Climate & Energy Blog

Nuclear emergency ongoing in Japan

Posted Mar. 11, 2011 / Posted by: Kelly Trout

For Immediate Release

Contact:

Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722, ktrout@foe.org; Nick Berning, 202-222-0748 office, 703-587-4454 mobile, nberning@foe.org

Friends of the Earth monitoring ongoing nuclear emergency in Japan

Reports indicate at least one reactor still experiencing dangerous cooling problems

*** UPDATE: 3:45 p.m. Eastern time (U.S.) -- new reports indicate that multiple reactors in Japan may still be experiencing cooling failures. ***

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Nuclear experts at Friends of the Earth U.S. are monitoring the ongoing nuclear reactor emergency in Japan, which has occurred in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami this morning.

Recent news reports indicate 11 Japanese commercial power reactors have shut down after the earthquake, and that at least one reactor continues to experience substantial problems.

The Associated Press reports that cooling systems aren’t working in the 460 megawatt Fukushima I-1 reactor, and that “plant workers are scrambling to restore cooling water supply at the plant but there is no prospect for immediate success.” News outlets have also reported that radiation may be released into the air in order to lower pressure levels within the reactor. The worst case scenario if a reactor core cannot be adequately cooled is a meltdown in which dangerous radiation is released into the environment.

A state of emergency has been declared, and thousands of people living near the reactors have been evacuated. National broadcaster NHK said it was the first time a nuclear emergency evacuation order had been issued in Japan.

The U.S. military has reportedly been working with the Japanese government to address the emergency at the Fukushima plant.

“This is a troubling situation and we are monitoring it closely,” said Damon Moglen, a nuclear power expert who directs the climate and energy project at Friends of the Earth.

Tom Clements, southeastern nuclear coordinator for Friends of the Earth, said, “This incident is likely to cause a sober reassessment of the construction of new nuclear reactors in the U.S., as nuclear technology can go from normal operation to an accident of frightening proportions in a manner of minutes.”

Friends of the Earth nuclear experts are in contact with Japanese activists and are available to discuss the emergency in Japan and what it could mean for reactors in the U.S. with members of the media. They can be reached via Kelly Trout at 202-222-0722 or Nick Berning at 202-222-0748.

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Friends of the Earth and our network of grassroots groups in 76 countries fight to create a more healthy, just world. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

 

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