All eyes on nuclear reactors in the aftermath of Japan quake

Nuclear power is used by many countries to produce electricity, including Japan where the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that shook the country on Friday has caused the Fukushima I facility’s backup safety systems for two of its eight reactors to fail. The No. 1 reactor suffered an explosion, likely fueled by hydrogen gas, that has apparently not affected the reactor containment structure.  The USAF has supplied emergency coolant to the reactors, but the situation is critical enough that tens of thousands of residents within a 20 km radius of the plant have been evacuated.

Experts from around the world, including the deputy director of the Chernobyl nuclear safety center, have said this will not be a repeat of the Chernobyl disaster that occurred in Ukraine in 1986. Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors, and all Western civil nuclear facilities, are designed with better safety standards than the Chernobyl facility. Still, it seems the extent of the damage to the Fukushima facility is unclear, and residents are understandably nervous.

Please keep the Japanese people in your prayers.

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