The situation at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan continues to worry the authorities and beginning to raise some serious health concerns. The recent reports acknowledge that work to cool down troubled reactors has temporarily stopped. We reviewed the dangers of radiation risk in our last article. Let’s review the latest situation at Fukushima nuclear plant.
How many people were working on cooling down the reactors?
The cool down activities were handled by around 180 workers, which worked in shift of 50 men. The men have been nicknamed the “Fukushima Fifty.”
What is the situation with cooling down of reactors?
It has been reported that radiation levels were as high as 10 millisieverts per hour today (equivalent to getting exposed to CT scan, every hour). Although these levels are much below 1 sieverts, but still constant exposure to these levels could be harmful. The work at plant has temporarily halted and as stated by Dr. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist, “It’s gotten worse. We’re talking about workers coming into the reactor perhaps as a suicide mission and we may have to abandon ship.”
Aftermath of fires in reactor 4 and a rising cloud of radioactive vapor from unit 3, the plant site was deemed risky for the workers to continue their critical work of pumping sea water on the damaged reactors and fuel ponds.
Can this be another Chernobyl?
For those who are not familiar, Chernobyl was one of the most fatal nuclear power plant failure that happened in Russia. The danger that lies ahead is that apart from inability to cool, “presence” of cracks in containment vessel has been speculated. The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum confirmed damage to Units 2 and 3.
“We have cracks...
now, cracks in the containment vessels and if those cracks grow or if there’s an explosion, we’re talking a full blown Chernobyl, something beyond Chernobyl,” Kaku said.
What are some options to avoid Chernobyl type failure?
Helicopers that were dumping sea water on the nuclear reactors have been temporarily stopped due to heightened radiation levels.
Kaku acknowledges that “I think the last ace in the hole is the Japanese Air Force, the military at some point may have to take over, may have to bury these reactors in concrete just like we did at Chernobyl, sandbagging the reactor with 5,000 tons of concrete, boric acid and sand.”
Another step that Japanese government has taken is called the United State’s help in the crisis. As per the reports, seven additional experts from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission arrived in Japan today.
I think international community has to help Japan to avoid the nuclear power plant disaster before it reaches Chernobyl level. US has send experts and as per BBC The European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) has alerted its members, which include 3,000 medics in specialist units to be on standby to treat Japanese radiation victims if the need arises. We urge our readers to make contribution through NGO to help Japanese people revive from earthquake, tsunami and now nuclear power plant crisis.