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Japan nuclear agency upgrades Fukushima alert level

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, BBC
Japan's nuclear agency has upgraded the severity level of a radioactive water leak at the Fukushima plant from one to three on an international scale. Highly radioactive water was found to be leaking from a storage tank into the ground at the plant on Monday.

It was first classified as a level one incident on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (Ines).

But Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority proposes elevating it to level three on the seven-point scale...
(21 August 2013)


Japan's nuclear crisis deepens, China expresses 'shock'

Kiyoshi Takenaka and James Topham, Reuters
Japan's nuclear crisis escalated to its worst level since a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima plant more than two years ago, with the country's nuclear watchdog saying it feared more storage tanks were leaking contaminated water.

The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Wednesday it viewed the situation at Fukushima "seriously" and was ready to help if called upon, while nearby China said it was "shocked" to hear contaminated water was still leaking from the plant, and urged Japan to provide information "in a timely, thorough and accurate way".

"We hope the Japanese side can earnestly take effective steps to put an end to the negative impact of the after-effects of the Fukushima nuclear accident," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement faxed to Reuters in Beijing...
(21 August 2013)


Insight: After disaster, the deadliest part of Japan's nuclear clean-up

Aaron Sheldrick and Antoni Slodkowski, Reuters
The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is preparing to remove 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel from a damaged reactor building, a dangerous operation that has never been attempted before on this scale.

Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area...

"They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods," said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies...
(13 August 2013)

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