Kevin Bullis

A View from Kevin Bullis

Japan Takes Extraordinary Measures to Cool Nuclear Plant

U.S. officials also warn that the situation may be worse than official reports suggest.

  • March 17, 2011

Military helicopters equipped with lead shielding have dumped water on parts of the severely damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, while high powered water cannons were aimed at spent fuel cooling areas in attempts to prevent massive radiation releases. Radiation dose rates have been measured at 250 millisieverts per hour above the plant. By U.S. standards, the New York Times reports, emergency workers could only be exposed to such levels for an hour before reaching their dose limit.

For regular updates on the situation at the plant, check out the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, which produces a table showing the status of all of the reactors at Fukushima, as well as radiation levels at the border of the plant.

Yesterday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommended that the evacuation zone around the plant be extended from the current 20 kilometers to 80 kilometers. The head of the NRC, Gregory Jaczko, also said at a congressional hearing that he had seen indications that one of the spent fuel storage pools had run dry, exposing the fuel and creating a risk of extremely high radiation levels. (Reports have not specified precisely how high.)

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Listen in as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.