The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (福島第一原子力発電所 Fukushima Dai-ichi Genshiryoku Hatsudensho, Fukushima I NPP), also known as Fukushima Dai-ichi (dai-ichi means "number one"), is a disabled nuclear power plant located on a 3.5-square-kilometre (860-acre) site in the towns of Okuma and Futaba in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. First commissioned in 1971, the plant consists of six boiling water reactors (BWR). These light water reactors drove electrical generators with a combined power of 4.7 GWe, making Fukushima I one of the 15 largest nuclear power stations in the world. Fukushima I was the first nuclear plant to be constructed and run entirely by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The plant suffered major damage from the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan on 11 March 2011, disabling the reactor cooling systems, leading to nuclear radiation leaks and triggering a 20 km evacuation zone surrounding the plant, and is not expected to reopen.
On 11 March 2011 an earthquake categorised as 9.0 MW on the moment magnitude scale occurred at 14:46 Japan Standard Time (JST) off the northeast coast of Japan. Units 4, 5 and 6 had been shut down prior to the earthquake for planned maintenance. The remaining reactors were shut down automatically after the earthquake, and the remaining decay heat of the fuel was being cooled with power from emergency generators. Then, the subsequent tsunami disabled emergency generators required to cool the reactors. Over the following three weeks there was evidence of a partial nuclear meltdown in units 1, 2 and 3; visible explosions, suspected to be caused by hydrogen gas, in units 1 and 3; a suspected explosion in unit 2, that may have damaged the primary containment vessel; and a possible uncovering of the units 1, 3 and 4 spent fuel pools. Radiation releases caused large evacuations, concern over food and water supplies, and treatment of nuclear workers.
The IAEA has rated the events at units 1, 2 and 3 at Level 5 (Accident With Wider Consequences) on the International Nuclear Event Scale, and those at unit 4 as Level 3 (Serious Incident) events.
On April 3, two bodies were discovered in the basement turbine room after the workers likely fled there during the tsunami.
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