IAEA Update on Japan Crisis

http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html

IAEA update on Japan Earthquake
Japan Earthquake Update (13 March 2011 13:35 CET)

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) that venting of the containment of reactor Unit 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant started at 9:20 AM local Japan time of 13 March through a controlled release of vapour. The operation is intended to lower pressure inside the reactor containment.

Subsequently, following the failure of the high pressure injection system and other attempts of cooling the plant, injection of water first and sea water afterwards started. The authorities have informed the IAEA that accumulation of hydrogen is possible.

Japanese authorities have also informed the IAEA that the first (i.e., lowest) state of emergency at the Onagawa nuclear power plant has been reported by Tohoku Electric Power Company. The authorities have informed the IAEA that the three reactor units at the Onagawa nuclear power plant are under control.

As defined in Article 10 of Japan’s Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, the alert was declared as a consequence of radioactivity readings exceeding allowed levels in the area surrounding the plant. Japanese authorities are investigating the source of radiation. The IAEA has offered its “Good Offices” to Japan to support the nation’s response to the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. One IAEA capability intended to help member states during crises is the Response and Assistance Network (RANET). The network consists of nations that can offer specialized assistance after a radiation incident or emergency. Such assistance is coordinated by the IAEA within the framework of the Assistance Convention.

The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities and is monitoring the situation as it evolves.

0235 CET, 13 March 2011 — CORRECTED

An earlier version of this release incorrectly described pressure venting actions at Units 1, 2, and 4 at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant. Venting did not occur at these units.

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that Units 1, 2, and 4 at the Fukushima Daini retain off-site power. Daini Unit 3 is in a safe, cold shutdown, according to Japanese officials.

Japanese authorities have reported some casualties to nuclear plant workers. At Fukushima Daichi, four workers were injured by the explosion at the Unit 1 reactor, and there are three other reported injuries in other incidents. In addition, one worker was exposed to higher-than-normal radiation levels that fall below the IAEA guidance for emergency situations. At Fukushima Daini, one worker has died in a crane operation accident and four others have been injured.

In partnership with the World Meteorological Organization, the IAEA is providing its member states with weather forecasts for the affected areas in Japan. The latest predictions have indicated winds moving to the Northeast, away from Japanese coast over the next three days.

The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities and is monitoring the situation as it evolves.

2110 CET, 12 March 2011

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that the explosion at Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant occurred outside the primary containment vessel (PCV), not inside. The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has confirmed that the integrity of the primary containment vessel remains intact.

As a countermeasure to limit damage to the reactor core, TEPCO proposed that sea water mixed with boron be injected into the primary containment vessel. This measure was approved by Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the injection procedure began at 20:20 local Japan time.

Japan has reported that four workers at Fukushima Daiichi were injured by the explosion.

NISA have confirmed the presence of caesium-137 and iodine-131 in the vicinity of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1. NISA reported an initial increase in levels of radioactivity around the plant earlier today, but these levels have been observed to lessen in recent hours.

Containment remains intact at Fukushima Daiichi Units 1, 2 and 3.

Evacuations around both affected nuclear plants have begun. In the 20-kilometre radius around Fukushima Daiichi an estimated 170000 people have been evacuated. In the 10-kilometre radius around Fukushima Daini an estimated 30000 people have been evacuated. Full evacuation measures have not been completed.

The Japanese authorities have classified the event at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 as a level 4 ‘Accident with Local Consequences’ on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). The INES scale is used to promptly and consistently communicate to the public the safety significance of events associated with sources of radiation. The scale runs from 0 (deviation) to 7 (major accident).

Japan has also confirmed the safety of all its nuclear research reactors.

The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities and is monitoring the situation as it evolves.

2000 CET, 12 March 2011
IAEA Director General’s Update on Tsunami and Earthquake Emergency Response

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano provided a video statement on the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. Director General Amano expressed his sincerest condolences for the lives and homes lost, and said “My heart goes out to the people of my home country as they rise to the challenge of this immense tragedy.”

Director General Amano notes the current effort to prevent further damage to Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

In response to the situation, Director General Amano also explained the IAEA’s dual role to use emergency communication channels to exchange verified, official information between Japan and other IAEA Member States, as well as to coordinate the delivery of international assistance, should Japan or other affected countries request it.

The video statement can be accessed here

1340 CET, 12 March 2011

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has informed the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) that there has been an explosion at the Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and that they are assessing the condition of the reactor core.

The explosion was reported to NISA by the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), at 0730 CET. Further details were not immediately available.

