EDITOR'S NOTE: On March 28, 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, suffered a partial meltdown that instilled fear in hundreds of thousands of nearby residents and changed the way Americans viewed the technology. With the announcement Tuesday that Exelon Corp. plans to close the plant unless the state gives it some financial help, The Associated Press is republishing an April 8, 1979, story examining the day of the accident and the seven days that followed.
A nuclear accident at a power plant in South Korea could cause wider radiation contamination in western Japan than on its home soil, a study by a South Korean scientist has shown. If a cooling system fails at the spent-fuel storage pools at the Kori power plant's No. 3 reactor in Busan, massive amounts of cesium-137 would be released that could potentially reach western Japan, according to a simulation by Jungmin Kang of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S. think tank. A total of 818 tons of spent nuclear fuel were stored in pools at the site as of the end of 2015, Kang said. He said an accident could be triggered not only by natural disasters but by terrorism or a missile from North Korea.
Three former Fukushima power plant officials were set to stand trial this week in connection to the 2011 nuclear disaster. After years of back and forth over whether to charge the men, three Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) executives were scheduled for a hearing Friday. Former TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 77, and former vice presidents Sakae Muto, 66, and Ichiro Takekuro, 71, were charged last with professional negligence resulting in death and injury last year, according to the Japan Times. Since the 2011 nuclear disaster, prosecutors argued over whether to indict the officials, refusing to charge them twice. Both times, prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence and little chance of a conviction.
A nuclear power plant project in Britain is giving Japan a glimmer of hope for spurring infrastructure exports, a key growth strategy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Hitachi Ltd. and the U.K. government started official talks last month on building new reactors in Wales, with a goal of firing them up in the first half of the 2020s. The outlook for the ¥3 trillion project is unclear, with both sides facing a string of challenges in the talks going forward. For Tokyo, the plan is one of its few remaining major overseas projects on the horizon, with other nuclear power generation plans discontinued or facing cancellation. The government's bet on nuclear power plants as a pillar of infrastructure exports comes as the likes of Germany, Italy, Taiwan and South Korea are pulling out of atomic power generation.
A nuclear power company has designed a'modular' mini nuclear power plant. Each nuclear reactor could fit on the back of a truck, but would still be nine stories tall. The company behind the radical design says it is far safer, and each mini reactor contains far less uranium that a full sized one - and is sunk into the ground with a protective building placed over it. NuScale, based in Portland, Oregon, has submitted a design application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to be able to construct their nuclear power plant. Each small NuScale reactor has a 50-megawatt output.