|The three nuclear reactors at Fukushima Dalichi. |
#1, damaged with the roof blown off is on the left.
#3 is the white block toward the right.
#2 is in between.
Photo by Masaru Nishimoto/AP, from here.
Note: 3/16, 1:00 p.m. CDT--It is very difficult to know what statements are accurate regarding the nuclear power plants. Today the NYTimes is reporting that the containment vessels of both the #2 and #3 reactors have cracked. The fuel rods in the water pool of #4 reactor are still apparently overheating. U.S. Energy Secretary Chu has said (according to the Times) "We think there is a partial meltdown" at the plant, but is also quoted as saying that he would not want to speculate about what is happening. The Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency is going to make a 1-day trip to Japan, "as soon as possible, hopefully tomorrow (Thursday)" to get the latest on the situation and see how the IAEA can help. The US has said that the military will send an unmanned Global Hawk high-altitude reconnaissance plane to take photos and infrared images of the power plant with hopes that the images could help workers figure out what is going on.
Note: 3/15, 10:00 CDT--It is important to emphasize that although there are reactor problems, the situation with the Fukushima Dalichi reactors is in no way comparable to Chernoybl. It is being highly monitored, efficiently and well managed by the government with the evacuations and distribution of pills to prevent thyroid damage, and information is being distributed as rapidly and freely as possible. Our prayers and thoughts are with the people of Japan as this situation continues, with hopes that it will soon resolve and that recovery can begin.
Note: 3/14, 8:40 a.m. CDT--I have added more videos to the blog a couple of days ago where I'm storing the video links. The last one on the page (labelled 'opening seconds of this one') is incredible. It brings home the fact that life can change irreversibly in seconds.
Update 3/15: 3:30 a.m. #4 reactor has had a fire. It was not in operation when the tsunami struck, but had spent fuel. It is reported to have released hydrogen with radioactive materials. People within 20 km radius were ordered to evacuate, and people between 20-30 km were warned to stay outdoors. At this time, the radiation is reported to be down. The spent fuel rods were removed from the reactors and probably in a pool of water to keep them cool (the situation at many nuclear plants worldwide because of a lack of permanent disposal sites). It is speculated that the water in the pools was drained, allowing the rods to overheat. At the moment, winds are blowing the releases out over the Pacific. The situation at the #2 reactor appears to still be dangerous.
Posts prior to 3/15:
Update: as of 11:15 CDT, there has been an explosion at reactor #3. Video here.