This is an aerial shot of reactors three and four at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in Japan, operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO. It’s been the focus of global attention this past week, as operators try to prevent the leakage of radioactive material from the plant’s reactors. The nuclear fuel rods began to overheat earlier this week, after water from the post-quake tsunami swamped the electrical controls for the plant’s cooling system. Japanese officials have been trying a number of measures this week to try to cool things down, including dropping water on the reactors by helicopter, and swamping them with seawater. There have been a series of explosions at the reactors, prompting many to worry about a potentially catastrophic release of radioactive material. You can find the latest from the International Atomic Energy Agency here. TEPCO is providing plant status updates here. Around 50 TEPCO employees continue to battle the crisis at the plant.
In Tech Podcast 321, we’ll take a look at the nuclear crisis in Japan, and hope to provide you with some reality checks that will go beyond the hype and hyperbole.
One of our listeners asked on Twitter earlier this week about the use of robots in Japan during the post-quake and tsunami search and rescue, and any potential uses of ‘bots at Fukushima. Here’s what I’ve found so far.