Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

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.)

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

Subscribe today
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 to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.