Japan battles against a nuclear meltdown

A woman visits the site where her house used to stand in Yamada, Iwate, Japan, after being destroyed by the tsunami.

Japanese engineers raced to prevent a meltdown at a stricken nuclear plant yesterday as rescuers scrambled to help millions left without food, water or heating by a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

A second explosion rocked the Fukushima nuclear complex and rapidly falling water levels exposed fuel rods in another reactor, but the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said the crisis was unlikely to turn into another Chernobyl.

Rescue workers combed the tsunami-battered region north of Tokyo, where officials say at least 10,000 people were killed in the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that followed it.

The big fear at the Fukushima complex, 150 miles north of Tokyo, is of a major radiation leak. The complex has seen explosions at two of its reactors, which sent a huge plume of smoke billowing above the plant.

The worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986 has drawn criticism that authorities were ill-prepared and revived debate in many countries about the safety of atomic power.

Switzerland put on hold some approvals for nuclear power plants and Germany said it was scrapping a plan to extend the life of its nuclear power stations. The White House said President Barack Obama remained committed to nuclear energy.

60 seconds with …

Dr. Thomas Cochran is the senior scientist in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s nuclear program. 

What caused the nuclear reactor to explode?

All reactors create energy through nuclear fission, which means that atoms split. When they split, they create heat and radioactive products. Even if you shut down the reactor immediately, as the Japanese did, it keeps producing heat. That’s why you have to cool the reactor.

So the real problem happened in the cooling of the reactor?

Yes. The tsunami that followed the earth­quake took out the generator that was supposed to cool the reactor.

Will Japan’s neighbors have to worry about nuclear radiation?

No. The wind has been blowing in the right direction, and the impact is small compared to what it would have been if the nuclear fuel had burned through the bottom.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Local

NYPD looking for lewd D train rider

The NYPD is enlisting the public’s help to find a man they say performed a lewd act on the D train Saturday evening. The incident…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

Entertainment

Cymbals Eat Guitars Have Everything to 'LOSE'

At its most basic level, a rock band can be thought of as a family, a group of people selflessly devoted to a cause. When…

Entertainment

"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: Episode 4, 'Week Four'

Some things are hard to watch in a “Human Centipede” sort of way. Other things in an “American History X” sort of way. Does “Bachelor…

Movies

Fall Movie Preview: 10 films to see this…

Despite being awards season, the next four months bring a glut of remakes, rehashes and sequels. Here are 10 that should be better worth your time.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…

Wellbeing

Working your way to type 2 diabetes: Job…

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, a stressful job can be as risky for your health as a bad diet and no exercise. A…