Greenpeace Response to Growing Troubles at Fukushima Nuclear Reactors

by Jim Riccio

March 13, 2011

Japan Map

Crisis at Fukushima I/Daiichi and Fukushima II/Daini Plants

Reacting to ongoing reports of cooling problems and the continuing release of radioactive materials from the Fukushima I/Daiichi and Fukushima II/Diani Plants, Jan Beranek, Head of Greenpeace International’s Nuclear Campaign said:

“Our thoughts remain with the Japanese people, who in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami are now faced with a dreadful situation, where instead of being able to plough all resources into rescue and relief efforts, the government is dealing with a crisis caused by the inherent and inescapable risks of nuclear power.”

“Despite government statements, the crisis at Fukushima continues to be a race against time, and is clearly not under control. We hope a worst-case scenario will be avoided, and that authorities continue to take urgent steps to protect people against the irradiation, while contamination apparently continues to be released into the atmosphere.“

“Current reports suggest new emerging problems with the cooling of at least two reactors, units one and three, at Fukushima I-Daiichi, both of which apparently suffered some melting of the fuel rods, causing a release of radiation that has been detected outside. Unit three uses so-called MOX fuel that contains plutonium oxide and releases significantly more heat even after the reactor is shut. In a situation where there is melting or damage to fuel in the reactor, several times more radiactive gases would be released, compared to the same amount of normal uranium fuel used in reactor number one. All of this is extremely worrying and tells us that the the crisis is far from over.“

“Greenpeace is concerned about the lack of facts and transparency about the total amount of radiation that has already been released, the exact state of cooling in all the reactors, and about whether the spent fuel ponds are secured — they contain large amounts of radiation and are located outside of the containment – any damage to them would release contamination directly into the atmosphere, we request that Japan’s government share this information with the public immediately.“

“Nuclear reactors are 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.”

Jim Riccio

By Jim Riccio

Jim Riccio served as Greenpeace’s Nuclear Policy Analyst from 2001 to 2017 and has over two decades of nuclear activist experience. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe, and has appeared on ABC News, NBC News, Al Jazeera, CNN, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.

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