria and indicators are defined to assure coherent reporting of nuclear events by different official authorities. There are 7 levels on the INES scale; 3 incident-levels and 4 accident-levels. There is also a level 0.