Location of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

At 2:46pm (local time), 11 March 2011, the largest earthquake in Japan’s history damaged the infrastructure around several reactors.
This led to a loss of cooling water from around the nuclear fuel in three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.
The nuclear fuel in each reactor has begun to heat up and melt, releasing large quantities of steam and hydrogen gas. Over the last three days this hydrogen gas has exploded in each reactor, severely damaging each one. There is a lack of information coming from Japan as to the release of radioactive materials into the environment – though it is safe to say the situation is very serious.
Greenpeace is monitoring the situation, and we will continue to post updates here as it evolves.

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Location of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Nuclear crisis in Fukushima Japan

Our first thoughts are with the people of the Japan,as they face the threat of a nuclear disaster, following an already devastating earthquake and tsunami. Our heartfelt condolences go to all those affected by this tragic chain of events.

We commend the heroism of the nuclear workers fighting to stabilize the situation, and seriously risking their health through exposure to radiation.

What this crisis again demonstrates is that nuclear power is a dirty and dangerous power source, and will always be vulnerable to the potentially deadly combination of human error, design failure and natural disaster. Greenpeace is calling for the phase out of existing reactors around the world, and no construction of new commercial nuclear reactors.

Governments should instead invest in renewable energy resources that are not only environmentally sound but also affordable and reliable.

We've created a Fukushima briefing page to answer some of the most common questions we're hearing. As always, the best way to get breaking news from us is via the Greenpeace Twitter account.  

 

What this crisis again demonstrates is that nuclear power is a dirty and dangerous power source, and will always be vulnerable to the potentially deadly combination of human error, design failure and natural disaster. Greenpeace is calling for the phase out of existing reactors around the world, and no construction of new commercial nuclear reactors. Governments should instead invest in renewable energy resources that are not only environmentally sound but also affordable and reliable.

Fukushima I (Daiichi) earthquake/tsunami damage before/after

NOTE: Both images taken before explosions at reactor units 1 and 3.

before
after

 

More information about the reactors involved

Four nuclear power plants located on the eastern coastline close to the epicenter were affected: Onagawa (3 reactors), Fukushima-Daiichi (6 reactors), Fukushima-Daini (4 reactors) and Tokai (1 reactor). These reactors are all using boiling water technology, and enter services in the 1970s and 1980s.

The next nearest nuclear power plant is Kashiwazaki-Kariwa (7 reactors) that sits on the opposite site of Honshu island (the main Japanese island, where Tokyo is), on its western coast.

 

Fukushima-Daiichi (operated by TEPCO):

  • 1 x 439 MW started in 1970
  • 4 x 760 MW started 1973-1977

Fukushima-Daini (operated by TEPCO):

  • 4 x 1067 MW started 1979-1986

Onagawa (operated by Tohoku):

  • 1 x 498 MW started 1983
  • 2 x 796 MW started 1994 and 2001

Tokai 2 (operated by Japco):

  • 1 x 1060 MW started in 1978

Japan has 54 rectors in total at 18 power plants, with 47,000 MW of installed capacity. They generated 29 percent of the country’s electricity supply in 2010.

 

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