First Anniversary of Fukushima Accident
(11th March 2012)
The earth quake, tsunami and nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011, is still, in every one’s mind. The Fukushima accident anniversary on the 11th , is a time for the nuclear industry, along with people around the world, to pause to reflect that the consequences of the natural disasters and the accident for the people of Japan remain serious, with much work still to do. The learning process also is not yet complete and Japanese authorities are expected to produce their final review reports on the accident and its lessons towards the middle of this year.
Global industry response to Fukushima
The nuclear industry worldwide is continuing its coordinated global response to the Fukushima accident and aftermath. In more than 30 countries ( including Namibia), the nuclear industry is working through its associations and through international regulatory bodies to ensure nuclear energy provides an even safer, reliable energy solution to meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and energy poverty.
One year on from the Fukushima accident, the industry world-wide is taking stock of the work being done to learn from the accident in which an unprecedented tsunami swamped emergency cooling systems at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power station, causing fuel to melt in three reactors and resulting in large releases of radioactive material. The plant operator, with advice from companies, regulators and nuclear experts from around the world, now has the three damaged reactors in a safe condition known as ‘cold shutdown’ and has begun working through its long term plan to clean up the site, recover the damaged fuel cores and decommission the reactors. This is expected to take many years.
As a member of the World Nuclear Association (WNA), the Chamber of Mines Uranium Institute has a dedicated Fukushima anniversary portal on its website (http://www.namibiauraniuminstitute.com), which provides extensive links to industry and government websites around the world which show how the response to the Fukushima accident is progressing. (The WNA portal, including industry leader interviews, is at http://www.world-nuclear.org/fukushima/ ). The Uranium Institute of the Namibian Chamber of Mines wishes to thank the Australian Uranium Association( AUA) for outstanding cooperation, and for the sharing of information available on its website: http://www.aua.org.au/Content/FukushimaAnniversary.aspx
The following web links provide comprehensive information about how the nuclear industry continues to respond to the challenges created by the Fukushima accident in March 2011:
- The World Nuclear Association’s comprehensive Fukushima portal: http://www.world-nuclear.org/fukushima/
- US Nuclear Energy Institute nuclear safety / Fukushima information site: http://safetyfirst.nei.org/
- The Japanese Government’s Fukushima site: http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/incident/index.html
- The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Fukushima web pages: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/fukushima/
- The IAEA’s Nuclear Safety Action Plan, the key document for international cooperative action on improving nuclear safety after Fukushima:
- Japan Atomic Industry Forum: http://www.jaif.or.jp/english/
- The World Health Organisation’s Fukushima-related web pages:
Thanks to the Australian Uranium Association for sharing the information on its website:
http://www.aua.org.au/Content/FukushimaAnniversary.aspx (which includes links to the WNA and NEI in particular)
Key messages for Fukushima Anniversary
In more than 30 countries, the nuclear industry is working through its associations and through international regulatory bodies to ensure nuclear energy continues to provide an even safer, reliable energy solution to meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and energy poverty.
The cause of the accident at Fukushima was an exceptional natural event which tragically exposed an underestimation of safety requirements and measures at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant.
Almost 20,000 people died as a direct result of the earthquake and tsunami. Largely as a result of the Japan government’s conservative and cautious approach to the nuclear emergency, nobody has died or received a life-threatening dose as a result of radiation from Fukushima Daiichi, and no one is expected to.
The 20 milliSievert per year threshold radiation dose rate the Japan Government has set as the basis for continued exclusion of residents from areas near the Fukushima plant is conservative.
Some scientists and commentators have suggested that, as learned from Chernobyl, Fukushima evacuees are at greater health risk as a result of social dislocation, depression and anxiety caused by over-statement of radiation risk than they are due to the actual low-level radioactivity that persists since the accident.
Stress tests on nuclear facilities around the world have been systematically identifying and addressing any safety deficiencies in case of extreme events.
The world energy situation remains unchanged. Huge quantities of clean, reliable and affordable electricity will be needed to meet future demand. Nuclear power offers a proven, technically mature solution on each of these criteria. The future needs nuclear.
The Uranium Institute of the Namibian Chamber of Mines wishes to thank the Australian Uranium Association( AUA) for outstanding cooperation, and for the sharing of information available on its website http://www.aua.org.au/Content/FukushimaAnniversary.aspx.