"Japan's nuclear crisis intensified dramatically on Wednesday after the authorities announced that a second reactor unit at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan may have ruptured and appeared to be releasing radioactive steam."
Nuclear Power & Radiation
"The warnings were stark and issued repeatedly as far back as 1972: If the cooling systems ever failed at a Mark 1 nuclear reactor, the primary containment vessel surrounding the reactor would probably burst as the fuel rods inside overheated. Dangerous radiation would spew into the environment."
"The nuclear industry association and 16 of its member companies have filed suit in federal court seeking suspension of the fee that consumers of electricity produced at nuclear energy facilities pay for the federal government's spent nuclear fuel management activities."
"The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was invited to the White House briefing today to assure Americans that they had nothing to fear from the nuclear radiation coming out of Japan's damaged reactors and that the nuclear reactors in the United States were safe. When he was finished taking questions there was very little reassurance on either front." In Japan, residents are beginning to wonder whether they can trust government reassurances that radiation levels present little threat to human health.
"U.S. stocks fell Monday as investors struggled to assess the financial fallout of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami."
"Even as workers race to prevent the radioactive cores of the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan from melting down, concerns are growing that nearby pools holding spent fuel rods could pose an even greater danger."
"Japan’s nuclear crisis verged toward catastrophe after an explosion further damaged one of the crippled reactors and a fire at another spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air."
"In the debates about the prospects for a U.S. nuclear power rebirth, there was one thing advocates, foes and regulators seemed to agree on: The industry could not afford another Three Mile Island accident."
The aging fleet of US nuclear power reactors have some technological similarities to the reactors failing in Japan. Could similar loss-of-cooling events happen at some US reactors — whether caused by earthquake, tsunami, terrorist attack, electrical outage, flooding, equipment failure, or some other problem?
"The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner that emits ionizing radiation — 247 machines at 38 airports — after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected."