Nuclear Reactors: According to Japanese government officials, “An inability to cool the reactors could cause radiation leaks, and both power plants are “bracing for the worst”. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told the press that “At present we have no reports of any radioactive materials or otherwise affecting the surrounding areas”. Professor Tim Albram, a nuclear fuel engineer at the University of Manchester in the U.K., explained to the press that, “Reactors shut themselves down automatically when something called ‘ground acceleration’ is registered at a certain point, which is usually quite small. It will instantly drop control rods into the [nuclear] core”.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that all the necessary precautions are being taken to prepare for radiation leaks, including evacuating thousands of residents within a 3-mile radius of the Fukushima facility. A base level of heat from nuclear decay continues to flow off the rods, however, and that’s the problem in the Fukushima and Onagawa plants.