For Immediate Release
Friends of the Earth Monitoring Ongoing Nuclear Emergency in Japan
Reports indicate at least one reactor still experiencing dangerous cooling problems
WASHINGTON - Nuclear experts at Friends of the Earth U.S. are monitoring the ongoing nuclear reactor emergency in Japan, which has occurred in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami this morning.
Recent news reports indicate 11 Japanese commercial power reactors have shut down after the earthquake, and that at least one reactor continues to experience substantial problems.
The Associated Press reports that cooling systems aren’t working in the 460 megawatt Fukushima I-1 reactor, and that “plant workers are scrambling to restore cooling water supply at the plant but there is no prospect for immediate success.” News outlets have also reported that radiation may be released into the air in order to lower pressure levels within the reactor. The worst case scenario if a reactor core cannot be adequately cooled is a meltdown in which dangerous radiation is released into the environment.
A state of emergency has been declared, and thousands of people living near the reactors have been evacuated. National broadcaster NHK said it was the first time a nuclear emergency evacuation order had been issued in Japan.
The U.S. military has reportedly been working with the Japanese government to address the emergency at the Fukushima plant.
“This is a troubling situation and we are monitoring it closely,” said Damon Moglen, a nuclear power expert who directs the climate and energy project at Friends of the Earth.
Tom Clements, southeastern nuclear coordinator for Friends of the Earth, said, “This incident is likely to cause a sober reassessment of the construction of new nuclear reactors in the U.S., as nuclear technology can go from normal operation to an accident of frightening proportions in a manner of minutes.”
Friends of the Earth nuclear experts are in contact with Japanese activists and are available to discuss the emergency in Japan and what it could mean for reactors in the U.S. with members of the media. They can be reached via Kelly Trout at 202-222-0722 or Nick Berning at 202-222-0748.
Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.