Tag Archive | "nuclear reactors"

43 Dead After Tornadoes Hit Southern U.S.

On Sunday, officials said that the three days worth of vicious storms and tornadoes in the southern part of the country left 43 people dead and ruined hundreds of infrastructures.

North Carolina suffered most with 22 people dead. More than 80 people were also injured in the series of tornadoes that hit the area Saturday night. Vehicles as huge as trucks were tossed around like toy cars, homes were flattened to pieces, and even airplanes were blown away off the tarmac. Power lines were also cut by uprooted trees and debris of ruined buildings. At present, more than 200,000 individuals in North Carolina are suffering from lack of electricity.

Governor Beverly Perdue told reporters that this is the worst tornado damage that he has seen in North Carolina. He further said that there are 23 counties that are hurt really badly by the disaster – schools ruined, properties damaged, and infrastructures brought to the ground, among many others. U.S President Barack Obama already pledged that the government will do everything to rebuild the state.

Two nuclear reactors in Surry Power Station shut down automatically Saturday night, said Dominion Virginia Power. However, they said that both reactors are in stable condition and that their backup generators are working properly.

The storms started last Thursday in Oklahoma and moved to many other states in the South. Over the weekend, as much as 241 tornadoes were accounted but only 50 were confirmed. Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi also suffered from the incident.

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Nuclear Evacuation Zone Expanded in Japan

Japan widened its evacuation zone surrounding the quake-hit nuclear power plant due to increased levels of radiation, which have had accumulated, as a strong aftershock hit the area on Monday, a month after the devastating incident occurred.

Tokyo and eastern part of Japan was shook with a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Monday evening, which then triggered a small tsunami alert. State television said the aftershock caused an off-site power supply for the damaged reactors to shut down.

Geological survey conducted by the United States said that the aftershock hit 38 kilometers (24 miles) west of the Iwaki city at a depth of 14 kilometers (8 miles).

Workers at Tokyo Electric Power Co had ceased pouring cooling waters on reactors no. 1, 2 and 3 at the Fukushima power plant.

Families living in towns and villages outside the 20 kilometer evacuation zone, where more radiation have had accumulated, would be evacuated, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano. He said hospitalized patients, children and pregnant women should avoid the area within 20-30 kilometers from the Fukushima complex.

Also, Edano said that the decision to expand the evacuation area was based on the data analyzed from the accumulated radiation exposure information. He said the evacuation precautions are meant to secure the safety of the people who might live in the area for 6 months to one year. However, it is not necessary to evacuate immediately, he added.

Previously, Japan did not agree to the proposed plans to extend the evacuation zone despite concerns from neighboring countries regarding the radiation that might spread from the damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima.

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Japan Accident Stirs Memories on Three Mile Island

Memories of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident haunt many of the 8,700 residents who fled from the town as the risks for Japan’s nuclear power plant meltdown dominated the headlines in United States.

Judy Stare, 70, is one of the residents who remember the accident 32 years ago. Back then, her children were adolescents attending high school in a town nearby.

She told her children they might never go back and asked them to bring one of their favorite things before they evacuated from the melting core of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor.

In the nation’s history, Three Mile Island is the most serious nuclear accident. The first accident occurred March 28 when an electrical or mechanical failure occurred on the turbine part of the nuclear building. This led to one of the reactors in the Three Mile Island to shut down.

A valve on the reactors opened to alleviate the build up of pressure. It was supposed to close, but remained open when the pressure decreased. Coolant had already leaked out, which went unnoticed by power plant operators.

The overheated uranium fuel rods started to melt. When the operators noticed that the coolant had leaked, almost half of the power plant reactor had already melted. The crisis in the region lasted for four days. Component failures, personal error and design deficiencies- all had been to blame for the accident.

On Tuesday, President Obama said he was sincerely concerned about the potential public risks of Japan’s quake-hit nuclear reactors. However, he promised to further develop and improve the safety of several atomic facilities in United States.

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