Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Update for December 20th –December 22nd, 2011

  • Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Update for December 20th –December 22nd, 2011

    State of Nuclear Politics in Japan

    A government panel investigating the causes of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster will submit an interim report on December 26, without addressing the impact of the magnitude 8.9 earthquake that occurred in Japan before a tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Panel members said that determining the impact has proved difficult, because radiation levels remain so high that equipment, buildings, and the reactors themselves cannot be examined. Many experts believe that the earthquake severely damaged the plant before the tsunami hit. However, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) insists that all major damage was caused by the tsunami, in spite of the fact that they have not been able to physically inspect the reactors. The panel’s decision is significant, because it does not rule out the possibility that the earthquake caused serious damage to the plant. If that proved to be true, reactors across Japan would be rendered unsafe and would need to be retrofitted for seismic safety. Many municipalities are unwilling to approve restarting idled reactors until the probe has concluded and reactor safety has been assured. Currently, almost 90% of the nuclear reactors in Japan are offline. Panel members are continuing to study the issue; their report will be delivered in the second half of 2012.

    Source: greenpeace.org