Fukushima: what’s next?

Japanese nuclear scientists cannot ensure the process of cooling the fuel containment pool in the fourth sector of the earthquake-stricken Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency is registering a constant growth of the radiation level at the plant. All the six reactors are out of order. French experts have given this disaster 6 points in the international scale of such incidents. The maximum 7 was given only once, during the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.

Japanese experts are trying to find out if there is a danger of the cooling liquid leaking through the walls of the power generating unit that have been damaged as a result of the earthquake and the explosions and a fire that followed. Meanwhile, representatives of the Tokyo Electric company declare that the radiation level on the plant grounds has reached the critical point and it is extremely dangerous for the staff of the plant to remain there. The radioactivity level exceeds the standard hundredfold. The population of Fukushima and Ibaraka Prefectures, that are in the 20-kilometre area of radioactivity danger, has been urgently evacuated. Now is the turn of the staff of the plant. Only those will remain without whom control over the plant is impossible.

Russia voiced readiness to send two flying hospitals and sniffer dog units. But Tokyo’s refusal to receive them aroused dismay in Moscow. A team of Russian nuclear specialists of international renown is ready to fly to Japan immediately to provide assistance. But no permission for the flight has been given. Russia hopes that these misunderstanding will be speedily removed.

Meanwhile, 75 Russian rescuers are already searching for survivors in the quake-hit city of Sendai, Irina Andriyanova, the spokesperson for the Emergency Ministry, told the Voice of Russia.

“Sendai is located 64 km from the Fukishima-1 and Fukushima-2 nuclear power plants. The Russian rescuers’ camp is 4 km north of the city. There are 50 rescuers from the Tsentrospas unit and 25 men from the Far-Eastern Regional Rescue Center. They have four rescue vehicles, a diesel power generator, and enough water and food to support them for two weeks. They also have dose-meters to measure radiation levels. At present, radiation does not exceed the norm. There is no threat to our rescuers’ health.”

The Russian rescue team were told what exactly they should do in the devastated area.

As far as possible impact of the Japanese nuclear situation on the Russian Far East is concerned, experts say there is no threat to human health. However, special task services are preparing for the worst-case scenario. 

Leave a comment