Japan's Nuclear Reactor Crisis Continues
March 12, 2011
March 12, a buildup of hydrogen caused an explosion in the turbine room
at the Fukushima Daiichi Unit-1 reactor in Japan. The Japanese
is reporting that the reactor vessel is intact, but it is not known if
the explosion caused any damage to it.
government is evacuating the 200,000 people living within 20 kilometers
(12 miles) of the reactor and is also reported to be distributing
potassium iodine pills to reduce the risk of thyroid
cancer. In a desperate effort to prevent a nuclear meltdown, the
reactor operator is flooding the reactor with seawater.
For more information, listen to the March 12 press conference with nuclear experts, including PSR’s Dr. Ira Helfand. A transcipt is available here.
Friday March 11, the largest earthquake in Japanese history (8.9) hit
the eastern coast of Japan, causing the shutdown of reactors at
nuclear power station. Backup power for the Fukushima Daiichi Unit-1
reactor failed after an hour likely due to flooding from the tsunami.
Since then, the cooling system of at least one
other reactor at the Fukushima
Daiichi had also been reported lost, and problems with cooling have been reported with
Fukushima Daini reactors.
lack of backup power puts the cooling system at risk. The cooling
system keeps the extremely hot nuclear core from melting down, as well
as the spent fuel rods in large pools from overheating
and causing a fire.
in the Unit-1 reactor was reported to be 1000 times normal levels and
the reactor operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., released some of
the pressure by venting radioactive vapor from the containment
addition, the radionuclide cesium has been reportedly found outside the
reactor, which indicates that there has been some fuel damage.
Japan Earthquake/Nuclear Power – How Big a Risk of Disaster?
Statement from the Japanese organization Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (CNIC) on the Nuclear and Earthquake Disaster Unfolding in Japan
FDA Iodine guidelines in radiological emergency
PSR will continue to update our site on the situation.
PSR Staff and Board Members Available for Media Calls re Medical Consequences of Japan’s Nuclear Reactor Accident:
Safe Energy Director
(202) 587-5242 (o)
(202) 494-0785 (c)
Ira Helfand, MD
Leeds, MA 01053
Peter Wilk, MD
Washington, DC 20009
Robert Gould, MD
San Francisco, CA
Richard Grady, MD
Seattle, WA 98115
206 526-0551 (h)
206 987-2130 (o)
Andy Kanter, MD, MPH
PSR President Elect
New York, NY 10033
Office: 212-305 4842
Cell: +646- 469 2421
Jeff Patterson, DO