By: Paul Joseph Watson
Friday, March 11, 2011
Attempts to cool malfunctioning reactor cores at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have failed
The horrifying consequences of the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since records began are only just beginning to be discovered, with the tsunami that followed causing massive devastation and engulfing cities and airports, leading to the declaration of a nuclear emergency at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant after efforts to cool malfunctioning reactor cores failed.
The 8.9 magnitude quake that struck Japan’s north eastern coast this morning sent 30 foot high waves sweeping through impacted areas and the death toll is climbing by the hour.
But an even greater tragedy could be imminent after Japanese authorities declared a nuclear emergency following technicians’ failure to pump water to cool a nuclear reactor plant located in the town of Okuma.
“The operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reported an abnormality Friday following a powerful earthquake which hit a wide area in northeastern Japan including Fukushima Prefecture, the industry ministry said,” reports Kyodo Wire.
“The system to cool reactor cores in case of emergency stopped at the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors of the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., it said.”
NHK Broadcasting reports that all six reactors shut down immediately following the earthquake, but that electrical problems prevented cooler pumps in reactor #1 from functioning. Emergency cooling systems were successfully activated for reactor #2, but presumably failed for reactor #1.
Under Japanese law, authorities are mandated to issue a nuclear emergency if the cooling mechanisms fail, and they did exactly that for the first time in Japan’s history after it became clear that attempts to cool the reactor were “not going as planned”.
Fukushima No. 1 is one of the largest nuclear plants in the world and has eight separate units located on the site. Thankfully, so far there’s no evidence of any radioactive leakage.
“Regarding our nuclear power facilities, so far no radioactive material has been leaked to the outside. Given the situation, an emergency disaster response has been set up as myself as a head. We will secure the safety of the people of Japan. We ask the people of Japan to act calmly,” said Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
The Tokyo Electric Power Co says it faces a shortage of electrical capacity to cool its reactors, but as Time Magazine points out, “The reactors at Fukushima should will have multiple, redundant safety features installed to help cool reactor cores and prevent meltdown so its unclear what the company means by a “shortage of capacity.”
In a related story, “A fire broke out in the turbine building of Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture on Friday,” reports AFP.
The effects of the tsunami are now expected to impact American shores, with many areas of Hawaii being evacuated as people panic buy food in preparation for the impact of tidal waves expected to hit early this morning. The aftermath of the tsunami could completely submerge low lying islands including Guam, experts fear.