Japan's Prime Minister said Friday that a "cold shutdown" has been achieved at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a symbolic milestone that means the plant's crippled reactors have stayed at temperatures below the boiling point for some time.
Nuclear experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists said again Thursday there are many challenges ahead and few options left to Japanese workers trying to ease the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
After the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, Soviet soldiers had to do the hard, potentially risky, cleanup job. Fears of radiation exposure, sickness and death were rampant. In the months after, however, it wasn't the rate of cancer that increased: it was the rate of suicide.
The owner of the stricken nuclear power complex in northeastern Japan said Saturday that it will hike the radiation exposure limit for its workers at the plant from 100 millisieverts per shift to 150 millisieverts, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu told members of Congress Wednesday that the rapidly unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan may be more serious than the situation faced by U.S. officials during the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979.
The frightening disasters in Japan are mounting. Despite workers' Herculean efforts to prevent a complete meltdown at the country's earthquake-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the situation appears to be growing more serious.
The National Oil Commission, just beginning its investigation into the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, faces a daunting task: Collect information, process it and within six-months make recommendations to President Obama.
If you're searching for yet another reason to hate BP and distrust Washington, here it is. No, I'm not talking about the dead birds, befouled beaches, or zillions in damages inflicted on millions of Americans by the incompetents at BP (enabled by clueless federal regulators). Rather, I'm talking about the way our nation will overreact to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. That overreaction will cause us far greater damage than the disaster itself will, because we'll import more oil than we otherwise would and produce less of our own.
When Goldman Sachs analysts suggested last week that oil could hit $200 a barrel, I expected someone somewhere to express horror at the possibility. But the reaction was a tiny, resignation-filled sigh. Relentless fuel-price increases have so exhausted consumers that we don't have the energy to be outraged anymore. So we feel helpless as we watch oil sprint past the $130 mark on its way to price-prohibitive territory and wonder whether it's too late to bring back the horse and buggy. Our sense of helplessness is an illusion: There are things we can do. We got ourselves into this mess, mostly through multiple administrations of politically comfortable but shortsighted decision-making. And inasmuch as we're willing to stand a little political discomfort, we can get ourselves out.
Ralph DeSantis was home in bed before dawn on March 28, 1979 when his phone rang. It was his shift supervisor at Three Mile Island (TMI), calling from the plant. "'We have an emergency at Unit II and it's serious,'" is the first thing DeSantis remembers hearing. Then he heard the alarms going off.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission failed to identify and prevent corrosion at an Ohio nuclear plant more than two years ago, an oversight that was the most serious safety incident since the 1979 Three Mile Island disaster, according to a report released Tuesday by the investigative arm of Congress.