Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan who have experienced the worst earthquake in their country since 1923. The news coming out of Japan is sobering, if not grim. Thousands of people are dead or missing and the country’s infrastructure has been severely damaged.
Right now, the situation concerning several of Japan’s nuclear reactors is extremely fluid, and frankly, there is a lot of speculation. However, we are fairly confident in the news reports that indicate two nuclear reactors are in partial meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi facility (known as Fukushima No.1). As we all witnessed yesterday, reactor #1 at Fukushima Daiichi experienced a hydrogen explosion. Currently, reactor #3 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is also experiencing serious problems. We are watching this reactor with particular concern because it is being powered by plutonium fuel (MOX) -- a fuel that burns hotter and is more unstable than traditional fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy is considering using this fuel in reactors owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
We are also hearing reports that officials are fighting for control of three additional reactors at a different facility, the Fukushima Daini facility (known as Fukushima No. 2). There are 23 reactors in the U.S. which have the same design as the ones under threat of meltdown in Japan and we will be monitoring how to address their safety problems.
Our job over the next several days is to make sure that accurate information is being seen by the U.S. and global public. Our staff, led by Damon Moglen, Tom Clements, and Ben Schreiber, have more than 50 years of combined experience working on nuclear related issues.
We are coordinating our response with Japanese and U.S. colleagues including the Physicians for Social Responsibility, Greenpeace, Nuclear Information Research Service, Beyond Nuclear and Citizens' Nuclear Information Center in Japan. We have already hosted a significant press conference that created a platform for experts on nuclear reactors to update and inform the media.
Since our founding, Friends of the Earth has opposed the construction of nuclear reactors for the very reasons we are witnessing in Japan. In the aftermath of this tragedy in Japan, there will be a very robust debate in the U.S. about the future of nuclear reactors. And we will participate in it.
In the meantime, I encourage you to review some of the links and information to the right, as well as listen to the experts that we assembled to help educate the press and public. If you have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
President, Friends of the Earth