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A Video Tour of Fukushima Daiichi

New TEPCO video shows the crippled nuclear plant's current status

1 min read
A Video Tour of Fukushima Daiichi

Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been back in the news in recent weeks, as radioactive water has leaked from tanks and contaminated groundwater has seeped through the soil toward the sea. TEPCO, the utility that owns the plant, has just released a video to explain this bad news, and to combat widespread rumors and misinformation.

As I learned while discussing the Fukushima situation on a public radio talk show, KQED's Forum, there's a huge amount of paranoia regarding the recent water leaks. The listeners of that San Francisco-based show called in to ask whether they could eat Pacific fish, and did not seem reassured when I and the other guests explained that high levels of radiation have only been found in bottom-feeding fish living near the coast of Fukushima prefecture.

I did my best to make clear that the Fukushima nuclear disaster poses little threat to San Francisco grocery shoppers, but that it is still inflicting profound hardships on the residents of Fukushima prefecture. More than 100,000 residents had to flee their homes in the first days of the accident, and the towns near the plant are still too contaminated to be inhabitable.  

The 20-minute video above begins by explaining the nuclear accident of March 2011, then goes on to discuss the decommissioning plan for the plant (which is expected to take 40 years in total), as well as TEPCO's attempts to improve its water storage and decontamination systems. 

The Conversation (0)
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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