IAEA Update on Japan Earthquake
IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC)International Seismic Safety Centre (ISSC)Response Assistance Network (RANET) Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA)Listen to this story
(not radioactive) iodine. As an established method of prevention, the ingestion of stable iodine can help to prevent the accumulation of radioactive iodine in the thyroid. Stable iodine pills and syrup (for children) have been made available at evacuation centres. Second, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has ordered a stop to the sale of all food products from the Fukushima Prefecture.The IAEA has passed this information to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and will continue to report on this development.According to materials on its website, the FAO is prepared to respond upon request from the Government of Japan in the following areas:
- assessing radioactive contamination of the agricultural environment, especially foods
- providing technical advice and determining appropriate medium- and long-term measures for agriculture -- including soil, land, forests, crops, fisheries, animal health and welfare and food safety
- facilitating international trade of foods, including agricultural produceThe IAEA continues to gather information on this development and will report further as events warrant.
Japan Earthquake Update (19 March 2011, 4:30 UTC)
Summary of conditions at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plantLocated on the Eastern coast of Japan, the six nuclear power reactors at Daiichi are boiling water reactors (BWRs). A massive earthquake on 11 March severed off-site power to the plant and triggered the automatic shutdown of the three operating reactors - Units 1, 2, and 3. The control rods in those units were successfully inserted into the reactor cores, ending the fission chain reaction. The remaining reactors - Units 4, 5, and 6 -- had previously been shut down for routine maintenance purposes. Backup diesel generators, designed to start up after losing off-site power, began providing electricity to pumps circulating coolant to the six reactors.Soon after the earthquake, a large tsunami washed over the reactor site, knocking out the backup generators. While some batteries remained operable, the entire site lost the ability to maintain proper reactor cooling and water circulation functions.Here is the current status of the six reactors, based on documents and confirmed by Japanese officials (new information in bold):Unit 1Coolant within Unit 1 is covering about half of the fuel rods in the reactor, leading to fuel damage. High pressure within the reactor's containment led operators to vent gas from the containment. Later, an explosion destroyed the outer shell of the reactor building above the containment on 12 March.There are no indications of problems with either the reactor pressure vessel or the primary containment vessel. Efforts to pump seawater into the reactor core are continuing.
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