TIME-LINE OF EVENTS
Read NEW report on Fukushima incident at the coming issue of Newsletter (June 2013)
Sunday, 03 March 2012
One year after catastrophe, Fukushima remains a threat
One year after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was crippled by a massive earthquake and tsunami, the surrounding area remains highly radioactive. The looming anniversary of the catastrophe has pushed TEPCO, the plant’s disgraced operators, to admit that the situation is still hazardous. Plant director Takeshi Takahashi said last week that the company was doing “the best it could” in order to allow local residents to move back “as quickly as possible”. But he also admitted that while the station had reached “cold shutdown conditions", or a constant temperature of -100°C, it was still "rather fragile". As Europe’s biggest nuclear producer, France has closely monitored the Japanese disaster. Two French specialists decode Takahashi’s statement. Stéphane Lhomme, head of the French anti-nuclear organisation l’Observatoire nucléaire, says that TEPCO is seriously playing down potential dangers. “Their declarations are over-confident, and moreover, simply not true,” he told FRANCE 24. “The plant is neither stable nor fragile.” Lhomme describes the current situation as “catastrophic. Even if the thermal power in the four damaged reactors has been considerably reduced, they are still in meltdown and therefore still noxious.” Speaking with an alarmed tone, he says “of course the global situation is slightly better than it was a year ago. But the corium, a lava-like fuel-containing material that lies at the bottom of the containers, remains a real problem.” Lhomme argues that at several thousand degrees, this molten lava could break through the cask at any point and destroy the concrete beneath the container, reaching soil and water located beneath the surface. “If it comes into contact with water, the corium would spark a series of massive vapour cloud explosions,” warns Lhomme
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Fukushima accident caused only low levels of fallout in U.S.
Fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power facility in Japan was measured in minimal amounts in precipitation in the United States in about 20 percent of 167 sites sampled in a nationwide study released today. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) led the study as part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP). Levels measured were similar to measurements made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the days and weeks immediately following the March 2011 incidents, which were determined to be well below any level of public health concern. The study adds important new information from NADP’s network and provides a more detailed picture of fallout in precipitation over most of the United States. The EPA had used the rapid-response RadNet to monitor network fallout from Fukushima immediately following the incident. RadNet sites provide information about levels of radiation in the Nation’s air, drinking water, precipitation, and pasteurized milk. The levels of radioactive fallout measured at RadNet and NADP sites were similar, and while the USGS does not assess human health risks, the EPA RadNet monitoring confirms that radiation levels were far below any level of concern for human health in the United States. More information on EPA’s findings is available online.
Sunday, 22 January 2012
Japanese Cabinet kept alarming nuke report secret
Monday, 26 December 2011
Japan Probe Finds Nuclear Disaster Response Failed
Monday, 17 October 2011
Highly concentrated radiation found in Tokyo
A recent study indicates that radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which suffered a meltdown following the 11 March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, has spread further and was more concentrated than previously thought.
A thorough investigation by Japanese researchers found high levels of radioactive material in concentrated areas in Tokyo and Yokohama, more than 150 miles away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
In Tokyo, one sidewalk in the western part of the city had recorded radiation levels of 2.707 microsieverts per hour, roughly fifty times higher than any other location in the ward where the high levels were detected.Meanwhile, in Yokohama local officials say last month they detected 40,200 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram in sediment collected from a roadside ditch.
The Japanese government has banned the use of rice fields that have been found with more than 5,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram of soil.
Rainwater and sediment containing radioactive materials may have built-up in such spots resulting in the higher readings, but officials say these contaminated areas do not pose any immediate danger to residents living nearby as radiation levels remain very low, even in sites near the newly discovered contamination sites.
In the same ditch where 40,200 becquerels were detected, another spot recorded only 3,030 becquerels. In addition airborne radiation levels near these spots was low.
Wednesday, 21 Sept 2011Fukushima Fallout in California Waters: A Threat?
What you need to know:
Friday, 02 September 2011
Tokyo told to prepare for massive earthquake
Japanese scientists were warning Thursday that Tokyo could soon be hit by a massive earthquake, following a surge in seismic activity. Seismologists at the University of Tokyo detected a huge increase in the number of small quakes in the tectonic plates below the capital. And the scientists measuring the quakes did not rule out the possibility that a combination of earthquakes in two or more points in the earth's crust could unite -- doubling their destructive power. The northeast of the country was devastated by a magnitude-9.1 quake in March, and some seismologists were calling on the government to revise its emergency planning, which is currently based on the assumption that any quake hitting Tokyo would have a maximum magnitude of 7.3. "Because of the March 11 quake, the possibility of a big quake occurring in Tokyo has increased," according to Shinichi Sakai, assistant professor at the university's Earthquake Research Institute. "It is necessary to make preparations on the assumption that a big quake could come to Tokyo at any time and that the danger is greater than before." A multiple mega-earthquake could lead to the deaths of almost 25,000 people, according to a government study last year. Around 20,000 people were left missing or dead following the March earthquake and tsunami.
Friday, 19 August 2011
Bill compiled to decontaminate radiation from Fukushima
As of now, there are no laws to deal with contamination of the environment by radioactive materials. As such, it will become the first law to deal with this problem as the result of a nuclear accident. The bill's objective is to reduce the health risk posed by radiation contamination. The environment minister would have the authority to designate special areas that require decontamination measures. After consulting with the appropriate local governments, the central government will draw up a program to carry out the decontamination work.
Thursday, 17 August 2011
Atmospheric chemists at the University of California, San Diego, report the first quantitative measurement of the amount of radiation leaked from the damaged nuclear reactor in Fukushima, Japan, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. Their estimate, reported August 15 in the early, online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is based on a signal sent across the Pacific Ocean when operators of the damaged reactor had to resort to cooling overheated fuel with seawater.
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Japan;s PM pushes to end nuke program
Japan could soon be following in the footsteps of Germany and shut down its nuclear energy plants.
At a televised press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister NaotaKan pushed to end Japan’s nuclear program.
“Japan should aim for a society that does not depend on nuclear energy,” Kan said. “We should reduce our dependence in a planned and gradual way, and in the future, we should aim to get by with no nuclear energy.”
“When we think of the magnitude of the risks involved with nuclear power, the safety measures we previously conceived are inadequate,” he added.
Kan’s remarks are the strongest he’s made against nuclear power since the 11 March nuclear crisis began at the Fukishima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant which was caused by the colossalearthquake and tsunami.
