Posts Tagged ‘crisis’
Japan nuclear crisis far from over (Reuters)
Last Updated on Saturday, 26 March 2011 06:16 Written by admin Saturday, 26 March 2011 06:16
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese engineers struggled on Sunday to pump radioactive h2o from a crippled nuclear power station while the world’s chief nuclear inspector said the nation was “nonetheless far from the finish of the accident.”
Radiation levels in the sea off the Fukushima Daiichi plant have soared to one,250 occasions normal just about two weeks following it was battered by a enormous earthquake and a tsunami, but it was not regarded as a menace to marine living or foods safety, the Nuclear and Industrial Security Company mentioned.
“Ocean currents will disperse radiation particles and so it will be extremely diluted by the time it gets consumed by fish and seaweed,” mentioned Hidehiko Nishiyama, a senior company official.
The crisis at the plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, has overshadowed a relief and recovery effort from the magnitude 9. quake and the huge tsunami it triggered on March eleven that left more than 27,100 men and women dead or missing in northeast Japan.
Yukiya Amano, the director standard of the Worldwide Atomic Energy Company (IAEA), cautioned that Japan’s nuclear emergency could go on for weeks, if not months more. [nN2679678]
“This is a extremely significant accident by all standards,” he informed the New York Times. “And it is not however about.”
Amano, a former Japanese diplomat who created a trip to Japan following the quake, mentioned authorities had been nonetheless uncertain about regardless of whether the plant’s reactor cores and spent fuel have been covered with the drinking water essential to cool them.
He told the newspaper he saw a couple of “positive signs” with the restoration of some electrical electrical power to the plant.
But he mentioned: “A lot more efforts need to be carried out to put an conclude to the accident,” whilst adding he was not criticizing Japan’s response.
The IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, mentioned it had sent two extra teams to Japan over the previous two days, a single to assist in monitoring radiation and a single to evaluate meals contamination.
Prolonged efforts to avert a catastrophic meltdown at the forty-yr-previous Fukushima plant have also intensified problem around the globe about nuclear electrical power. U.N. Secretary-Standard Ban Ki-moon mentioned it was time to reassess the international atomic security regime.
Engineers attempting to stabilize the plant have to pump out radioactive drinking water right after it was located in buildings housing 3 of the 6 reactors.
On Thursday, three staff had been taken to hospital from reactor No. 3 after stepping in water with radiation levels ten,000 instances increased than generally identified in a reactor. That raised concern the core’s container could be broken.
An official from plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) advised a news conference professionals even now had to establish where to set some of the contaminated h2o even though engineers had been nonetheless trying to totally restore the plant’s energy.
Two of the plant’s reactors are now observed as risk-free but the other four are volatile, occasionally emitting steam and smoke. Nevertheless, the nuclear security company said on Saturday that temperature and stress in all reactors had stabilized.
The government has said the circumstance is nowhere in the vicinity of to becoming resolved, although it was not deteriorating.
“We are stopping the scenario from worsening — we’ve restored energy and pumped in fresh new water — and making simple methods toward improvement but there is nevertheless no area for complacency,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano informed a news conference on Saturday.
RADIATION Ranges Reduced
At Three Mile Island, the worst nuclear electrical power accident in the United States, employees took just four days to stabilize the reactor, which suffered a partial meltdown. No one was injured and there was no radiation release previously mentioned the legal limit.
At Chernobyl in Ukraine, the worst nuclear accident in the planet, it took weeks to “stabilize” what remained of the reactor that exploded and months to thoroughly clean up radioactive supplies and cover the website with a concrete and steel sarcophagus.
So far, no considerable levels of radiation have been detected past the vicinity of the plant in Fukushima.
The U.S. Division of Vitality stated on its website (http://website.energy.gov/content material/predicament-japan/)
no substantial quantities of radiological materials had been deposited in the location close to the plant since March 19, in accordance to tests on Friday.
In Tokyo, a metropolis of 13 million, a Reuters reading through on Sunday early morning showed ambient radiation of .22 microsieverts per hour, about six instances standard for the metropolis. That was effectively within the world-wide typical of effortlessly happening qualifications radiation of .17-.39 microsieverts per hour, a assortment presented by the World Nuclear Association.
