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Thread: 9.0 Earthquake Strikes Japan

  1. #16
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Sep 2003


    It is horrible to think that one act like this would be, no matter how catestrophic, enough to push the entire nation over the brink into financial chaos.....

    I really hope this is not the case. Japan worked so hard to rebuild itself after WWII, to be delt this blow and have it scare away enough investment to leave them high and (no pun) dry on their financial landscape is sad and scary.

    How many others will suffer from this that were nowhere NEAR the quake?

  2. #17
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Nairobi Hilton


    Rebuilding can actually stimulate an economy, but it may take years to bear fruit.

  3. #18


    What the Media Doesn't Get About Meltdowns

    By Cristine Russell

    The nuclear power emergency in northeast Japan grows more treacherous and uncertain, as plant operators struggle to contain escalating dangers at several nuclear reactors in hopes of preventing a disastrous release of radioactivity into the environment.

    The unfolding crisis in Japan continues to draw comparisons with the world's previous nuclear power accidents. The big question is the degree to which Japan's current nuclear power emergency resembles the more contained 1979 U.S. Three Mile Island accident, or the worst in history, the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe in the Ukraine.

    "I covered Chernobyl and I covered Three Mile Island," NBC's chief science and health correspondent Robert Bazell said today. "So far it's not anything like Chernobyl. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it will continue to stay that way." A jet-lagged Bazell, who had just arrived in Tokyo, stressed, "the situation here is still not under control." He emphasized that "it is a race against time" to prevent a serious breach of the containment structures housing the nuclear fuel cores in at least two reactors at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, as well as potential dangers at several other plants in the region.

    Indeed it is also a race to find reliable, real-time public information about the rapidly changing Japan nuclear power emergency, amidst a sea of confusing, conflicting and often limited information emanating from sources across the world. Dealing with the aftermath of the monstrous earthquake and tsunami, as well as the nuclear crisis, has clearly stretched Japanese government and company officials to the breaking point, and their communication has frequently failed to keep up with the story. At the same time, the media covering the Japan's nuclear power situation, on the ground and around the globe, face a challenging array of often-unconfirmed information and speculation.

    Of immediate concern is the prospect of a so-called "meltdown" at one or more of the Japanese reactors. But part of the problem in understanding the potential dangers is continued indiscriminate use, by experts and the media, of this inherently frightening term without explanation or perspective. There are varying degrees of melting or meltdown of the nuclear fuel rods in a given reactor; but there are also multiple safety systems, or containment barriers, in a given plant's design that are intended to keep radioactive materials from escaping into the general environment in the event of a partial or complete meltdown of the reactor core. Finally, there are the steps taken by a plant's operators to try to bring the nuclear emergency under control before these containment barriers are breached.

    In the Three Mile Island accident, a partial core meltdown occurred in one reactor unit but remained largely within the plant's containment barriers and little radiation was released to the environment. The Chernobyl catastrophe, however, resulted in a massive environmental release of radiation following a core meltdown. An important distinction is that the Chernobyl plant lacked crucial containment structures found at the Three Mile Island and Japanese plants.

    According to the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, which rates the severity of nuclear power plant incidents on a scale from zero to 7, Chernobyl was rated a 7, the highest level of severity and the only such accident. Three Mile Island was ranked a 5, "an accident with wider consequences." Thus far, the Japanese nuclear emergency at Fukushima Daiichi has been rated a 4, an "accident with local consequences," but this is of course a preliminary estimate.

    On CNN's Reliable Sources show Sunday, host Howard Kurtz raised questions about the difficult balance between legitimate concern and fear mongering in the around-the-clock coverage of an evolving emergency. Radio host Callie Crossley criticized the repeated media warnings of possible nuclear meltdown: "Nobody told me what it meant....I thought that was extremely irresponsible." Guest Mike Chinoy, a former CNN Asia correspondent, countered that the media "don't have the luxury of putting something together....This is a scary story."

    A key challenge is deciding what sources are the most credible in terms of new information about what is actually happening at Japan's nuclear plants and deciphering how serious the situation really is or might become. It almost requires a checklist to follow where the information is coming from; which nuclear plants are in danger; and who is at greatest risk (which will undoubtedly continue to change in hours and days ahead).

    -- Some key sources. In Japan, the primary source of information about the damaged nuclear power plants comes from Japanese government officials, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano providing regular news briefings; there is also the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency; and local officials, who provide additional, and sometimes, conflicting information. The main utility company operating the damaged nuclear plants is Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Some of the most reliable information is coming from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to which Japanese authorities must report. Reports involving unnamed "officials," which CNN and others used frequently this weekend, should be handled with caution.

