Tag Archives: meltdown

Another Worker dies at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant

14 May

Workers spraying resin on the ground near the reactor buildings to protect the spread of radioactive substances. (AFP/HO/TEPCO via Jiji Press)

By Mandie Sami, wires

A worker at Japan’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has died.

It brings the total number of deaths at the complex to three since the massive earthquake and tsunami struck in March.

The man, aged in his 60s, started working at the plant on Friday.

Taichi Okazaki, a spokesman for plant owner TEPCO, says the man was exposed to 0.17 millisieverts of radiation on Saturday – far below the company’s safety threshold of 5 millisieverts.

Mr Okazaki says the cause of his death is not known.

“No radioactive substances were detected on the worker,” Mr Okazaki said. There were no signs of injury on the dead man.

The worker, who was not immediately identified, was carrying chainsaws with another worker inside a facility to treat contaminated water being released from the plant’s crippled reactors.

He fell ill 50 minutes after starting work at 6.00 am on Saturday (local time) and was brought to the plant’s medical room unconscious. He was later moved to a nearby hospital and confirmed dead.

Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to prime minister Naoto Kan and a ruling Democratic Party politician, voiced concerns about the working environment at the Fukushima complex on Wednesday.

“I would like to spend my energy to improve working conditions. Many people told us working environment (at the plant) is way too bad,” he told a news conference.

The March quake and tsunami triggered cooling system malfunctions at the plant, and caused radiation to leak into the atmosphere and the sea, prompting Mr Kan to review Japan’s nuclear-leaning energy policy from scratch.

Engineers are still struggling to bring the Fukushima plant under control. Two TEPCO employees went missing while patrolling the plant soon after the quake and were later found dead.

The most recent death comes as the operator of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant completes a total shutdown of the facility.

Mr Kan called for the closure last week to avoid a repeat of the disaster at the Fukushima plant, where engineers are still struggling to bring it under control.

Despite the ongoing nuclear crisis, Mr Kan is expected to announce that the country will keep using nuclear power at a G8 summit in France later this month.

Letter Bomb Explodes at Swiss Nuclear Industry Office

3 Apr

March, 2011 cover of radical ecological Italian magazine Terra Selvaggia, attributed to the eco-anarchist group Il Silvestre


A letter bomb exploded at the offices of Swissnuclear in the northern town of Olten a spokesperson for the Swiss police said. “At about 8.15 am, while opening the letter, it exploded,” and injured two people.

A statement from the Italian Informal Anarchist Federation was found in the remains of the boobytrapped letter, Swiss federal prosecutor Carlo Bulletti said, quoted by the Swiss news agency ATS on Friday.

Authorities said the letter written in Italian was postmarked from abroad and referred to three eco-anarchists, Costantino Ragusa, Silvia Guerini, and Luca Bernasconi, connected with the group Il Silvestre detained in Switzerland in connection with an attempted bombing at the Swiss headquarters of IBM in Zurich. Il Silvestre opposes nanotechnology, biotechnology, the state and the military and publishes the magazine Terra Selvaggia.

On the same day, an Italian military officer was injured in an army barracks in the Italian port of Livorno by a letter bomb apparently sent by the same anarchist group.

The FAI has also claimed responsibility for a letter bomb sent to a Greek top security prison where a number of anarchists are incarcerated, Greek police said on Friday.

Thursday’s incident occurred near a Greenpeace demonstration outside the headquarters of Swiss power firm Alpiq, not far from the Swissnuclear office.

The group cancelled its demonstration following the explosion, distancing itself from the action.

“We distance ourselves with the greatest firmness from this explosion. Greenpeace has nothing to do with this attack,” Florian Kasser, who heads Greenpeace’s energy campaign in Switzerland, told AFP.

In a statement, Greenpeace said the demonstration was being held to demand Alpiq formally withdraw a request to build new nuclear power plants in Switzerland, which has suspended plans to replace its ageing reactors following Japan’s nuclear disaster.

In an interview with a Swiss newspaper, Heinz Karrer, who heads Swiss energy group Axpo, acknowledged that “at the moment, it is unthinkable to talk about another new nuclear power plant.”

Another Evacuation as Smoke Rises from Another Japanese Nuke Plant, Japanese Protest

30 Mar

Smoke was spotted at another nuclear plant in northeastern Japan on Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

The company said smoke was detected in the turbine building of reactor No. 1 at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant around 6 p.m. (5 a.m. ET).

Smoke could no longer be seen by around 7 p.m. (6 a.m. ET), a company spokesman told reporters.

The Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where workers have been scrambling to stave off a meltdown since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems there.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. owns both plants.

After the dual disasters, Japanese authorities also detected cooling-system problems at the Fukushima Daini plant, and those living within a 10-kilometer radius (6 miles) of Fukushima Daini were ordered to evacuate as a precaution.

Protest
Hundreds were protesting on Wednesday outside the Tokyo headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co , the operator of the earthquake-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in northeast Japan.

Protestors were chanting “Stop nuclear power”.

The Japanese Nuke Meltdown is being equated to Chernobyl in terms of plutonium release. See the video here.

Thousands Protest in Taiwan Against New Nuclear Plant

20 Mar


Taipei, March 20 (CNA) Environmental activists and opposition political figures staged a protest in Taipei Sunday against the government’s plan to continue the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project, as Japan battled to bring its quake-damaged nuclear plants under control.

Dozens of environmental groups also called on the government to suspend plans to extend the life of Taiwan’s first, second, and third nuclear plants, and urged that safety checks be conducted at all the plants.

The protesters urged the government to reinforce the nuclear plants’ resistance to earthquakes. The power plants are designed to withstand earthquakes of up to magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale.

Furthermore, the government should immediately halt construction of the fourth nuclear plant, as it is located in a quake and tsunami-prone area, the protesters said.

Former Premier Su Tseng-chang, who declared his intention Sunday to seek the opposition Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential nomination, was among the demonstrators. He called for an end to the extended life of the three plants in operation.

Another former premier, Frank Hsieh, also of the DPP, said at the protest that when an advanced country like Japan could face such a serious nuclear crisis, it was only a matter of time before Taiwan would have to cope with a similar kind of danger.

A spokesperson for DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said that Tsai was not at the protest because she had other commitments in southern Taiwan but shared the views of her party colleagues.

Tsai was of the view that the allocations for the development of alternative energy should be increased, and she would be presenting her energy policy soon, the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Annette Lu said Taiwan residents should push for an immediate halt to the construction on the fourth nuclear power plant, and she joined the call for an overall safety check on all nuclear power plants in Taiwan.

DPP legislator Pan Meng-An told reporters that if the government refused to suspend work on the fourth nuclear power plant for safety checks, the DPP would refuse to review the budget of the state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), builder and owner of the plant, when it came up in the legislature on March 24.

Taiwan currently operates three nuclear power plants, with No.1 and 2 located in northern Taiwan’s New Taipei City, the largest city in Taiwan in terms of population, and No.3 in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan.

A fourth nuclear power plant is under construction in Kungliao on the northeast coast, also in New Taipei City. It is scheduled to begin commercial operations at the end of next the year. (By Sophia Yeh, Justin Su, Lin Szu-yu, Angela Tsai, Kuan Jui-pin and Ann Chen)