Five days after the disastrous tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. has yet to succeed in stabilizing its nuclear reactors in Fukushima.
After the No. 1 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station exploded Saturday, its No. 3 reactor also suffered from a hydrogen explosion on Monday morning, local time. 11 people are severely injured from the latest explosion, according to reports.
The situation is far from under control.
It is now reported that the fuel rods at the same plant’s No. 2 reactor were fully exposed at one point after its cooling functions failed. The report indicates the possibility of the reactor's core’s total meltdown, raising the risk of damage to the reactor vessel and a possible radioactive leak, according to experts.
Tokyo Electric Power Company suspects that a hydrogen explosion at the nearby No. 3 reactor that occurred Monday morning may have caused a glitch in the cooling system of the No. 2 reactor.
The rods at the No. 2 reactor were exposed as a fire pump to pour seawater into the reactor to cool it down ran out of fuel, the company said.
As the death toll keeps rising in the aftermath of the tsunami and earthquake that shook Japan on Friday, and the continued fear for more explosions in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, we know that the disaster is still unfolding, and we are far from grasping the true magnitude of its gravity.
Masaya Ishida, publisher of EE Times Japan wrote to us via e-mail during his Sunday afternoon that the damage done to northern Japan, particularly areas along the east coast, is “beyond imagination.” He wrote: “Tens of thousands of people still remain unidentified as several towns on the coast got absorbed completely by the tsunami.”
Beyond continued search and rescue operations in northern Japan, as Ishida aptly summarized, the most immediate concerns engulfing Japan today are two-fold:
-the critical condition of the Fukushima nuclear power plants right now; and the extent of the health hazard in the surrounding area is still unknown
-decreasing electric power supply as a result of the failures at these nuclear power plants. According to one estimate, 30 percent of the power Tokyo Electric Power Co. is supplying to Tokyo and its surrounding areas – one of the most densely populated urban centers in the world -- are generated by the Fukushima nuclear plants.
Rolling blackouts in the Tokyo area are planned Monday morning, local time. The cutbacks are expected to be in effect until the end of April, according to the power company’s announcement.
Tokyo Electric Power will divide its service area -- consisting of Tokyo and eight surrounding prefectures -- into five groups, with the first suffering a power cut-off starting at 6:20. Each group will lose power for three hours within a specified time frame between 6:20 a.m. and 10 p.m., according to Nikkei, Japan’s economic newspaper.
Separately, the Japanese government has already issued a plea to the business community and individuals for “self-restraint” and “cooperation” to conserve electricity, which includes early closing hours for big retailers and the night-time use of neon signboards, for example.
Due to closures of highways and railroads, disruptions at ports and airports, distribution bottlenecks are already choking many companies’ supply-chain activities. Ships scheduled to deliver coal for power plants were stranded; many gas stations reportedly ran out of stock and were forced to close; online retailers like Amazon Japan have reportedly suspended same-day and other express delivery services in areas outside western Japan.
Again, most worrying is the condition of the nuclear power plants. After the Japanese government acknowledged a partial meltdown of the No. 1 reactor, which led to an explosion on Saturday, the No. 3 reactor, too, exploded Monday morning. The explosions at both reactors are believed to have been caused by hydrogen that tore the outer wall and roof off the buildings housing each reactor.
As it has already done with the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, Tokyo Electric Power is now flooding the No. 2 reactor with corrosive seawater, which might be a last- ditch effort to avert complete meltdown. The decision to use seawater to cool the reactor core is viewed by experts as an indication that Tokyo Electric Power and Japanese authorities have decided to scrap the plant.
@will99878898, I find your email offensive. To use such horrific natural disaster to score political points is inappropriate to put it in the mildest term I could think of. I have been to Japan several times, and I find Japanese society to be a model to the rest of the world in terms of solidarity and respect for nature. That said, every society has its highs and lows, but one thing is for sure: this has absolutely nothing to do with the movement of tectonic plates!
yeah, I know this brings up a tough question. and the testimony won't be so clear cut. otherwise everyone on earth are already religious now.
but anyway, when I first watch the news I felt pity. the next day some scenes of japanese killing those poor whales floated and I felt they might need to grow up as well.
Maybe similar when americans witnessed 2 japan citys burned intentionally by someone. They were less pity since they know why all these happened.
You are both insensitive and wrong. The most populous majority muslim nation on earth (Indonesia) suffered over 130,000 deaths in the 12/26/2004 tsunami. Then as now, no rational person suggested that disaster was brought about by the belief system of the victims.
That tragedy like this one reminds us of how vulnerable we all can be.
I can not even imagine how difficult it must be for the workers trying to regain control over these power plants - knowing what is at stake and knowing that their families are likely suffering as well. Those are some very brave, very giving souls.
to live a more blessed life in the future, Japan ppl could consider adopt some more universal human value system. ie. any abraham religion.
You will learn how to respect other human beings and species with a humble heart.
Muslims would pray and apologize before eating a chicken, and you don't hear alot of earthquake in gulf region plus free oil underneath. just one example.
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