In the town of Yamagata, 110 km (70 miles) northwest of Fukushima, the studying was .15 microsieverts per hour.
The authorities has prodded tens of 1000′s of men and women residing in a 20-thirty km (12-18 mile) zone beyond the stricken complicated to leave. Edano mentioned the citizens really should move because it was hard to get supplies to the area, and not due to the fact of elevated radiation.
Kazuo Suzuki, 56, who has moved from his property in the vicinity of the plant to an evacuation middle, mentioned neighbors he had talked to by phone said delivery trucks had been not heading to the exclusion zone due to the fact of radiation worries.
“So products are running out, which means men and women have to drive to the next town to buy things. But there is a fuel shortage there also, so they have to wait in extended queues for gasoline to use the vehicle.”
Radiation ranges at the evacuation center were within a regular array of about .sixteen microsievert, according to a Reuters Geiger counter reading through.
In Japan’s northeast, far more than a quarter of a million people continue to be in shelters, and the influence on livelihoods is turning out to be clearer. The quake and tsunami not only wiped out properties and organizations, but also a fishing market that was the lifeblood of coastal communities.
“Fishermen misplaced their gear, ships and just about everything. About half will almost certainly get out of the enterprise,” explained Yuko Sasaki, a fishmonger in the tsunami-hit city of Kamaishi.
(Further reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Chizu Nomiyama, Shinichi Saoshiro and Phil Smith in Tokyo, Jon Herskovitz in Kamaishi, Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Ron Popeski)
Europe split over nuclear safety amid Japan crisis (Reuters)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 01:52 Written by admin Tuesday, 15 March 2011 01:52
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Austria on Monday called for European nuclear power plants to face stress tests to reassure people worried by the crisis in Japan while Britain and France urged calm.
Nuclear power has been poised for a revival as Europe strives to cut climate-warming carbon emissions and gas imports, but public mistrust still runs high, with the Chernobyl accident in 1986 still strong in many Europeans’ minds.
Public confidence in the industry looked set to fall as Japan scrambled on Monday to avert a meltdown at a stricken nuclear plant, days after an earthquake and tsunami.
The 27-member EU was already sharply divided, with France seeking to export its nuclear expertise, but Austria strongly opposed to any further expansion in its neighborhood.
Nowhere is the issue more controversial than in Germany, where demonstrators have taken to the streets after the government extended the lifespan of Germany’s 17 nuclear power stations.
Germany is on the brink of suspending the unpopular extension plan, government sources said on Monday.
Austria’s Nikolaus Berlakovich called for safety checks at a meeting of environment ministers in Brussels on Monday.
“The people in Europe and Austria ask themselves how secure are our reactors in Europe, around Austria,” he told reporters. “And that’s why I will ask today in the meeting of ministers for a stress test for European nuclear power stations.”
“It must be quickly proven how earthquake-proof the nuclear power stations are, how do the cooling systems work, what is the reactors’ protection. That must come quickly to reassure the people.”
Slovak Environment Minister Jozsef Nagy said he would support a Europe-wide stress test for power plants and suggested nations could be looking at a milestone in nuclear energy.
“If there would a European stress-test initiative, I would support that,” Nagy said in Bratislava.
“I do not see this as a milestone in the energy sector, but this might be a milestone in nuclear energy, so we will learn and introduce technologies that are resilient to similar, or even stronger, natural events.”
Britain, which is planning up to 16 gigawatts of new nuclear power, said it was difficult to draw parallels with Japan, because Europe is not as geologically active.
“Safety comes number one,” British secretary of state for energy Chris Huhne told Reuters. “It’s absolutely the first priority and that’s why I have asked our nuclear regulator to do a report on the facts of the Japanese case, if there is anything we can learn from the Japanese experience.”
“Of course the difference with Japan is pretty dramatic,” he added. “The biggest earthquake that the UK has ever suffered was back in 1931 and the Japanese earthquake, I am sorry to say, is 130,000 times stronger than the strongest ever recorded in the UK.”
The discussion came after EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger called a meeting of EU nuclear experts to discuss the situation on Tuesday.
