Radiation spike halts work at Fukushima Nuclear Plant

A rise in radiation halted the clean-up of radioactive water at Japan’s Fukushimi nuclear power station on Saturday hours after it got under way, a fresh setback to efforts to restore control over the quake-stricken plant.

The power plant has been leaking radiation into the atmosphere ever since the March 11 quake and tsunami and both China and South Korea have expressed concern over the possibility of further leaks into the sea.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, said it expected to resume the clean-up within a week.

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U.N. panel says no ill effects seen from radiation so far

The U.N. committee on atomic radiation said Monday it has seen no ill effects on health because of radiation released from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

"So far, what we have seen in the population, what we have seen in children, what we have seen in workers . . . we would not expect to see health effects," Wolfgang Weiss, chairman of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, said at a news conference.

"We cannot identify and attribute health effects to these doses," he said, adding that further and detailed data on the radiation doses is needed to say more about the probability of longer-term health effects.

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Tepco confirms meltdowns at 2 more Fukushima reactors

Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disabled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, confirmed on Tuesday that there had been meltdowns of fuel rods at three of the plant’s reactors early in the crisis.

The government and experts said previously that fuel rods at three of Daiichi’s six reactors had likely melted early in the crisis, but the utility, also known as Tepco, had only confirmed a meltdown of fuel rods at the No. 1 reactor.

On Tuesday, Tepco officials announced that fuel rods had also melted at the plant’s No. 2 and No. 3 reactors.

Explaining the timing of the announcement, a Tepco official told a news conference that the utility had been gradually retrieving data from the plant since early May, and had analyzed it before reaching a conclusion.

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Japan, China, South Korea vow joint work on nuclear safety

Japan, China, and South Korea agreed Sunday to increase cooperation on nuclear safety as Japan works to end a crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

At a trilateral summit in Tokyo, leaders of the three nations issued a joint declaration vowing to help each other, "especially at times of disaster and adversity."

The declaration added that Japan expressed its determination to resolve the nuclear crisis sparked by the March 11 earthquake and resulting tsunami.

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More nuclear reactor shutdowns lie ahead

Electricity supply from nuclear plants, already down by almost 20 percent following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, will drop further during peak summer demand as operators shut reactors for maintenance.

Six reactors are scheduled to be offline for checks and maintenance by the end of August. Chubu Electric Power Co. last week shut two reactors out of fear of a natural disaster causing a crisis similar to the one at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The planned shutdowns mean 75 percent of Japan’s nuclear power capacity will be idled or damaged by August when air conditioning demand surges as temperatures can rise to as high as 40 degrees.

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Japanese Officials Long Ignored or Concealed Nuclear Dangers

OMAEZAKI, Japan — The nuclear power plant, lawyers argued, could not withstand the kind of major earthquake that new seismic research now suggested was likely.

If such a quake struck, electrical power could fail, along with backup generators, crippling the cooling system, the lawyers predicted. The reactors would then suffer a meltdown and start spewing radiation into the air and sea. Tens of thousands in the area would be forced to flee.

Although the predictions sound eerily like the sequence of events at the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the lawsuit was filed nearly a decade ago to shut down another plant, long considered the most dangerous in Japan — the Hamaoka station.

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Japan to Scrap Plan to Boost Nuclear Energy to 50 Percent

Japan will scrap a plan to obtain half of its electricity from nuclear power and will instead promote renewable energy and conservation as a result of its ongoing nuclear crisis, the prime minister said Tuesday.

Naoto Kan said Japan needs to "start from scratch" on its long-term energy policy after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was heavily damaged by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami and began leaking radiation.

Nuclear plants supplied about 30 percent of Japans electricity, and the government had planned to raise that to 50 percent by 2030.

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Japanese engineers prepare to enter reactor building

Japanese engineers on Tuesday started preparing to send workers inside the Fukushima nuclear power stations reactor one building for the first time since the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami.Tokyo Electric Power Co TEPCO said it started work to install a ventilation system to clean the air inside the building at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

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Japan Prime Minister Kan’s Nuclear Adviser Resigns

A senior nuclear adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan submitted his resignation on Friday, saying the government had ignored his advice and failed to follow the law.

Toshiso Kosako, a Tokyo University professor who was named last month as an advisor to Kan, said the government had only taken ad hoc measures to contain the crisis at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

In a tearful press conference, he said the government and its commissions had taken "flexible approaches" to existing laws and regulations, and ignored his advice after he was named an advisor on March 16.

"I cannot help but to think the prime ministers office and other agencies are only taking stopgap measures… and delaying the end" of the nuclear crisis, he told reporters.

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