Fukushima Daiichi: Nuclear Emergency After Japan Tsunami
Nuclear Power Plant Emergency at Fukushima Daiichi
As the massive earthquake and devastating tsunami struck Japan's east coast, the nation's emergency response procedures kicked in. This included management of the nuclear power plants that supply a third of Japan's electricity.
Nuclear facilities in the area were automatically shut down, but one reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant failed to shut down correctly. As per Japanese law, a state of emergency was declared, though the reactor is not leaking. Around 2,000 people were evacuated from the area. The US transported coolant to the plant, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the United States will offer any additional supplies or assistance as needed.
The stakes are high: in a worst-case scenario, a reactor leak at Fukushima would be worse than Chernobyl:
"Up to 100 percent of the volatile radioactive Cesium-137 content of the pools could go up in flames and smoke, to blow downwind over large distances," said Kevin Kamps a nuclear waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear.