The earthquake has tested Japan’s nuclear industry to its limits.
So far, early fears of a leak, notably at the Fukushima reactor have not materialised. The US Air Force said it had delivered coolant to the power plant.
In all, four sites continue to cause concern. Euronews spoke to Nuclear Safety Expert, Jean Mathieu Rambach.
He told us: ‘‘At the Onagawa power plant there was a fire in the engine room where electricity is produced. At two other sites, Fukushima N1 and N2, there was apparently difficulty in cooling the reactors’‘
Euronews: ‘‘What short-term and long-term risks are there from that?’‘
Jean Mathieu Rambach: ‘‘The reactor could heat up, there could be nuclear fusion at its heart, and leakage. The consequences could be quite serious.’‘
Euronews: “Can you say if this is on a par with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster?”
Jean Mathieu Rambach: ‘‘No, the tank of the reactor is contained. That was not the case for the Chernobyl reactor.’‘
Euronews: ‘‘Are there places in the nuclear power plant, outside the reactor, where radioactive products are stored?’‘
Jean Mathieu Rambach: ‘‘In a nuclear power station, there are facilities that treat waste, where radioactive materials are located. It is very probable that a tsunami could disperse these radioactive elements. The biggest contamination is going to be sea water which has flooded these large zones.’‘