Navy, Japanese government practice response to an aircraft-carrier reactor leak

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U.S. and Japanese technicians aboard a Japanese coast guard ship take air, water and sediment samples during a reactor-leak drill at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, Dec. 15, 2017. The base is home to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. LEON COOK/STARS AND STRIPES
From Stripes.com
U.S. and Japanese technicians aboard a Japanese coast guard ship take air, water and sediment samples during a reactor-leak drill at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, Dec. 15, 2017. The base is home to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. LEON COOK/STARS AND STRIPES

Navy, Japanese government practice response to an aircraft-carrier reactor leak

by: Leon Cook | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: December 19, 2017

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Navy and Japanese officials have practiced the steps they’d take if a small amount of radiation were to escape from the Yokosuka-based USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

U.S. shipyard technicians teamed up with Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority Friday and boarded a Japan coast guard cutter to collect water, air and sediment samples from points near the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, which recently returned to Yokosuka from its three-month fall patrol. The purpose was to practice joint radiological monitoring and data-sharing.

The hourlong drill simulated how they would respond if slightly radioactive coolant water were to leak from the carrier’s reactor. In the scenario, the Ronald Reagan’s crew responded quickly and shut a valve, halting the leak, but not before 300 liters spilled into the harbor.

“For perspective, the small amount of radioactivity that would be in this coolant water is less than the amount of radioactivity contained in two common household smoke detectors and would not adversely affect human health, marine life, or the quality of the environment,” the Navy said.

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