Is Reactor Melt Down At Fukushima, Japan? Essay
On March 11, 2011 a magnitude 9.0 undersea earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan that triggered a tsunami that swept across the country and led to the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. This devastating accident was ultimately declared a Level 7 (“Sever Accident”) by the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) (The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commision, 2012). This paper will attempt to inform the reader of the time line of events and highlight some of the human failures that contributed to the accident, as well as the political and environmental impact that this had on the surrounding area and across the globe.
From Earthquake to Melt Down
On March 11, 2011 at 2:46 p.m. earth quake struck off the eastern coast of Japan. That caused a loss of external electricity and triggered the automatic activation of the emergency diesel generators at the Fukushima plant’s reactor units 1 through 4. The automatic shut down went according to design, but the radioactive by-products in the reactors’ fuel rods continued to generate an extreme amount of heat (Strickland, 2011). The tsunami that followed then flooded the buildings containing the emergency generators. Eventually this completely destroyed those generators, the seawater cooling pumps, the electrical wiring systems, and by 3:37 p.m. led to…