The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is one of three nuclear plants operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
It supplied electricity primarily to Tokyo and surrounding areas.
The plant, with six units of boiling-water reactors, sits on a 3.5-million-square-meter site in an area straddling the towns of Okuma and Futaba on the coast of Fukushima Prefecture.
The six units are together capable of generating 4.696 gigawatts.
The No. 1 reactor went into operation in 1971.
When the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11 last year, the reactors from No. 1 to No. 3 were online. About 5,600 workers from TEPCO and its contractors were working in the plant.
The disaster knocked down the cooling systems for the reactors, resulting in meltdowns at the No. 1-3 reactors. The leakage of hydrogen created in the overheating reactors led to explosions in the buildings housing the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 reactors, destroying the structures.
As a result, massive amount of radioactive materials were released into the atmosphere, contaminating land and sea.
The Fukushima accident is rated at level 7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, the most severe. It is on par with the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
The evacuation of residents was in disarray partly because the government’s System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI), which predicts the flow of radioactive materials, was not put to good use.
- « Prev
- Next »