Wednesday, 06 July 2011
45 percent of children in Fukushima exposed to thyroid radiation
A survey revealed that 45 percent of children living near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been exposed to thyroid radiation.
Following the nuclear disaster and the revelation that radiation was leaking from reactor no. 1, researchers tested more than 1,000 children from newborns to age fifteen in the Fukushima Prefecture.
Children were found to have been exposed to 0.04 microsievert per hour or less in most cases. The largest exposure was detected in a one year old who had been exposed to 0.1 microsievert per hour, which is the equivalent of a yearly dose of 50 millisieverts. None of the children who tested positive had been exposed to more than 0.2 microsievert per hour, the government’s minimum level which would result in more detailed examinations.
Surveys from survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki reveal that exposure to 100 milisievertsincreasesthe likelihood of developing a fatal cancer by 0.5 percent.
In other news, a recent survey of soil at four locations throughout Fukushima found that the soil had been contaminated with 16,000 to 46,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium. These amounts exceed the legal limit of 10,000 becquerels per kilogram.
One sample taken from a gutter, a place where radioactive materials tend to gather, contained as much as 931,000 becquerels per square meter, far exceeding the 555,000 becquerels per square meter limit for compulsory resettlement in the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. Tests from the other three locations found between 326,000 and 384,000 becquerels per square meter.
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Japan's 'most dangerous reactor' severely damaged, could become worse than Fukushima
Wednesday, 14 June 2011
2011 June - Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters, Government of Japan: Report of Japanese Government to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety - The Accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Radiocontamination of tea
Japanese officials have blamed the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant for high levels of radioactivity detected in Japanese tea leaves. Radioactive caesium, which has a half-life of 30 years, was found in leaves at a tea factory in the city of Shizuoka. The factory, in the heart of Japan's tea growing area, is about 360 kilometres from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was crippled by the March earthquake and tsunami. A recall of the tea has now been issued, and authorities will carry out tests at about 100 other tea factories in the region. Exports of Japanese green tea have virtually stopped because of a lack of orders.
Children living near nuclear plant
Local officials confirmed there are 1,670 children in the emergency preparation zone 12 to 20 miles from the crippled plant, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Thursday. The government also announced four locations in northern Japan have been added to a list of areas affected by nuclear radiation from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Date city official Takayuki Sato said three of the four new listings -- all beyond the evacuation zone -- are in the Ryozenmachi area, CNN reported Friday. They include about 180 households about 31 miles from the site, the report said. Government information for the three locations showed an estimated radiation level of 20.1 to 20.8 millisieverts per year, CNN said. The average resident of an industrialized country receives a dose of about 3 millisieverts per year.
Thursday, 09 June 2011
Reports from Japan say that concentrations of radioactive strontium 90 has been found in soil samples from 11 sites in Fukushima prefecture, home of the nuclear power plant crippled in the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. The ABC quotes NHK news as saying the Ministry of Science has found strontium 90 in Fukushima City, abut 60 kms from the nuclear plant. Strontium 90 is produced as the result of the fusion of uranium in fuel rods in nuclear reactors and has a half life of 29 years. It is known to accumulate in bone and bone marrow, and can cause cancer and leukaemia.
Wednesday, 08 June 2011
Japan may have no nuclear reactors running by next April
All 54 of Japan's nuclear reactors may be shut by next April, adding more than $30 billion a year to the country's energy costs, if communities object to plant operating plans due to safety concerns, trade ministry officials said on Wednesday. Several more reactors have since shut for regular maintenance, slashing Japan's nuclear generating capacity to just 7,580 megawatts, or only 36 percent of its registered nuclear capacity. In May, Japan's average nuclear run rate fell to 40.9 percent, the lowest in at least a decade and well below 62.1 percent a year earlier. Before the quake and tsunami, which forced the closure of three other power plants in addition to Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Daiichi facility, nuclear power supplied about 30 percent of Japan's electricity. If no reactors that shut for regular maintenance after the disaster are restarted, it would cost an extra 2.4 trillion yen ($30 billion) to make up lost power generation during the financial year to next March, a trade ministry estimate showed. If all of Japan's reactors end up offline without any restarts, the extra cost would escalate to 3 trillion yen a year, reflecting the need to buy more fossil fuels from abroad while the use of renewable energy remains limited. Among the 19 Japanese reactors that remain online, the last due to be shut for inspections -- on April 9, 2012 -- is the 1,356 megawatt No.6 reactor at Tokyo Electric's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in northwestern Japan, a NISA official said. The reactor came out of its last maintenance period just two days before the March 11 disaster. In Japan, nuclear generators currently must shut for inspection at least once every 13 months. The maintenance period can vary widely, from a few months to more than a year, and the restart typically begins with a one- to two-month test run before advancing to commercial operation, which will require regulatory approval.
Saturday, 04 June 2011
Let the young rebuild Japan, says Yasuteru Yamada, but let the old clean up the most difficult mess leftover from March’s devastating earthquake and tsunamis. The 72-year-old former engineer is recruiting other retirees to replace the younger workers currently braving radiation exposure at Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power complex. It’s not a question of bravery or experience, he says, but one of biological logic.
Yamada tells the BBC:
"I am 72 and on average I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live," he says. "Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance of getting cancer."
Yamada isn’t alone in his desire to help clean up the mess in Fukushima prefecture. He’s enlisted 200 of his fellows--many of them engineers by trade, but also cooks, singers, school teachers, and even former power station workers--who have also expressed a willingness to trade in their retirements for the long road to stabilizing the power plant.
And that road is long. Currently the plant’s operator, TEPCO, believes that at least three of the reactors underwent meltdowns in the weeks following the ‘quakes. The official timetable now calls for bringing the plant to a cold shutdown by January, but some say that schedule is likely too aggressive. Already the allowable dose of radiation for each worker has been raised just so authorities can keep workers on the site.
Friday, 03 June 2011
by Yoichi Shimatsu (former editor of the Japan Times Weekly, is a Hong Kong-based environmental writer and also Editor-at-large at the 4th Media, China).
The decommissioning of the Fukushima 1 nuclear plant is delayed by a single problem: Where to dispose of the uranium fuel rods? Many of those rods are extremely radioactive and partially melted, and some contain highly lethal plutonium. Besides the fissile fuel inside the plant's six reactors, more than 7 tons of spent rods have to be removed to a permanent storage site before workers can bury the Fukushima facility under concrete. The rods cannot be permanently stored in Japan because the country's new waste storage centers on the north-east tip of Honshu are built on unsuitable land. The floors of the Rokkasho reprocessing facility and Mutsu storage unit are cracked from uneven sinking into the boggy soil. Entombment of the rods inside the Fukushima 1 reactors carries enormous risks because the footing of landfill cannot support the weight of the fuel rods in addition to the reactors and cooling water inside the planned concrete containment walls. The less reactive spent fuel would have to be kept inside air-cooled dry casks. The powerful earthquakes that frequently strike the Tohoku region will eventually undermine the foundations, causing radioactive wastewater to pour unstoppably into the Pacific Ocean. The rods must therefore go to another country.
