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After the March 11, 2011, earthquake, NHK Broadcasting reported that all six reactors shut down automatically, but that electrical problems prevented all cooling pumps for reactor #1 from functioning. Because cooling pumps are needed to reduce residual reactor heat, a nuclear emergency was declared. Under Japanese law, a nuclear emergency must be declared if there is a release of radiation, if there is a dangerous level of water in the reactor, or if the cooling mechanisms fail. However, there is no evidence of any radiation being released. It was the first time a nuclear emergency had been declared in Japan. The emergency cooling systems also were activated for reactor #2. Batteries, which last about eight hours, are being used to power the reactor cooling during the electrical outage, and the government can use military helicopters to fly in replacement batteries. An evacuation order has been issued to people living within 3 kilometers of the plant, affecting approximately 5800 residents living near the power plant. People living less than 10 kilometers from the power plant have been advised to stay indoors. Nuclear experts say that as of 17h GMT if the situation is not resolved in the next few hours it will become serious. Officials said there had been no radiation leak from the facility and that problems with its cooling system were not critical. David Lochbaum, who worked at three American reactor complexes that use General Electric technology and now works for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the plant was probably equipped to function for some hours without emergency diesel generators. The United States Air Force delivered coolant to the plant sites to assist in preventing dangerous pressure levels. The water level inside the reactor has dropped; however, the rods were not exposed.. Past midnight local time, it was reported that The Tokyo Electric Power Company was considering venting out superhot gas from the reactor vessel into the atmosphere, which could result in the release of radioactives. Saturday, the Tokyo Electric Company reported that radiation levels were rising in the turbine building for reactor 1, and that pressure had "soared" inside the containment building.
Originally posted by JonoEnglish
The people on the coast of japan only had a three minute warning of the approaching Tsunami which arrived some seven minutes later. Not many people could have made it to safety going on that.
On BBC just now.
The death toll will be huge.edit on 11-3-2011 by JonoEnglish because: (no reason given)
# 1851: More on the troubled nuclear plant: Japan's trade minister, Banri Kaieda, says authorities are nearing a decision to release radioactive steam from the Fukushima nuclear reactor in a bid to ease a build-up of pressure, AFP reports. Thousands of local residents have been evacuated.