Anniversary Observations

The seismic event was huge and was felt all over the world.  With a moment magnitude of over 9.0, the earthquake and was the fourth largest ever in the more than 100 years of recorded history.  Huge land masses shifted as much as 2.4 meters, and the rotation of the earth was changed so that days were suddenly just a little (but measurable) bit shorter.  It had sped up the world.

Fukushima Three Years Later

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Tokyo Electric Power Company's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Station; Units 6 and 7 were submitted for safety screening in September 2013.

In our collective memory, disturbing images played out on video around the world in the days following the apocalyptic Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami have somewhat receded, even if they haven't lost their impact-images of rushing waters, floating vehicles, buildings and debris, massive (and unstoppable) outbreaks of fire, and implications of lives lost and lives ruined.

Decommissioning of Private Assets is Public Matter in Japan; TEPCO Forges Ahead

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Fukushima Daiichi Units 5 (left) and 6 (right) seen in October 2012 behind the newly completed breakwall.

Earlier this month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe conducted a visit to Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station to examine conditions at the site and to gauge TEPCO's response to numerous ongoing problems. When Abe spoke to reporters after the visit, he mentioned (for reasons still unknown) that he had suggested to TEPCO that it decommission Unit 5 and Unit 6 on the site, so that it could focus its efforts squarely on the work required to recover from the nuclear accidents at Units 1, 2, and 3. This was reported with some surprise in many quarters.

Fukushima Two Years Later

At about a quarter to three in the afternoon on March 11, 2011, a gigantic and unprecedented earthquake struck just over 110 miles off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. The quake was followed, just over 40 minutes later, by the first of several rounds of tsunami, which inundated enormous areas and eradicated entire towns and villages. Over 19,000 people were killed or are still missing, and over 6,000 survivors were injured.

Spent fuel at Fukushima Daiichi safer than asserted

In recent days, a number of articles have been printed that assert that a grave danger exists at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear generating station. These articles claim that this danger exists due to the condition of the spent nuclear fuel at the site and the supposedly shaky condition of its storage and care. Two examples:

NRC/Fukushima hearing in US Senate on Thursday

A hearing titled "Lessons from Fukushima One Year Later: NRC's Implementation of Recommendations for Enhancing Nuclear Reactor Safety in the 21st Century" will be held in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, March 15, at 10:00 AM EDT. The hearing will be a joint session of the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety.

ANS Fukushima press conference, March 8 at 10AM EST

The American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima will issue its full report on March 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, at 10AM EST. The press conference will be available for viewing via this link.

Can we repeat facts about Fukushima often enough to overcome fears?

We are within one week of the one year anniversary of the Great North East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. That powerful punch from nature slowly destroyed four out of six of the nuclear units at Fukushima Daiichi while the world watched with rapt attention.

Fukushima health effects

The American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima has been conducting a comprehensive study of the events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the Great East Japan earthquake of 2011. The special committee was tasked with providing a clear and concise explanation of what happened during the Fukushima Daiichi accident, and offer recommendations based on lessons learned. A report from the special committee will be released at a press conference on Thursday, March 8, at 10AM EST. The press conference will be webcast at http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=85244, and the report will be available for download at http://fukushima.ans.org/.

A Fukushima investigative scorecard

Since the Fukushima accident last March, several Japanese investigative groups have been created to try to establish what actually happened. As the number of groups has grown, some confusion has understandably emerged. Here's a "scorecard" of the five primary Japanese investigative commissions, with a brief description of each.

ANS banner, donations support Fukushima workers

A banner signed by American Nuclear Society members during the society's Winter Meeting in Washington, DC, signifies the support and encouragement of ANS membership for the people of Japan and the workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant who are rebuilding after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Nuclear News and the new year

"Waste Management" in Nuclear News

The November issue of Nuclear News magazine, which contains a special section on waste management, is available in hard copy and electronically for American Nuclear Society members (must enter ANS user name and password in Member Center). The special section contains the following stories:

Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works!

I originally wrote this post as a book review, but after three or four edits, I realized that I couldn't mask my biased opinion about the new children's book, Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works! Simply put, I adore this book, as well as author Amelia Frahm, and have something of an emotional stake in its success. So, I decided it would be better to just share the reasons I love this book without trying to hide my enthusiasm.

Earthquake and tsunami signature banner

American Nuclear Society President Eric Loewen and ANS Vice-President/President-Elect Michael Corradini were on the Times Square Jumbotron in New York City with a banner signed by ANS members at the 2011 winter meeting. The banner expresses the support and encouragement of the ANS membership for the people of Japan as they continue to rebuild after Japan's earthquake and tsunami. Flanking the ANS officers are Loewen's son and daughter, Hans and Zatha.

Radiation and Reason: A Visit to Tokyo and Fukushima

I, Akira Tokuhiro, recently traveled to Japan to meet Wade Allison (professor emeritus of physics, Oxford University, UK) and David Wagner (Tokyo-based risk communication expert and consultant). A number of concerned scientists had expressed interest regarding the Fukushima accident. Specifically, there was concern regarding the significance and impact in the nuclear world and also the plight of the victims, especially the evacuees and the workers at the plant.