Over the past few days there’s been buzz around whether the melted-down reactors at Fukushima Daiichi are near “cold shutdown”. Since the nuclear crisis began, achieving cold shutdown has been the major goal of the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which runs the plant. Loosely speaking, it would mean that the stricken reactors at the plant no longer require active cooling and that the immediate nuclear crisis is more or less over.
Scientists have downplayed the significance of the detection of radioactive xenon at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, announced today.
Japan has launched a long-term project to monitor children near the Fukushima nuclear plant for thyroid problems.
Monju, Japan’s prototype fast breeder reactor, has had its research budget slashed. This might not come as a big surprise, given the anti-nuke sentiment in Japan and the tattered state of its nuclear energy policy. Still, with this latest blow, the woeful state of the ill-fated reactor is all the more striking. It could be maintained — with the help of a one-off Y20 billion yen (US$262 million) allocation — but the annual research budget will be cut 70%~80% from its previous Y10 billion.
In the days and weeks after the nuclear accident at Fukushima, many journalists, policy-makers and members of the public turned to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for an independent look at the crisis as it unfolded.
The German company Siemens is pulling out of nuclear power for good. In an interview with der Spiegel published on 18 September, CEO Peter Löscher announced that the company would no longer build or finance nuclear power plants in Germany or anywhere else (English version). Löscher said the decision was in large part due to the accident at Fukushima Daiichi and the German government’s decision to shut down its existing nuclear plants by 2022.
The meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima power plant has led to an ongoing crisis in Japan. Nature Video provides an update on efforts to stabilize the reactors, and the consequences of the emergency for Japan and nuclear power worldwide.
This Sunday marks the six-month anniversary of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. The accident has slipped from the headlines, but new data are coming out all the time. Some of the most recent findings are allowing the best comparison yet of Fukushima with Chernobyl.