Saturday, April 21, 2012

(UPDATED) Explosion at Petrochemical Complex in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Radioactive Waste Stored at the Complex

UPDATE-2: There was a second explosion at 8AM on April 22. And there are containers of depleted uranium. See my latest post.

UPDATE: One of the two missing workers was found dead. 9 workers injured, 3 residents in the area were also injured (cuts from broken glass). It looks like part of the complex is still burning. The prefectural government does say the depleted uranium is stored at the complex, but there has been no release of toxic materials from the fire, according to the prefectural government.


Mitsui Chemical's petroleum complex in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture had an explosion and a fire at about 2:20 AM on April 22, 2012, according to Yomiuri Shinbun (4/22/2012). Several people were injured, and window glass broken in wide areas.

Someone on Twitter has dug up information from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) that lists companies that have radioactive waste on the premise. Mitsui Chemical's complex in Yamaguchi Prefecture is one of them. According to the MEXT data from 2009, the complex has 3,379 containers of nuclear waste.

There are people on Twitter saying these containers are full of depleted uranium, but I haven't found any documentation to substantiate the claim about depleted uranium yet. For now, I'd treat it as nothing but "rumor". It is possible, as in the case of Chisso's petroleum compound in Chiba that had a fire when the earthquake struck on March 11 last year. The storage unit for depleted uranium was on the premise. I'm looking for more information.

According to Mainichi, there were 7 workers working at that time in the chemical plant that manufactures "resorcin" which is used as tire adhesive. 5 workers suffered minor injuries, but 2 workers are missing. They were trying to stop the plant because of some problems but they couldn't. Explosions are still on-going, and the firefighters cannot come near the plant.


Anonymous said...

No need for concern...again.
Depleted uranium has been classified as low-level waste in the US.
No release of toxic chemicals at a burning chemical petroleum complex ?
No "immediate" harm to human health...again.

Anonymous said...

Why in the Holy Heck does Japan need Depleted Uranium?

* The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals.
Japan's Nuke Bomb Program Disguised As Innocent Energy and Civil Space Program

* Israel, like Japan, has been a major beneficiary and, like Japan, has had nuclear weapons capabilities since the 1960s.

* The Japanese government exploited the Japanese public’s well-known abhorrence of nuclear weapons to discourage the media and historians from delving into its nuclear weapons activities.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Depleted uranium has been used as catalyst.

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