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Japan's Nuclear Disaster: Its Impact on Electric Power Generation Worldwide [In My View]

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1 Author(s)
Altomonte, H. ; United Nations ECLAC, Santiago, Chile

The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster on 11 March 2011, 32 years after the Three Mile Island accident in the United States and 25 years after the Chernobyl meltdown, refocused the world's attention on the potentially catastrophic effects of a nuclear power plant failure. The Japanese disaster revealed the effects of the failure of the electric supply, pumps, valves, and other components of the nuclear plant infrastructure. The six Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant reactors were designed to automatically shut down in case of an earthquake higher than magnitude 6.2 on the Richter scale. This earthquake had an intensity of 9 and, as designed, the safety systems shut down the nuclear fission reactions in the three reactors (out of a total of six) that were in operation. However, the plant design did not have sufficient safeguards to deal with the impact of the tsunami that followed. The disaster mobilized the geopolitical world, non-government organizations (NGOs) in general, and environmentalists in particular, as well as national nuclear energy regulatory commissions. The disaster required the ultimate international authority, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to respond rapidly and straightforwardly to the Japanese public and the entire world about the impacts of the nuclear disaster.

Published in:

Power and Energy Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 3 )