A year on have the lessons been learned from Fukushima?

Lawrence McGinty

Former Science and Medical Editor

The No.3 nuclear reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, March 14, 2011 Credit: Reuters

Sunday is the anniversary of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami that crippled the Fukushima nuclear power station. Flooding water put the station's emergency power out of action, temperatures in the reactor cores started to rise and within three days, nuclear fuel had melted in three of the station's reactors. Hydrogen explosions caused the main damage and release of radioactivity.

After disasters like this everyone prattles on about "learning the lessons". Well have a look at what John Price, a consulting engineer who was a member of the Safety Policy Unit of the National Nuclear Corporation in the UK, has to say about that:

He goes on to criticise safety compromises made between the Japanese nuclear regulators and the operators. He believes that the reactors - a very old design -- should not have been allowed to continue operating.

Experts disagree about how long it will take to clean up after Fukushima -- it could easily be decades.

In case you think I'm ploughing some anti-nuclear furrow - I'm not, I'm just pro-safety.