Friday, 27 May 2011
The European Union agreed on parameters for stress tests on nuclear power plants that the bloc wants to conduct to reassess safety risks after a crisis in Japan, where an earthquake and a tsunami crippled atomic reactors.
The tests on the region’s 143 atomic plants will cover threats from natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornados and extreme heat or snow, as well as airplane crashes and explosions close to nuclear stations, the European Commission said today in a statement. Preventive measures from terrorist attacks will be excluded, according to the EU regulatory arm.
Nuclear power stations owned by companies including Electricite de France SA and Germany’s RWE AG (RWE) produce a third of the electricity in the EU. While it is up to governments in the EU to decide whether to use nuclear power, which is produced in 14 member countries, safety is a shared responsibility between national and EU authorities.
The commission and national atomic safety regulators agreed that while comparable damaging effects from terrorist attacks, such as plane crashes or explosives, will be covered in the tests, measures to prevent an attack will be dealt with separately with the assistance from national security officials.
The tests, which are due to start on June 1 at the latest, will be carried out at three levels: first the plant operators will have to fill in a questionnaire, then it will be subject to checks by the national regulator and in the last step the report by the national regulator will be subject to a peer review by regulators from other member states and a representative of the commission, according to the statement.
The final results of the peer reviews are expected by the end of April 2012. Decisions on measures to be taken in the case of a failure of the stress tests will be made by member states.
EU governments in 2009 set their first common standards for the construction and operation of atomic reactors, saying the industry’s growth requires steps to ease public anxiety about the risks. A draft law proposed last year would broaden EU safety oversight by setting bloc-wide standards for nuclear- waste disposal.
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Tokyo Electric Power Co. had said last week that repaired water gauges showed that fuel rods in Unit 1 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant had mostly melted and fallen into a lump at the bottom of the pressure vessel — a state that TEPCO officials have described as a "meltdown" — after the complex's cooling system was knocked out by the tsunami. Fresh data from Units 2 and 3 indicate that fuel rods in those reactors were in a similar state, said spokeswoman Aya Omura. In all three reactors, the melted fuel is mostly covered with water and remain at temperatures that are far below dangerous levels, officials say.
Also, read the comments of three NGOs activated following the catastrophe and the nuclear havoc:
Friday, 20 May 2011
A National Science Foundation release reports that Japanese officials recently raised the severity of the nuclear power plant incident to level 7, the highest level on the international scale and comparable only to the Chernobyl incident twenty-five years ago, says Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “When it comes to the oceans, however,” says Buesseler, “the impact of Fukushima exceeds Chernobyl.” Radionuclides in seawater have been reported from the Fukushima plant’s discharge canals, from coastal waters five to ten kilometers south of the plant, and from thirty kilometers offshore. “Levels of some radio-nuclides are at least an order of magnitude higher than the highest levels in 1986 in the Baltic and Black Seas, the two ocean water bodies closest to Chernobyl,” says Buesseler.
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Letter from Fukushima
This letter, written by a Vietnamese immigrant working in Fukishima as a policeman to a friend in Vietnam, has been circulating on Facebook among the Vietnamese diaspora. It is an extraordinary testimony to the strength and dignity of the Japanese spirit, and an interesting slice of life near the epicenter of Japan’s current crisis, the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Wednesday, 12 May 2011
New forecasts show a very predominate cloud of radiation that seems to blanket most of the United states in the next few days. Looking at the map you can see that the brunt of this cloud will hit the Western United States as well as Canada very hard. With steady winds flowing from Japan and heading east ,we will continue to see this happen. As mentioned in other articles, food supplies have already seen reports of low levels of Radiation being tested, and with these new massive fallout clouds heading east I’m sure these levels will increase.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Friday, May 06, 2011
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said that radioactive substances leaked into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan are expected to reach the west coast of the United States and Canada within one or two years.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
A U.S.-made robot traveled inside Unit 1 and Unit 3 of the crippled Fukushima plant, and came back with radioactivity readings of up to 49 millisieverts per hour inside Unit 1 and up to 57 millisieverts per hour inside Unit 3; the legal limit for nuclear workers was more than doubled since the crisis began to 250 millisieverts; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends an evacuation after an incident releases 10 millisieverts of radiation, and workers in the U.S. nuclear industry are allowed an upper limit of 50 millisieverts per year. A robot that entered two crippled buildings housing nuclear reactors which were damaged during the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, sent back readings which showed a harsh, radioactive environment too dangerous for workers to operate in. The operator of the reactors said, however, that the harsh readings from Unit 1 and Unit 3 at the Fukishima plant do not change the timetable fro bringing the complex under control by the end of the year. The robot was set to investigate Unit 2 on Monday.
The robots being used inside the plant, called Packbots, are made by Bedford, Massachussetts-based iRobot. Traveling on miniature tank-like treads, the devices opened closed doors and explored the insides of the reactor buildings, coming back with radioactivity readings of up to 49 millisieverts per hour inside Unit 1 and up to 57 millisieverts per hour inside Unit 3.
The legal limit for nuclear workers was more than doubled since the crisis began to 250 millisieverts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends an evacuation after an incident releases 10 millisieverts of radiation, and workers in the U.S. nuclear industry are allowed an upper limit of 50 millisieverts per year. Doctors say radiation sickness sets in at 1,000 millisieverts and includes nausea and vomiting.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Japan has told the U.N. atomic agency that 28 nuclear workers have received high radiation doses as they battle to stabilise the stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Of the 300 people at the site, which was hit by an earthquake and tsunami a month ago, 28 have accumulated doses of more than 100 millisieverts (mSv), the International Atomic Energy Agency said, citing data from Japanese authorities. The average dose for a nuclear plant worker is 50 millisieverts over five years.In geology, liquefaction refers to the process by which saturated, unconsolidated sediments are transformed into a substance that acts like a liquid. Earthquakes can cause soil liquefaction where loosely packed, water-logged sediments come loose from the intense shaking of the earthquake. It seems that this might be the biggest problem of Japan now and in the near future.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
CNSC Update – 2:15 p.m. EDT: Overall, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (NPS) remains very serious, but there are early signs of recovery of some functions, such as electrical power and instrumentation to the affected reactor control rooms.
