Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Heroes of the Day: The Engineers of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 1:20 PM

There's plenty of terrible news still coming out of Japan on a regular basis, but there are also wildly unfortunate stories of heroism, like those of the engineers who stayed behind at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant:

Engineers at the plant, working at tremendous personal risk, on Tuesday continued efforts to cool down the most heavily damaged unit, reactor No. 2, by pumping in seawater. According to government statements, most of the 800 workers at the plant had been withdrawn, leaving 50 or so workers in a desperate effort to keep the cores of three stricken reactors cooled with seawater pumped by firefighting equipment, while crews battled to put out the fire at the No. 4 reactor, which they claimed to have done just after noon on Tuesday.


Radiation measurements reported on Tuesday showed a spike of radioactivity around the plant that made the leakage significantly worse than it had been, with levels measured at one point as high as 400 millisieverts an hour. Even 7 minutes of exposure at that level will reach the maximum annual dose that a worker at an American nuclear plant is allowed. And exposure for 75 minutes would likely lead to acute radiation sickness.


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