    --Breaking news from Japan. Other key sources of real-time information include live USTREAM coverage from Japan on NHK WORLD TV, an English language 24-hour international news and information channel; NHK also has breaking news in English; as does Kyodo News agency. There are numerous threads on Twitter, including #fukushima, #nuclear, #earthquake, and #Japan.

    -- The nuclear plants at risk. There are 55 operating nuclear power stations in Japan (see map). Each plant may have multiple reactor units. At this point, the largest concerns involve reactors 1 and 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (see New York Times graphic). Cooling problems have also been reported at the nearby Fukushima Daini nuclear power station. Preliminary radiation increases were also reported to IAEA from the Onagawa nuclear plant, and news reports have mentioned a fourth possible plant at risk.

    -- For a clear backgrounder on how a nuclear power plant works, see the excellent BoingBoing "Nuclear Energy 101" piece by Maggie Koerth-Baker. She said she wrote it in response to a reader who said: "The extent of my knowledge on nuclear power plants is pretty much limited to what I've seen on The Simpsons."

    Cristine Russell covered the Three Mile Island accident as a reporter for the Washington Star.

    Copyright 2011 by The Atlantic Monthly Group

  4. #19


    Before & after satellite photos of stricken areas. Toggle over 'before' image to see 'after' image, no clicking.

  5. #20


    Japan earthquake size upgrade to 9.0

    Ugh. Japan’s earthquake was ever worse than thought. When the earthquake first occured last Thursday (my time), it was reported on Twitter to be a size 7.9 earthquake near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. The local time in Japan was Mar 11 at 2:46pm and the epicenter was 179km E of Sendai. Then the size was upgraded to 8.8 about a half an hour later. About another half an hour later it was upgraded again to 8.9 on the Richter magnitude scale. Today, the magnitude of the quake was upgraded again, to a staggering 9.0. There are reports that anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 might be dead by the time the final tally counted. Horrible!

  6. #21
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Japan tsunami survivor Hiromitsu Shinkawa found 10 miles out at sea

    Rescuers spot 60-year-old from Fukushima prefecture
    clinging to the roof of his home two days after the tsunami struck
    Justin McCurry in Tokyo
    Sunday 13 March 2011

    A 60-year-old man has been found on the roof of his floating house nearly 10 miles out at sea, two days after the tsunami that devastated the north-east coast of Japan.

    Hiromitsu Shinkawa must have resigned himself to his fate when he was swept away by the retreating tsunami that roared ashore in his home town of Minami Soma in Fukushima prefecture.

    As the wave approached, Shinkawa took the fateful decision to return home to collect belongings. Minutes later he was out at sea clinging to a piece of the roof from his own home.

    Incredibly, he was spotted by a maritime self-defence force destroyer taking part in the rescue effort as he clung to the wreckage with one hand and waved a self-made red flag with the other. He had been at sea for two days ...

    Guardian News and Media Limited 2011


  7. #22


    15 March 2011 Last updated at 00:29 ET

    Radiation fears after Japan blast

    As radiation levels near the plant rise, people are being checked for exposure

    Prime Minister Naoto Kan has urged those living within 30km (18 miles) of the plant to stay indoors.
    Earlier, reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant was hit by a blast - the third reactor to explode in four days - leading to fears of a meltdown.
    The crisis was sparked by a 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami on Friday.
    Thousands of people are believed to have died.
    Exclusion zone A fresh explosion rocked reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant - 250km (155 miles) north-east of Tokyo - in the early hours of Tuesday.
    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said, "Now we are talking about levels that can impact human health."
    Continue reading the main story JAPAN NUCLEAR EMERGENCY

    • Explosions in three reactors at Fukushima plant
    • Fourth reactor on fire
    • Containment chamber damaged at reactor 2
    • Radiation levels at plant rise more than four fold
    • 20km (12 mile) exclusion zone
    • People living within 30km to stay indoors

    He stressed that such levels were recorded at the plant and that the "further away you get from the power plant or reactor, the value should go down".
    In his televised address, Prime Minister Kan said: "There is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out."
    He added that the last remaining people within a 20km (12 mile) exclusion zone around the plant had to leave, and that those living between 20km and 30km from the site should remain indoors.
    Radiation levels around Fukushima for one hour's exposure rose to eight times the legal limit for exposure in one year, said the plant's operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco).
    The radiation reading at 0831 local time (2331 GMT) climbed to 8,217 microsieverts an hour from 1,941 about 40 minutes earlier, Tepco said. The annual legal limit is 1,000 microsieverts.