Japan continues to experience numerous aftershocks from the March 11, 2011 magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami that damaged the Fukushima Daiichi NPS. To date, none of these aftershocks, some of which have had a magnitude of over 6.6, have had a significant impact on ongoing recovery efforts at the Daiichi site.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was successful in halting a leak of
radioactive water from Unit 2 into the sea though the use of “liquid glass”.
On April 12, NISA announced that the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had been reclassified upwards from 5 to 7 according to the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). While there has been some media comparison to the Chernobyl event, which had been put at the same level, this comparison should be viewed with extreme caution. Japanese authorities confirmed that this is a backward-looking assessment based on better estimates of the amount of radioactive contamination released in the early days of the crisis, and that it does not indicate a more pessimistic forecast for the future situation. Environmental radioactivity levels continue to remain very low outside the immediate vicinity of the nuclear power plant. Japanese authorities also noted that the total amount of contamination released from Fukushima Daiichi is still only one-tenth that of Chernobyl.
The new INES rating is not an indication of risk or threat but rather an assessment of the severity of the original event based on analysis of existing data.
CNSC Update – 4:15 p.m. EDT: The situation at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (NPS) has changed very little. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is focusing its efforts on removing highly contaminated water that is hindering further progress at the site.
Two attempts to stop the flow of highly contaminated water from Unit 2 into the sea have failed. TEPCO has determined that the pit from which the water is leaking must be drained so that the repairs can be completed successfully.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has announced that the Government of Japan has given TEPCO permission to discharge 11,500 tonnes of low level contaminated water into the ocean to make more storage space available for the highly contaminated water in the basement of the Unit 2 Turbine building. The discharge began on April 4th. TEPCO will also discharge 1,500 tonnes of low level contaminated water from the sub-drain pit for Units 5 and 6 to prevent it from leaking into the reactor buildings and damaging safety-related equipment. Units 5and 6 are in cold shutdown and are considered stable.
On April 4th in Vienna, at the IAEA Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) Review Meeting, NISA, along with the Japanese Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), TEPCO, and Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization (JNES), delivered a comprehensive technical briefing on the situation at Fukushima Daiichi NPS and their response to the disaster to IAEA Member States. The CNSC is leading the Canadian delegation to the CNS Review Meeting with the support of other federal departments and agencies and the Canadian nuclear industry.
NISA also delivered a presentation regarding the remedial actions that all Japanese nuclear power plants have been ordered to take to mitigate an event similar to Fukushima.
IAEA Member States are particularly interested in the impact of the Fukushima accident on the marine environment off the coast of Japan. TEPCO has estimated that the worst-case annual radiation dose to a member of the public would be 600 microSieverts if they ate sea weed and seafood caught near the discharge area on a daily basis for a year.
CNSC Update - 4:45 p.m. EDT: The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is reporting that it has detected water containing radiation dose over 1,000 mSv/h in the pit where supply cables are stored near the intake channel of Unit 2.
Based on recent preliminary reports, TEPCO has identified an 8 inch crack in the containment pit of Unit 2 as a potential pathway from the reactor site to the ocean and is preparing to pour concrete into the containment pit of Unit 2 in an effort to seal the crack. It is thought similar cracks may exist, and efforts are continuing to find and subsequently seal them.
Efforts by TEPCO to cool the reactors and spent fuel storage pools in Fukushima Daiichi Units 1-4 continue with freshwater injection to the reactors and spraying of water onto the pools in those units.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission continues to closely monitor the situation in Japan in close collaboration with other federal government department and agencies, international colleagues and the International Atomic Energy Agency. We will post additional updates as noteworthy developments occur.
CNSC Update - 2:45 p.m. EDT: Fresh water injection into reactor vessels and spraying of spent fuel storage pools in Units 1-4 at Fukushima Daiichi is ongoing. The already large volume of contaminated water on-site is increasing as a result of this activity.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) workers continue their efforts to pump contaminated water out of the turbine buildings and tunnels into available storage tanks. TEPCO is assessing a variety of options for the longer term storage of this water.
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has reprimanded TEPCO over its failure to ensure the safety of workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, particularly due to shortages of radiation monitors or dosimeters.
General Ryoichi Oriki, Chief of Staff of the Japanese Self-Defense Force Joint Staff Office, has announced that 140 members of the U.S. Marine Corps' emergency nuclear response unit are being deployed to Japan. The Chemical Biological Incident Response Force will not begin operations immediately but will prepare for contingencies at TEPCO's troubled nuclear power station in Fukushima Prefecture.
Using data from Canadian instruments deployed in Tokyo and then Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) monitoring network in Japan, a Canadian Radiation specialist working with the IAEA Fukushima Accident Coordination team was able to calculate an average dose to the Tokyo public from the Fukushima accident to date of a less than 75 microSievert. This should be compared to the 1000 microSievert annual dose limit for the public from man-made sources.
CNSC Update - 2:10 p.m. EDT: The situation the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (NPS) remains quite serious. The major impediment to re-establishing full reactor cooling in Units 1-3 and the spent fuel storage pool cooling in Units 1-4 is the contaminated water in the basements of the turbine buildings and the trenches.
The Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reports progress in pumping out the water at Unit 1 but notes that the condenser is now full. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is working to identify alternate water storage locations.
In its March 30th technical briefing, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicated yesterday that there is "severe core damage" in Unit 2 reactor.
Reports of a fire at Fukushima Daini NPS site have not been confirmed.
Media outlets reporting that IAEA has told Japan to widen its evacuation zone, appear to have misinterpreted IAEA Deputy Director General (Nuclear Safety & Security), Denis Flory’s statement about higher contamination and radiation dose rate values found in a relatively small area around Iitate village (Fukushima prefecture), 40 kilometres northwest from the NPP. DDG Flory said, "... first assessment indicates that one of the IAEA operational criteria for evacuation is exceeded in Iitate village. We advised (Japan) to carefully assess the situation. They indicated that they are already assessing."
IAEA Director General Amano announced yesterday that the IAEA Secretariat will undertake an "assessment mission" to Japan as soon as the Agency can access the Fukushima Daiichi site. This would be followed by multiple missions over a longer term, which will include an element of peer review.
