Four days after the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan, fears of a spreading nuclear disaster there remain elevated. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. watchdog for atomic energy, says it remains in close contact with the Japanese authorities as it seeks further information on the latest developments.
Here is more on Japan’s nuclear sites from the IAEA:
“The IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) continues to monitor the status of the nuclear power plants [NPP] in Japan that were affected by the devastating earthquake and consequent tsunami.
All units at the Fukushima Daini, Onagawa, and Tokai nuclear power plants are in a safe and stable condition (i.e. cold shutdown).
The IAEA remains concerned over the status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where sea water injections to cool the reactors in units 1, 2 and 3 are continuing. Attempts to return power to the entire Daiichi site are also continuing.
After explosions at both units 1 and 3, the primary containment vessels of both units are reported to be intact. However, the explosion that occurred at 04:25 UTC on 14 March at the Fukushima Daiichi unit 2 may have affected the integrity of its primary containment vessel. All three explosions were due to an accumulation of hydrogen gas.
A fire at unit 4 occurred on 14 March 23:54 UTC and lasted two hours. The IAEA is seeking clarification on the nature and consequences of the fire.
The IAEA continues to seek details about the status of all workers, reactors and spent fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
An evacuation of the population from the 20-kilometre zone around Fukushima Daiichi is in effect. The Japanese have advised that people within a 30-km radius shall take shelter indoors. Iodine tablets have been distributed to evacuation centres but no decision has yet been taken on their administration.
A 30-kilometre no-fly zone has been established around the Daiichi plant. Normal civil aviation beyond this zone remains uninterrupted. The Japan Coast Guard established evacuation warnings within 10 kilometres of Fukushima Daiichi and 3 kilometres of Fukushima Daini.
The IAEA and several other UN organizations held a meeting at 11:00 UTC today to discuss recent developments and coordinate activities related to consequences of the earthquake and tsunami. The meeting was called under the framework of the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organizations, and this group expects to work closely together in the days ahead.”