    Japan's PM says there is a 'very high' risk of further radiation leaks

    Higher radiation levels were recorded on Tuesday south of Fukushima, Kyodo news agency reported.
    The French embassy said low-level radioactive wind could reach Tokyo within hours.
    Mr Kan also said a fire had broken out at the plant's reactor 4. It now appears to have been put out.
    Shares on the Tokyo stock exchange plummeted 13%. The leading Nikkei index had already fallen by 7% on Monday.
    On Monday, a hydrogen blast at the Fukushima plant's reactor 3 was felt 40km (25 miles) away. It followed a blast at reactor 1 on Saturday.

    All explosions have been preceded by cooling system breakdowns. Engineers are trying to prevent meltdowns by flooding the chambers of the nuclear reactors with sea water.
    After the third explosion, officials said the containment vessel around reactor 2 had been damaged.
    Complete devastation Meanwhile, five days after the tsunami triggered by the earthquake, the relief operation is continuing.
    The latest official death toll stands at about 2,400 - but some estimates suggest 10,000 may have been killed.
    One of the worst-hit towns, Minamisanriku, is now just a scene of complete devastation, says the BBC's Rachel Harvey.
    Everything was flattened by the force of the tsunami, with only the town's hospital and a government building remaining, our correspondent says.
    Thousands are still unaccounted for - including hundreds of tourists - while many remote towns and villages have not been reached.
    More than 500,000 people have been made homeless.
    The government has deployed 100,000 troops to lead the aid effort.
    The UK Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to warn against all non-essential travel to Tokyo and north-eastern Japan. British nationals and friends and relatives of those in Japan can contact the Foreign Office on +44(0) 20 7008 0000.
    #j-exp { padding-bottom: 10px; }

  8. #23


    Japan crisis worse than Three Mile Island, experts say

    One reactor shield might be compromised; spent fuel pool leaking radioactivity staff and news service reports
    updated 21 minutes ago 2011-03-15T16:54:22

    SOMA, Japan — The catastrophe at Japan's stricken nuclear complex is now worse than Three Mile Island, experts said Tuesday, after the two most recent blasts exposed a spent fuel pool to outside air and might have compromised a reactor shield.
    Japanese officials told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the spent fuel storage area had caught fire and that radioactivity was "being released directly into the atmosphere."
    After the fire was extinguished, a Japanese official said the spent fuel pool might still be boiling, though the reported levels of radiation had dropped dramatically by evening.
    Experts noted that much of the leaking radiation was apparently in steam from boiling water. It had not been emitted directly by fuel rods, which would be far more virulent, they said.
    "It's not good, but I don't think it's a disaster," said Steve Crossley, an Australia-based radiation physicist.
    The IAEA said Tuesday that an explosion Monday at the plant, this one within Unit 2, "may have affected the integrity of its primary containment vessel." That means radioactivity could be leaking from the containment vessel.
    Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said low levels of radiation had spread from the complex along Japan's northeastern coast.
    The radiation releases prompted Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors and a 30-kilometer (19-mile) no-fly zone was imposed around the site Tuesday.
    About the only good news Tuesday was that the winds were expected to blow most of the radioactivity out to sea.
    Advertise | AdChoices

    Soon after the latest events, France's nuclear safety authority ASN said the disaster ranks as a level 6 on the international scale of 1 to 7.
    Level 7 was used only once, for Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986. The 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania was rated a level 5.
    "It is very clear that we are at a level 6," ASN President Andre-Claude Lacoste told a news conference in Paris. "We are clearly in a catastrophe."
    Video: At least 15,000 people missing in Japan (on this page) "This event is now closer to a level 6, and it may unfortunately reach a level 7," added David Albright, head of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C.
    At Three Mile Island, the radiation leak was held inside the containment shell — thick concrete armor around the reactor. The Chernobyl reactor had no shell and was also operational when the disaster struck. The Japanese reactors automatically shut down when the quake hit.

    The IAEA said about 150 people in Japan had received monitoring for radiation levels and that measures to "decontaminate" 23 of them had been taken.
    Clearing up nuclear questions Though Japanese officials urged calm, Tuesday's developments fueled a growing panic amid widespread uncertainty over what would happen next.
    In the worst-case scenario, one or more reactor cores would completely melt down, a disaster that would spew large amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere.
    Officials in Tokyo — 150 miles to the south of the plant — said radiation in the capital was 10 times normal by evening but there was no threat to human health.
    Closer to the stricken nuclear complex, the streets in the coastal city of Soma were empty as the few residents who remained there heeded the government's warning to stay indoors.
    Interactive: How a nuclear plant works Officials just south of Fukushima reported up to 100 times the normal levels of radiation Tuesday morning. While those figures are worrying if there is prolonged exposure, they are far from fatal.