Japanese authorities have extended the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant to a 20-kilometre radius from the previous 10 kilometres. At the nearby Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant, the evacuation zone has been extended to a 10-kilometre radius from the previous three kilometres.

The authorities also say they are making preparations to distribute iodine to residents in the area of both the plants.

The IAEA has reiterated its offer of technical assistance to Japan, should the government request this. The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities, and is in full response mode to monitor the situation closely around the clock as it evolves.

0730 CET, 12 March 2011

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) that, starting at 12 March 9:00AM local Japan time, they have started the preparation for the venting of the containment of the Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant through a controlled release of vapour. The operation is intended to lower pressure inside the reactor containment.

Evacuation of residents living within ten kilometres of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is reported to be under way. An area with a radius of three kilometres around the plant had already been evacuated.

The evacuation of residents living within three kilometres of the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant is also under way.

The IAEA’s IEC continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities, and is in full response mode to monitor the situation closely around the clock as it evolves.

2210 CET, 11 March 2011

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) that officials are working to restore power to the cooling systems of the Unit 2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Mobile electricity supplies have arrived at the site.

Japanese officials have also reported that pressure is increasing inside the Unit 1 reactor’s containment, and the officials have decided to vent the containment to lower the pressure. The controlled release will be filtered to retain radiation within the containment.

Three reactors at the plant were operating at the time of the earthquake, and the water level in each of the reactor vessels remains above the fuel elements, according to Japanese authorities.

The IAEA’s IEC continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities, and is in full response mode to monitor the situation closely round the clock.

2050 CET, 11 March 2011
IAEA Director General Expresses Condolences Following Japan Earthquake

“I would like to express my condolences and sympathies to the people of Japan who have suffered from this earthquake and to the Government of Japan,” said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

2030 CET, 11 March 2011

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) that today’s earthquake and tsunami have cut the supply of off-site power to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In addition, diesel generators intended to provide back-up electricity to the plant’s cooling system were disabled by tsunami flooding, and efforts to restore the diesel generators are continuing.

At Fukushima Daiichi, officials have declared a nuclear emergency situation, and at the nearby Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant, officials have declared a heightened alert condition.

Japanese authorities say there has so far been no release of radiation from any of the nuclear power plants affected by today’s earthquake and aftershocks.

The IAEA’s IEC continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities, and is in full response mode to monitor the situation closely round the clock.

1755 CET 11 March 2011

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) that they have ordered the evacuation of residents within a three-kilometre radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and told people within a 10-kilometre radius to remain indoors.

The Japanese authorities say there has so far been no release of radiation from any of the nuclear power plants affected by today’s earthquake and aftershocks.

“The IAEA continues to stand ready to provide technical assistance of any kind, should Japan request this,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said.

The IAEA’s IEC continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities, and is in full response mode to monitor the situation closely round the clock.

1245 CET, 11 Mar 2011

The IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre has received information from Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) that a heightened state of alert has been declared at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. NISA says the plant has been shut down and no release of radiation has been detected.

Japanese authorities have also reported a fire at the Onagawa nuclear power plant, which has been extinguished. They say Onagawa, Fukushima-Daini and Tokai nuclear power plants were also shut down automatically, and no radiation release has been detected.

The IAEA received information from its International Seismic Safety Centre that a second earthquake of magnitude 6.5 has struck Japan near the coast of Honshu, near the Tokai plant.

The IAEA is seeking further details on the situation at Fukushima Daiichi and other nuclear power plants and research reactors, including information on off-site and on-site electrical power supplies, cooling systems and the condition of the reactor buildings. Nuclear fuel requires continued cooling even after a plant is shut down.

The IAEA is also seeking information on the status of radioactive sources in the country, such as medical and industrial equipment.

The World Meteorological Organization has informed the IAEA that prevailing winds are blowing eastwards, away from the Japanese coast.

All IAEA staff in Japan, both in the Tokyo office and in nuclear facilities, are confirmed to be safe.

0930 CET, 11 Mar 2011

The IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre received information from the International Seismic Safety Centre (ISSC) at around 0815 CET this morning about the earthquake of magnitude 8.9 near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

The Agency is liaising with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to confirm further details of the situation. Japanese authorities reported that the four nuclear power plants closest to the quake have been safely shut down.

The Agency has sent an offer of Good Offices to Japan, should the country request support.

Current media reports say a tsunami alert has been issued for 50 countries, reaching as far as Central America. The Agency is seeking further information on which countries and nuclear facilities may be affected.


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