Nuclear accidents in Japan facts for kids
Nuclear accidents in Japan include the following major cases:
- The fast breeder Monju Nuclear Power Plant sodium leak in December 1995 (the reactor is still shut-down), the Tokai reprocessing waste explosion in March 1997, the criticality accident at the Tokai fuel fabrication facility in September 1999 and a widespread falsification scandal starting in August 2002 that lead to shut down all of Tokyo Electric Power Company's 17 nuclear reactors.
- Also, on 9 August 2004, five workers were killed after a steam leak at the Mihama Nuclear Power Plant-3 station. The subsequent investigation revealed a serious lack in systematic inspection in Japanese nuclear plants, which led to a massive inspection program.
- On 16 July 2007, a severe earthquake (measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale) hit the region where Tokyo Electric's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant is located. The plant with seven units is the largest single nuclear power station in the world. All of the reactors were shut down and are expected to remain closed for damage verification and repairs for at least one year.
- Following an earthquake, tsunami, and failure of cooling systems at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan on March 11, 2011, a nuclear emergency was declared. This was the first time a nuclear emergency had been declared in Japan, and 140,000 residents within 20km of the plant were moved out. Explosions and a fire resulted in dangerous levels of radiation, resulting in a stock market collapse and panic-buying in supermarkets. As of April 2011, water is still being poured into the damaged reactors to cool melting fuel rods. John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit at the UK's National Nuclear Corporation, has said that it "might be 100 years before melting fuel rods can be safely removed from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant". Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the International Energy Agency halved its estimate of additional nuclear generating capacity to be built by 2035.
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