    'Please do not go outside'
    Officials warned there is danger of more leaks and told people living within 19 miles of the Dai-ichi complex to stay indoors.
    "Please do not go outside. Please stay indoors. Please close windows and make your homes airtight," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told residents in the danger zone.
    "These are figures that potentially affect health. There is no mistake about that," he said.
    Some 70,000 people had already been evacuated from a 12-mile radius from the Dai-ichi complex. About 140,000 are in the new warning zone.

    Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami have killed more than 10,000 people.
    Desperate efforts
    Workers were desperately trying to stabilize the three reactors at Units 1, 2 and 3 that were working when the quake and tsunami struck. Releases of hydrogen gas caused explosions that destroyed the outer structures at each unit.
    Unit 4, where the pool is, had been under maintenance and was not operating at the time of the quake and tsunami.

    With power out and the regular coolant gone, engineers are now injecting seawater into the reactors as a last-ditch coolant. Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant, said it might use helicopters to inject seawater inside the pool area within three days.
    Officials said 50 workers were still at the Fukushima site. About 800 other staff were evacuated. The fires and explosions at the reactors have injured 15 workers and military personnel.
    The death toll from last week's earthquake and tsunami jumped as police confirmed the number killed had topped 2,400. Officials say that at least 10,000 people may have died in Miyagi province alone, but those deaths are not confirmed.
    Story: Millions in Japan freeze without electricity, heat Hajime Sato, a government official in Iwate prefecture, one of the hardest-hit, said deliveries of supplies were only 10 percent of what is needed. Body bags and coffins were running so short that the government may turn to foreign funeral homes for help, he said.

    Rescuers also found a 70-year-old woman alive four days after the disaster .
    Osaka fire department spokesman Yuko Kotani said the woman was found inside her house that was washed away by the tsunami in northeastern Japan's Iwate prefecture.
    Another survivor, described as being in his 20s, was shown on television being pulled from a building further down the coast in the city of Ishimaki after rescue workers heard him calling for help.
    Video: Glimmers of hope amid tragedy in Japan (on this page) The impact of the earthquake and tsunami dragged down stock markets. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average plunged for a second day Tuesday , nose-diving more than 10 percent to close at 8,605.15 while the broader Topix lost more than 8 percent.
    To lessen the damage, Japan's central bank made two cash injections totaling $98 billion Tuesday into the money markets after pumping in $184 billion on Monday.
    Initial estimates put repair costs in the tens of billions of dollars , costs that would likely add to a massive public debt that, at 200 percent of gross domestic product, is the biggest among industrialized nations.
    The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

    You see babies getting checked for radiation, a man getting rescued 10 miles at sea, a woman worried about her daughter who was ripped from her arms by the tsunami current, families reuniting. As much as we have a hard time here of processing all this, I can't even begin to imagine what they're going through. And the horror is just beginning.

  9. #24
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Brooklyn, NY


    Green energy showing its ugly side...

  10. #25


    Nuclear energy isn't green energy (not yet).

  11. #26
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Sep 2003


    It is more a deep glowing red....

  12. #27


    Someone has to define green.

    There is a plan on the table to build a giant wind farm off the Cap Cod coast. The locals, including a few Kennedys are up in arms? Is this green or not? Actually I would say yes. But obviously a bunch of people up there don't agree.

    Nuke plants aren't pretty, do present risks (which have been actualized in Japan right now), but they do have environmental and functional advantages.

    The plant in crisis right now is 40 YO. Maybe we've learned how to build these things better in four decades? Maybe they need to be replaced ever once in a while? Maybe they need to be sited better?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    Nuclear energy isn't green energy (not yet).

  13. #28
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    The wind farm is green. It is suffering from a bout of NIMBY-itis and may look a bit pale, but it is decidedly green.

    The nuke plant is only green in the sense that it produces waste that can be contained. But it still produces waste. You have to find a place to put all this stuff for a few thousand years, and as has been shown, it carries its own risks no matter how well you originally design it.

    All your suggestions are valid, but the fact is, nothing is green until it can operate WITHOUT having to deal with its byproducts later. Wind is about the greenest we have if all you count is dead birds....

  14. #29


    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
    Someone has to define green.
    Green = sustainable

    The locals, including a few Kennedys are up in arms? Is this green or not?
    Green = universal acceptance? No.

    Maybe they need to be sited better?
    Maybe not in a place where four plates meet (Japan).

  15. #30


    In point of fact, nuclear has proven pretty sustainable. Perfect, no, but sustainable yes.

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