Japan and France have agreed to cooperate in crafting new international nuclear safety standards by the end of this year. The agreement was reached during talks in Tokyo between Prime Minister Naoto Kan and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The two leaders told a joint news conference after their meeting that nuclear issues will top the agenda at the Group of Eight summit in late May, when leaders also from Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States gather in northwestern France.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) remains concerned about the highly contaminated water in the basements of the turbine buildings in Units 1, 2 and 3. The need to remove this water is causing considerable and potentially worrisome delays in re-establishing cooling system operation for reactors in the units.
There are questions as to whether the reactor vessel integrity can be maintained in Units 2 and 3 at this point. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reports that Unit 1 reactor vessel and primary containment pressures have decreased in the past 24 hours.
Japan Self-Defense Force on-scene commanders report that the current plan is to pump contaminated basement water to available hot wells and other tanks on the site, while longer-term temporary storage solutions are identified and secured.
The first external radiation protection and dosimetry specialist, from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s Chalk River Laboratory, has joined the IAEA's Fukushima Accident Coordination Team (FACT) radiation protection subgroup. Other experts, initially from the UK and possibly also France, are due to join the FACT later this week. Vladimir Khotylev, a reactor physics specialist from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, also joins the FACT today.
As part of efforts to prevent a recurrence of the ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi NPS, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has ordered Japanese utility companies to take measures within a month to prepare for a possible loss of power at their nuclear reactors if they are hit by unexpectedly large tsunami waves. NISA has instructed utilities to secure vehicle-mounted power sources, deploy fire trucks to supply water to reactors, develop a procedure on how to deal with an emergency situation by using such vehicles, and conduct drills.
TEPCO has conceded that it will scrap the four crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station site, as the country struggles to bring the nuclear crisis under control weeks after a powerful earthquake and tsunami. ''We have no choice but to scrap reactors 1 to 4 if we look at their conditions objectively,'' said Tsunehisa Katsumata, the company's chairman, at a news conference. The company said it will try hard to remain afloat and avoid nationalization even though the cost of compensation in connection with the nuclear disaster will be daunting and will undermine TEPCO financially.
CNSC Update - 3:15 p.m. EDT: On March 28th, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported on the results of on-site soil sampling, which show small amounts of plutonium likely resulting from the Fukushima accident. The discovery of heavy elements such as plutonium is notable as evidence that not just radioactive gases or soluble isotopes have been vented from containment or escaped the spent fuel storage pools. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports the quantity of plutonium found does not exceed background levels tracked by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology over the past 30 years.
The continuing rise in temperature and pressure within the Unit 1 reactor vessel and primary containment is of some concern. TEPCO increased the flow of freshwater to the reactor pressure vessel, which lowered the temperature some. TEPCO also reports that radiation levels inside unit 1 primary containment drywell are on the rise. These developments suggest that venting will be needed at some point. Experts believe that Unit 1’s normal venting pathway, via the stack and through filters, is likely useable. Venting should be controllable, in that TEPCO and the Japanese Self-Defense Force on-scene commanders can choose to vent when meteorological conditions are most favourable.
Actions to restore normal cooling operations to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1-3 reactors and the spent fuel storage pools in Units 1-4 are ongoing. An immediate challenge is contaminated water in the basements of turbine buildings and trenches of Units 1-4. TEPCO uses these areas to run electrical and instrumentation cabling to equipment in the reactor building. Workers need to pump out the water already there and establish a method to continuously remove water until electrical work is completed and pumps and other equipment in the reactor building are repaired.
The trenches in question lead from the reactor buildings toward the sea carrying pipes and electrical cables to the turbine buildings and end 50 to 75 metres from the water. TEPCO has taken measures to ensure that the water in them does not discharge into the sea. As reported yesterday, TEPCO is pumping the water out of Unit 1’s turbine building and trench into the reactor’s condenser and is looking at where to store the contaminated water in the other three units.
The IAEA is reporting on additional environmental monitoring, including the first analyses of marine organisms for radioactivity. Results in this area are encouraging − only anchovy from Chiba prefecture showed any caesium-137. This was barely detectable and over one hundred times below the regulatory limit for consumption.
Noting that the Fukushima crisis has confronted the IAEA and the international community with a major challenge, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said that it was "vitally important that we learn the right lessons from what happened on March 11, and afterwards, in order to strengthen nuclear safety throughout the world". Amano announced a high-level IAEA conference on Nuclear Safety to be held in Vienna before the summer.
CNSC Update - 12:15 p.m. EDT: At 07:24 JST on March 27, a magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck off the east coast of Honshu, closest to the Onagawa nuclear power station (NPS). The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) notes that Onagawa units are in cold shutdown and there are no abnormal radiation readings on site. There are no reports of additional damage to Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Dai-ini or Tokai nuclear power stations.
Accident response continues at the Fukushima Daiichi NPS. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) personnel and other responders are working to maintain continuous cooling to the reactors and spent fuel storage pools, in order to prevent radioactive material releases from worsening. On-site fresh water supply was decreasing, but two US Navy barges carrying some two million litres of water are on site and have been connected to water pumps.
Cooling operations continue for reactor pressure vessels in Units 1 to 3 and the spent fuel storage pools in Units 1 to 4. Reactor pressure and temperature in Unit 1 continues to slowly increase. The temperature in the spent fuel storage pool of Unit 2 has decreased significantly in the past 24 hours.
TEPCO is working on a way to remove contaminated water from the turbine buildings of Units 1 to 4, which house some components critical for cooling operations. For Unit 1, workers are pumping this water into the condenser. However, it is reported that this method will not work for Units 2, 3 and 4. The IAEA advises that the condenser at Unit 2 is “full” and there is no information on Units 3 and 4.
TEPCO has apologized for the “miscalculation” on the analysis of contaminated water in Unit 2 yesterday, saying a new test found radiation levels 100,000 times higher than normal. (TEPCO had originally reported this number at 10 million times higher.)
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the contaminated water in Unit 2 was due to a partial meltdown of the reactor core. Calling it “very unfortunate”, Edano said the spike in radiation appeared limited to Unit 2. Meanwhile, dose rate measurements around the Fukushima Dai-ichi site outside the reactor and turbine buildings continue to decrease.
After new readings detected iodine-131 above the normal level offshore at the North end of the site, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said radioactive water from the NPS might be leaking directly into the ocean. Latest data from 30 kilometres offshore show that concentrations of iodine-131 and caesium-137 are decreasing.
There is no new information on iodine-131 in prefectures near Fukushima Daiichi NPS, nor is there any new information on drinking water sampling in past 24 hours. IAEA reports on soil sampling around Fukushima Daiichi show that the highest concentrations of iodine-131 and caesium-137 are northwest of the site.
