Thursday, March 17, 2011



March 17, 2011

“Serious Danger of a Full Core Meltdown”: Update on Japan’s Nuclear Catastrophe

Fears of a full-scale nuclear reactor meltdown are increasing as Japanese authorities use military helicopters to dump water on the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. The water appears to have missed its target and failed to cool the plant’s reactors and spent fuel rods. “The walls of defense are falling, with the melting of the cores, the collapsing of the—we’re expecting the collapsing of the vessels. And then, with these damaged containments, these are all open windows to the atmosphere,” says Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear. Some experts say U.S. reactors are safer than those in Japan. But investigative journalist, Karl Grossman, notes a 1985 report by the National Regulatory Commission acknowledged a 50 percent chance of a severe core accident among the more than 100 nuclear power plants in the United States over a 20-year period. [original w/ transcript]

March 17, 2011

Report from Sendai: Fears of Radioactivity Are Hampering Tsunami Relief Efforts

The official death toll from the earthquake and tsunami has risen to 5,000, and at least 9,400 people are missing. Some 850,000 households have no power, and 1.5 million houses lack running water. Food and gas supplies have been nearly exhausted. We speak with video journalist Tetsuo Jimbo, who is in Sendai, Japan, one of the worst-hit areas. He describes the destruction of Rikuzen-Takata, a city formerly home to around 20,000 residents, half of whom are now missing. Jimbo says fears of radioactivity are hampering relief efforts. “The government is overwhelmed. They don’t have enough personnel to devote to respond to the relief effort or the rescue effort.” [original w/ transcript]

March 17, 2011

Hiroshima Organizes Scientific Teams and Medical Treatment Centers to Receive Victims of Radiation Poisoning

For more on the emergency response effort, we speak with Steven Leeper of the Peace Culture Foundation, which manages the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima. “In Hiroshima, we are pretty sensitive to radiation issues, and we’re very sensitive to disaster issues,” Leeper says. “We are known as a place that knows about radiation. We have a team of doctors. They left yesterday to go up into that area with their equipment to try to figure out what kind of radiation is up there. We’ve also prepared a lot of apartments, and the hospitals are making preparations to receive radiation victims, people who are suffering from radiation poisoning." [original w/ transcript]

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