French environment minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet also stressed that Japan’s nuclear crisis occurred in “very exceptional circumstances.”
“Those questions could only be asked on the basis of experience, once we have all the information, once the crisis is over,” she told reporters in Brussels. “We shouldn’t, at a European level, fall in the indecency of an over-reaction while the crisis in unveiling.”
(Additional reporting by Martin Santa in Bratislava, editing by Rex Merrifield and Jason Neely)
Queensland flood crisis shifts south – Sydney Morning Herald
Last Updated on Sunday, 9 January 2011 08:51 Written by admin Sunday, 9 January 2011 08:51
Some parts of Queensland are on standby for flash flooding as more torrential rain disrupts recovery attempts in areas where raging rivers have begun to subside.
The focus of attention has shifted southwards from central to southeast Queensland which is being battered by heavy local falls.
Authorities have warned that the ground is so waterlogged that sudden downpours can quickly cause flash flooding.
Advertisement: Story continues below
Emergency Management Queensland (EMIT) Acting Deputy Chief Officer Warren Bridson on Sunday warned Queenslanders that they can’t presume what increased rainfall will do.
“This year, with all of the catchments primed (and) the rivers already flooding, that 200mm of rain will mean something very different,” he said.
“It could mean the difference between a minor flood and a major flood.”
He advised people experiencing high rainfall to tune in to local weather warnings.
Global extinction crisis looms, study says – Washington Post
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 12:27 Written by admin Wednesday, 27 October 2010 12:27
A growing number of creatures could disappear from the Earth, with one-fifth of all vertebrates and as many as a third of all sharks and rays now facing the threat of extinction, according to a new survey assessing nearly 26,000 species around the world.
In addition, forces such as habitat destruction, over-exploitation and invasive competitors move 52 species a category closer to extinction each year, according to the research, published online Tuesday by the journal Science. At the same time, the findings demonstrate that these losses would be at least 20 percent higher without conservation efforts now underway.
“We know what we need to do,” said Andrew Rosenberg, senior vice president for science and knowledge at the advocacy group Conservation International and one of the paper’s co-authors. “We need to focus on protected areas, both terrestrial and marine.”
The survey, conducted by 174 researchers from 38 countries, came as delegates from around the world are meeting in Nagoya, Japan, to debate conservation goals for the coming decade.
The researchers analyzed the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List” – a periodic accounting that classifies mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish along a spectrum of how imperiled they are.
Although many industrialized countries have undertaken conservation efforts at home and helped fund this work overseas, “the reality is we’re still exporting degradation across the world” by taking food and other resources from the developing world, said co-author Nicholas K. Dulvy.
“We’ve transformed a third of the habitable land on earth for food production,” said Dulvy, who co-chairs the IUCN’s shark specialist group. “You can’t just remove that habitat without consequences for biodiversity.”
Southeast Asia’s animals have experienced the most severe hit in recent years, stemming from a combination of agricultural expansion, logging and hunting. Species in parts of Central America, the tropical Andes of South America and Australia have also all suffered significant population declines, largely due to the chytrid fungus killing off amphibians. Forty-one percent of all amphibians are now threatened with extinction.
Norway’s environmental minister, Erik Solheim, who is attending the talks in Nagoya, said in an interview that this sort of accelerating biodiversity loss, coupled with climate change, should compel nations to act boldly: “Very clearly, there’s an increasing sense of urgency here,” he said.
The grim study underscores the failure by parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to fulfill a 1992 pledge to achieve “a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level” by this year. The convention’s 193 signatories meeting this month in Japan will set a conservation target for 2020; a U.S. delegation is attending the two-week session even though the United States has not ratified the pact.
Environmental groups are pushing for a goal of protecting 25 percent of all land on Earth and 15 percent of the sea by 2020. At the moment, roughly 14 percent of terrestrial areas and less than 1 percent of the ocean enjoy some degree of environmental safeguards.
The new study documents the impact of such policies – 64 vulnerable species have begun recovering due to concerted conservation efforts, the article says. It provides a snapshot of how the world’s birds, mammals and amphibians has evolved over three decades.