The Destruction Of The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

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The destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011, caused by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami, resulted in massive radioactive contamination of the Japanese mainland. In November 2011, the Japanese Science Ministry reported that long-lived radioactive cesium had contaminated 11,580 square miles of the land surface of Japan. Approximately 4,500 square miles – an area almost the size of Connecticut – was found to have radiation levels that exceeded Japan’s allowable exposure rate of 1 mSV (millisievert) per year. For perspective, 1 mSV is equivalent to 100 milliRem, which is the standard unit of dose used here at the shipyard. In a normal background radiation field, an individual is exposed to .02 milliRem/hr dose. Studies of the disaster have identified design changes, response actions and other safety improvements that could have reduced the amount of radioactivity released from the plant. As a result, nuclear plant safety requirements around the world have been reexamined, including here in the United States. Figure 1 shows normal operation of a reactor along with the meltdown process to put in to perspective the summary of Fukushima Daiichi disaster events. In Short it does something like this: The Tohoku earthquake, March 11 2011, triggered a tsunami both of which caused damage to the 4 power plants at Fukushima. The damage caused equipment failures and a loss-of coolant accident due to the in ability to supply the reactors with cooling

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