CNSC Update - 1:55 p.m. EDT: Latest official reports through IAEA's Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) show little overall change in the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in the past 24 hours.
Lighting in Units 1-3 control rooms has been restored, as well as some instrumentation in Units 1, 2 and 4; most notably water level indicators in the spent fuel storage pool overflow tanks in those units. The IAEA reports that continuous white smoke is coming from Units 1-4.
Fresh water continues to be pumped into the reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) in Units 1-3, although it is reported that the fresh water supply on site has been greatly diminished. Two US Navy barges containing over 1.3 million litres of fresh water each are expected to arrive at the site early in the week.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) confirms that highly contaminated water has been found in the basements of the turbine buildings of Units 1-3; however, there is no firm explanation regarding its source. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that TEPCO has started to remove water from the Unit 1 turbine building to its main condenser and are making preparations to do the same at Units 2 and 3. (A main condenser's function in a nuclear power plant is to condense and recover steam that passes through the turbine.)
There is no new marine environmental monitoring information to report. With regard to daily iodine-131 deposition in nearby prefectures, there has been little change over the past 24 hours.
Atmospheric radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi Plant continue a gradual downward trend. Radiation levels in Tokyo also show a slight decline from the previous day.
There are no drinking water restrictions for Tokyo at the moment. Only one of three water treatment plants tested in the Tokyo area on 27 March, Asaka, showed measurable levels of radioactive contamination, but it was far below the level for any health advisory. The Kanamachi and Ozaku plants did not have detectable levels of contamination.
CNSC Update - 3:00 p.m. EDT: There have been no major changes seen at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (NPS) site in the past 24 hours, although fresh water is now being used for reactor and spent fuel pool cooling in most cases with the exception of Unit 2. This should halt the accumulation of salt deposits inside key equipment and on the fuel elements. International experts agree that the use of sea water for a prolonged period would significantly and negatively affect the ability to cool the reactor fuel. Fresh water injection may alleviate this situation.
The latest radiation monitoring in Japan shows mixed results. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that dose rates on the Fukushima Daiichi site continue to decrease. However, sea water sampling on March 25th by Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) off the coast of the NPS shows a significant (although possibly localized) increase in radioisotope concentrations.
As for measurements of iodine-131 and caesium-137 on land, the results have significantly improved over the past 24 hours. Drinking water analysis results from all 47 prefectures had concentrations well below the limits with the exception of Tochigi Prefecture, where the iodine-131 concentration exceeded the limit for infants.
The IAEA reported that it dispatched two additional teams to Japan on March 24 and 25 to assist in the response to the Fukushima Daiichi NPS emergency. One team includes worker radiation protection experts and safeguards department officials, who will supplement Japan's radiation monitoring efforts. The other team includes a soil scientist and a food safety specialist. This food safety assessment team will provide advice and assistance on sampling and analytical strategies and will help interpret Japanese monitoring data.
CNSC Update - 3:20 p.m. EDT: The government of Japan is advising residents to voluntarily evacuate areas within 20 to 30 kilometers of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, in view of the severe living conditions in the zone.
There are plans to switch from seawater to fresh water to cool the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Salt in the water could lead to a number of issues, including corrosion of the reactors' interiors. To help with these efforts, the US is shipping fresh water due to arrive in three days.
After the residual heat removal system pump on Unit 5 failed yesterday, repairs to the pump were completed. Cooling has resumed with fresh water.
As work to restore full electrical power to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (NPS) continues; power was restored to the control room of Unit 1 and the common spent fuel pool yesterday. At 6:40 p.m. JST water temperature of the common spent fuel pool was around 73 degrees C. TEPCO employees have not yet regained full control of the cooling systems for Units 1–4.
Japan’s nuclear safety agency says it is highly likely that Unit 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been damaged, leading to the leak of high levels of radiation materials. The level of radioactivity was about 10,000 times higher than the water inside a normally operating nuclear reactor.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), in collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Health Canada, is implementing enhanced import controls on milk products, fruits, and vegetables from areas of Japan affected by the ongoing nuclear crisis. Given the evolving nature of the Japanese situation, these measures will be adjusted, as warranted, to ensure the Canadian food supply remains protected.
CNSC Update - 1:30 p.m. EDT: Work to restore full electrical power to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (NPS) continues. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reports that lighting has been restored to the control centres of Units 1 and 3 and various systems are gradually being reactivated; however TEPCO staff have not yet regained full control of the cooling systems for Units 1–4.
TEPCO continues its efforts to cool the reactor cores in Units 1–3 by injecting sea water into the reactor pressure vessels (RPVs). Activities to cool the spent fuel storage pools saw increased water flows over the past 24 hours. The spent fuel storage pool in Unit 3 is now receiving sea water through a normal, internal system instead of external spraying, and sea water is being poured on the Unit 4 spent fuel storage pool using a modified concrete pumping assembly. During the day, white steam or vapour was seen coming from Units 1–4 and workers were withdrawn temporarily at times.
The first radiation injuries were reported yesterday at the Fukushima Daiichi NPS, when three TEPCO personnel were exposed to radiation after getting their feet wet in radioactive water in an underground area inside Unit 3. At least two have been hospitalized.
The residual heat removal system pump on Unit 5 failed yesterday and repairs are underway. TEPCO reports that water levels and temperatures in the unit’s RPV and spent fuel storage pool are not currently a cause for concern.
Environmental radioactivity was fairly stable, and the water safety picture in Tokyo has improved. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government rescinded its advisory that infants should drink only bottled water after tests today at the Kanamachi Water Filtration Plant showed a level two-thirds below that of two days ago and below the recommended maximum. The IAEA reports that it has been advised that the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has encouraged Ibaraki and Chiba Prefectures to monitor seafood products.
TEPCO has revised its estimate of the height of the tsunami wave that struck the Fukushima Daiichi NPS to 14 metres, more than double that of the station's design basis.
CNSC Update - 12:30 p.m. EDT: There has been little change to the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (NPS) throughout the past 24 hours. Additional equipment, including modified concrete pumping trucks, continues to be deployed to spray sea water into the reactors in Units 1 to 3 and spent fuel storage pools in Units 1 to 4. A modified concrete pumping truck sprayed sea water into the Unit 4 spent fuel pool today.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reports that electricity from the grid has been connected to substations in Units 1 to 6. The cooling systems in Units 5 and 6 are now running on external AC power and the units are stable. Other units are gradually having equipment energized as equipment integrity checks are completed. The Unit 3 control room now has lighting, but is not yet staffed or in use. Some instrumentation has been brought back online for Units 1, 2 and 4, which will allow operators to better understand the extent of damage to these units.
