As the crisis progresses at Japan's Daiichi nuclear reactors in Fukushima, authorities are struggling to determine the extent of radiation released and its health effects and to decide if and when the reactors should be entombed.
As power is being restored to the Fukushima nuclear reactors, which were severely damaged by Japan's recent earthquake and tsunami, crucial questions remain about whether the cooling system will be functional and the likelihood of further radiation leaks.
While the Fukushima reactor crisis, resulting from Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, remains unresolved, some positive developments have been made. The possibility of spent fuel pools overheating is now the main source of concern.
As Japan rebuilds after the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, its nuclear engineers should reconsider the safety standards of the country’s reactors and seriously consider the likelihood of a reactor facing a disaster it was not designed to withstand.
As Japan struggles to find ways to cool its damaged nuclear reactors, it is increasingly clear that it is in the world’s best interest to ensure that nuclear operators can effectively handle unpredictable and even extreme external events that might impact their installations.
Japan has evacuated its citizens from the area within nineteen miles of the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors, but there are concerns that the country might not be able to feed or shelter more evacuees if the region in danger grows.
Much remains unknown as Japan attempts to cool the nuclear reactors and spent fuel rods at its damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, including whether restoring electricity to the cooling systems will help prevent the crisis from growing.
Japanese engineers are hoping that by restoring power to the cooling system in one of the damaged nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima power plant, they will be able to restart cooling the reactor core.
As Japanese authorities work to cool the nuclear reactors damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, it remains unclear how much radiation is being released into the environment.
The earthquake and subsequent tsunami that caused substantial damage to Japan’s nuclear reactors should encourage nuclear regulators to reconsider the magnitude of natural disasters that they design plants to withstand.