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U.S. Experts Fear Japan Chernobyl Type Crisis in Japan

ChannelNewsAsia | US nuclear experts warned Saturday that pumping sea water to cool a quake-hit Japanese nuclear reactor was an "act of desperation" that may foreshadow a Chernobyl-like disaster. Several experts, in a conference call with reporters, also predicted that regardless of the outcome at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant crisis, the accident will seriously damage the nuclear power renaissance.

"The situation has become desperate enough that they apparently don't have the capability to deliver fresh water or plain water to cool the reactor and stabilize it, and now, in an act of desperation, are having to resort to diverting and using sea water," said Robert Alvarez, who works on nuclear disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies.

"I would describe this measure as a 'Hail Mary' pass," added Alvarez, using American football slang for a final effort to win the game as time expires.

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New Problem With 3rd Reactor in Japan

Reuters | A quake-hit Japanese nuclear plant reeling from an explosion at one of its reactors has also lost its emergency cooling system at another reactor, Japan's nuclear power safety agency said on Sunday. The emergency cooling system is no longer functioning at the No.3 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, requiring the facility to urgently secure a means to supply water to the reactor, an official of the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told a news conference.

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New Plan to Fill Reactor With Sea Water

Reuters (Africa) | Tokyo Electric Power Co plans to fill a leaking reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant with sea water to cool it down and reduce pressure in the unit, Japan's top government spokesman said on Saturday.

"The nuclear reactor is surrounded by a steel reactor container, which is then surrounded by a concrete building," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.

"The concrete building collapsed. We found out that the reactor container inside didn't explode."

Japan earlier in the day warned of a meltdown at the reactor at the plant, damaged when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast coast, but said the risk of radiation contamination was small.

"We've confirmed that the reactor container was not damaged. The explosion didn't occur inside the reactor container. As such there was no large amount of radiation leakage outside," he said.

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Japan Nuclear Plant Meltdown


Nikkei | The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said Saturday afternoon the explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant could only have been caused by a meltdown of the reactor core.

The same day, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), which runs the plant, began to flood the damaged reactor with seawater to cool it down, resorting to measures that could rust the reactor and force the utility to scrap it.

Cesium and iodine, by-products of nuclear fission, were detected around the plant, which would make the explosion the worst accident in the roughly 50-year history of Japanese nuclear power generation.

An explosion was heard near the plant's No. 1 reactor about 3:30 p.m. and plumes of white smoke went up 10 minutes later. The ceiling of the building housing the reactor collapsed, according to information obtained by Fukushima prefectural authorities.

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Obama Blames Oil Companies for Lack of Drilling


Investors.com | In his Friday press conference to discuss gas prices, President Obama was rather defensive, straining to counter the notion that his administration has been unfriendly to oil drilling, something most people would like to see a lot more of these days.

Where do people get that notion? Perhaps his Interior Department appealing a judge’s ruling that it act on several pending deepwater permits had something to with it.

Obama claimed repeatedly that he is not against drilling, then made the following comments:

There is more we can do, however. For example, right now, the (oil) industry holds leases on tens of millions of acres — both offshore and on land — where they aren’t producing a thing. So I’ve directed the Interior Department to determine just how many of these leases are going undeveloped and report back to me within two weeks so that we can encourage companies to develop the leases they hold and produce American energy. People deserve to know that the energy they depend on is being developed in a timely manner.

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