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.
In Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, six spent fuel pools and three reactor cores have the potential to release significant radiation into the atmosphere.
Conditions at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactors, damaged by the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami, remain tense, as water levels around the spent fuel rods in one reactor continue to drop, exposing the rods to the air.
As Japanese plant operators attempt to cool the remaining reactor cores at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, they must work with limited information, since the reactor buildings are highly radioactive, making it too dangerous to send workers in to get more accurate readings.