There have been periodic media reports of smoke from the reactor buildings in Units 1 to 3. This could be a result of turning on damaged pumps and other equipment for the first time since the earthquake and tsunami, as part of systems integrity testing.
The Japanese Atomic Information Forum reports that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will expand the area for monitoring radioactive nuclides in seawater to 30 km offshore. This decision was made after seawater samples collected from the ocean surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi NPS were found to contain radioactive nuclides above legal standards.
CNSC Update - 12:00 p.m. EDT: Responders at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (NPS) continue their efforts to cool the reactors in Units 1-3 and the spent fuel storage pools in Units 1-4. The Japanese Self-Defence Force is leading the work, with advice from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) staff and experts of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Equipment integrity checks are continuing for Unit 2.
As reported yesterday, Units 5 and 6 have achieved cold shutdown state and are stable. Unit 5 was switched to AC power late yesterday, the first reactor on site to be re-connected to the electrical grid.
There has been little change in the past 24 hours, although work continues on the electrical connections to the grid. Unit 5 is now powered by the electrical grid and equipment integrity checks are continuing for Unit 2.
Specialized water pumping equipment with a reach of up to 100 metres has arrived on site. It will be used to inject water directly into spent fuel pools in Units 3-4.
Over the course of the accident, there has been great interest in how radioactive material may have spread from the site. A team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) personnel Japan is assisting the Japanese government with environmental monitoring. TEPCO reports that it detected cobalt, iodine and cesium on March 21 in the seawater around the discharge canal of Units 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Japanese authorities have reported that they will measure radioactivity in the marine environment around the Fukushima Daiichi NPS. The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology will conduct tests on March 22 and 23, and results will be available on March 24.
Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency: Fukushima Daiichi NPS Reactor Status (as of March 22, 2011 at 11:00 a.m., Japan time)
CNSC Update - 2:30 p.m. EDT: There have been some positive developments in the past 24 hours at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS). However the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that the overall situation remains serious.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) continues its efforts to re-establish AC power to the NPS. TEPCO reports it has completed the cabling to Units 1 and 2 and that systems are being tested before they are energized.
The Japanese Self-Defence Force and Tokyo Fire Department continue to spray water onto Units 3 and 4 to cool the reactor vessels and spent fuel storage pools, while efforts to re-establish AC power are under way. Industrial pumps are in transit from Australia, and these pumps should allow water to be more accurately directed into the spent fuel storage pools. Grayish smoke from Unit 3 appeared for a brief period this morning, prompting a temporary withdrawal of workers from the unit.
The IAEA has confirmed that reactor Units 5 and 6 achieved cold shutdown on March 20. Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) reports the reactors are now in a safe mode, with cooling systems stable and under control and with low temperature and pressure within the reactors.
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced that levels of iodine exceeding the national standard were detected yesterday in the water supply in the Iidate village, approximately 30 km away from the Fukushima Daiichi NPS. Local residents were advised not to drink the water.
Authorities have reported that radiation in certain food samples exceeded maximum allowable levels set by the government. The samples in question were milk from Fukushima Prefecture, and spinach and onions from the neighbouring Ibaraki Prefecture. Federal and prefecture governments will continue to monitor and analyze food samples to detect contamination.
CNSC Update - 12:50 p.m. EDT: Work is progressing on the reconnection of grid electrical power to reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi NPS. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has connected external transmission lines and confirmed that electricity can be supplied. TEPCO reports cooling system pumping equipment will be tested to ensure it is not damaged and that they will begin pumping coolant to Units 1 to 4 as soon as possible
TEPCO continues to inject seawater into the reactor pressure vessels of Units 1, 2 and 3. Water is also being sprayed onto the spent fuel storage pools of Units 3 and 4. Power to Units 5 and 6 is being supplied by diesel generators and the residual heat removal pumps have been started up to cool the spent fuel storage pools.
CNSC Update - 4:15 p.m. EDT: Efforts continue to restore electrical grid power to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station Units 1, 2, 3 and 4. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) says they will complete the Unit 1 and 2 power grid connections by March 20th. In the interim, seawater is being injected and sprayed into the damaged reactor structures to cool the reactor vessels and the spent fuel storage pools.
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) reports the start-up of a second emergency diesel generator for Unit 6 and that cooling of the Unit 6 spent fuel storage pool has started using power from a Unit 6 emergency diesel generator.
The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has confirmed the presence of radioactive iodine contamination in food products measured from March 16 - 18 in the Fukushima Prefecture, the area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
In response, Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission recommended local authorities to instruct evacuees leaving the 20-kilometre area to ingest stable (not radioactive) iodine. As well, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is looking at whether to order a halt to the sale of all food products from the Fukushima Prefecture.
There has been no change in Health Canada’s assessment of radiation risk on Canada’s Pacific coast.
The IAEA also reports that Japan has raised the incident level to a 5 on the 1-7 International Nuclear Events Scale (INES), 7 being the highest. Japan has applied an individual rating to each of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, as follows:
1: INES Level 5
At this time, an effort is under way to restore the electrical grid power to Units 1 and 2. Cables are being laid but have not yet been connected to the grid. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) hopes to be able to supply electricity by Friday afternoon local time.
At 17:30 (Japan time), Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported that Fukushima Units 5 and 6 have successfully regained emergency power and that water is being supplied to the spent fuel storage pools.
Core cooling for Units 1 and 3 appears to be stable. Unit 2 core cooling is not yet stable. The spent fuel storage pools of Units 3 and 4 are considered to be of concern, and the Unit 4 pool remains in need of active cooling. TEPCO reports plans for other attempts to spray water from air and ground.
Health Canada has issued a statement that no radiation at harmful levels will reach Canada.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a travel advisory for Japan.
CNSC Update - 12:00 p.m. EDT: Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) personnel, assisted by the Japanese Self-Defence Force, are continuing efforts to restore cooling to the damaged reactors and to the spent fuel storage pools at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS).
Military helicopters were used to drop seawater on Units 3 and 4, while police trucks equipped with water cannons were being positioned to pour water on the reactors. Efforts are under way to restore electrical power to the station.
All other nuclear power reactors in Japan are reported to be in normal operation or safely shut down.
Following consultations with the CNSC and other Government of Canada experts, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has updated its travel advisory to indicate that Canadians should avoid travelling within an 80-km radius of the Fukushima NPS. Furthermore — given the evolving situation — Canadians living within 80 km of the plant should consider evacuating the area, as a further precaution.
