Concern over the nuclear crisis in Japan evokes memories of past disasters.
By Micah Hanks
According to France’s nuclear watchdog and information released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a third explosion at Japan’s Fukushima power plant, the result of damages incurred during last week’s tremendous 8.9 magnitude earthquake in the region, has caused a nuclear crisis that is “second to Chernobyl.”
An ABC News report today warned that plant officials “are considering removing panels from reactor buildings 5 and 6 to prevent a build-up of hydrogen,” in an effort to contain radiation that is already escaping in dangerous amounts.
Japan’s IAEA chief Yukiya Amano has expressed unrest with the comparison, stating that “the Chernobyl and Fukushima reactors are different.” Fukushima, he says, is equipped with a primary containment vessel, which helped the stricken reactor to shut down automatically coinciding with the earthquake, preventing a chain reaction. However, damages incurred still managed to affect the suppression chamber, which regulates pressure when problems arise within the critical system.
In addition to being compared to the likes of what occurred at Chernobyl in 1986, sources have similarly compared the Japanese disaster to the Three Mile Island incident that occurred in Philadelphia in 1979. Meanwhile in the US, stocks slumped mid-day as concerns over the Japanese nuclear crisis continued, with the Dow Jones dropping 137.74 points.