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Japan tsunami and nuclear alert - live coverage | World news | guardian.co.uk

The nuclear emergency in Japan was caused by a cascade of failures in power supply to the plant. The earthquake and tsunami knocked out the main electricity supply lines, then the back-up diesel generator, and finally ran down the emergency battery supply.

Now here is the scary thought. The Fukushima reactor had eight hour battery reserves.

The 23 nuclear plants of the same model in the US have just four-hour battery reserves, according to UCS's Ed Lyman.

And now the (relatively) good news. Lyman notes that the spent fuel pools, which were located above the reactors, may indeed have been compromised. "They have may suffered some structural integrity damage," he said. That raises the risk of an explosion, and possible radiation leak, from the pools if technicans are unable to restore cooling systems.

But Lyman added: "The inventory of spent fuels in the pools was well below capacity. That could limit potential impact if there was a loss of coolant to the pools."

My Bold

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 03:56:37 PM EST

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