CNSC Update - 1:45 p.m. EDT: The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) remains unstable. Japanese authorities and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) continue their efforts to regain control of the station’s reactors.
· Unit 1 experienced a hydrogen explosion on March 11. Containment is intact. The fuel is damaged. The unit is being cooled with sea water.
· Unit 2 experienced a hydrogen explosion on March 14. There is concern that there is a defect in the containment. The fuel is damaged. The unit is being cooled with sea water.
· Unit 3 experienced a hydrogen explosion on March 13. Containment may be damaged. The fuel is damaged. The unit is being cooled with sea water. White steam was observed emanating from Unit 3 around 21:00 EDT on March 15.
· Unit 4: Japanese authorities informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that a fire in the reactor building of Unit 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was seen at 16:45 EDT on March 15. As of 17:15 EDT on March 15, the fire could no longer be observed. There is no fuel in the reactor at Unit 4. Containment is not a concern. Damage is suspected in the spent fuel storage bay.
· Units 5 and 6 are physically separate from the other units and were in maintenance outages at time of earthquake. Given rising temperatures, spent fuel is a concern.
There are growing concerns regarding radiation in and around the Daiichi NPP. Japanese authorities have established a 20 kilometre evacuation zone around the plant and declared a 30 kilometre no-fly zone. People in the 20 to 30 kilometre radius have been instructed to shelter in place.
Based on the information currently available, there is no radiation health risk to Canadians resulting from the events in Japan. It is anticipated that the amount of radiation reaching Canada, if any, would be negligible and not pose a health risk to Canadians.
The CNSC continues to monitor the situation carefully and is working with other federal government departments and agencies, with its international counterparts and with the IAEA on the analysis of the situation.
IAEA Update - 10:30 a.m. EDT:
Around 06:15 on March 15th there was an explosion in the containment building
of Daiichi Unit 2 in the area of the suppression pool. There is evidence to
suggest that there may be damage to the containment vessel but this has not
At 00:00 UTC on 15 March a dose rate of 11.9 millisieverts (mSv) per hour was observed at the main gate of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Six hours later, at 06:00 UTC on 15 March a dose rate of 0.6 millisieverts (mSv) per hour was observed. suggesting that the level of radioactivity is decreasing at the plant.
Sheltering around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has now been extended up to 30 kilometres, keeping the evacuation zone of 20 kilometres.
Japanese authorities are reporting to the IAEA on the status of their nuclear power plants. To read more, please visit the IAEA Web site.
The CNSC continues to monitor the situation in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and other federal counterparts and is in constant communication with the IAEA International Seismic Safety Centre, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Nuclear Energy Agency, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The CNSC, as the Canadian nuclear regulator, is confident about the safety of Canada’s fleet of nuclear reactors regarding seismic activity. The CNSC would like to reassure Canadians that nuclear power plants located in Canada are among the most robust designs in the world and have redundant safety systems to prevent damage in the case of an earthquake. The CNSC sets requirements and verifies that its licensees meet those requirements. All licensees must have effective emergency procedures in place which are regularly tested through drills and exercises, and can manage potential consequences so that workers, the public and the environment are protected.
Public Safety Canada Update - 6:00 p.m. EDT: "Damaged Japanese Nuclear Power Plants not Expected to Pose Risk to Canada" - The Government of Canada is actively monitoring the situation and assessing the potential risks to Canada as a result of the damage to power plants in Japan. The situation in Japan is not expected to pose any health or safety risk to Canada. Federal departments and agencies are closely working together and are in close contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Government of Japan and the international community to manage the current situation.
CNSC Update - 4:15 p.m. EDT: The situation at Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station continues to evolve. On Saturday, March 12th, a build up of hydrogen gas resulted in an explosion at Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit 1. On March 14th, a similar explosion occurred at Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit 3. In both cases, the build up of hydrogen resulted from venting of vapor from the primary containment vessel into the secondary containment building. Please note that there does not appear to be any damage to the primary containment vessel of either reactor as a result of the explosions.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) continues its efforts to cool the reactors in Units 1 and 3 through the injection of sea water and boron. Similarly, Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit 2 is experiencing cooling system problems and TEPCO, the Japanese operator, is preparing to inject sea water into the reactor.
It should be noted that the automatic shut-down systems on these reactors worked as designed when the earthquake struck, however, the following tsunami damaged the primary and back-up power systems for the reactors, which resulted in the failure of the reactor cooling pumps.
DFAIT Update - 9:50 p.m. EDT: "Canada Offers Technical Expertise and Relief Assistance to Japan" - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, outlined an array of expertise and technical assistance that the Government of Canada has offered to the Government of Japan as part of international efforts to help Japan respond to and recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the country on Friday, March 11.
CNSC Update - 5:00 p.m. EDT: Officials of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) are reporting to the International Atomic Energy Agency on their continued efforts to cool the Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant through the injection of seawater and boron into the reactor core. Similar measures are being applied at Unit 3. Additionally, venting of the containment of reactor Unit 3 started on March 13 through a controlled release of vapor in order to lower pressure inside the reactor containment.
Government of Japan Update - 6:30 p.m. EDT: Excerpt of Statement made by the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, Mr. Yukio EDANO, on the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station at the Press Conference on March 12, 2011
View excerpt (PDF) (Source: Government of Japan)
CNSC Update - 11:00 a.m. EDT: Officials of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) are reporting to the International Atomic Energy Agency that there has been an explosion at the Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and that they are assessing the condition of the reactor core. As a result, Japanese authorities have extended the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant to a 20-kilometre radius from the previous 10 kilometres. As well, the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daini plant has been extended to a 10-kilometre radius from the original three kilometers. There are two Fukushima nuclear power plant sites, Daiichi and Daini.
CNSC Update - 3:00 p.m. EDT: On March 11, 2011, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) was advised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of an earthquake that occurred near the east coast of Honshu, Japan, that has affected their nuclear power plants.
In accordance with established protocol, the CNSC continues to monitor the situation in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and other federal counterparts. We are in constant communication with IAEA International Seismic Safety Centre, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Nuclear Energy Agency, and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The CNSC is monitoring the event closely through our bilateral relations with our Japanese nuclear regulatory counterparts and the IAEA and will work with our international colleagues to identify any lessons learned.
Fukushima Nuclear Accident
Contineous information with the aid of PowePoint presentation
Dose rates in Japan
International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES)
Information for specific groups of professionals:
Centralized disaster information for non-Japanese speakers in Japan