Maps and Informaton on the Earthquakes, Tsunami, Nuclear and Political Troubles of March-April 2011
Post link: http://japanchron.tk
NOTE: The Sendai shown on the bottom of the two maps are nuclear power stations, they aren’t the city in upper Japan.
An earthquake map of Japan March 2011
Earthquake Map: 40 Earthquakes Hit Japan In One Day
A map of the tsunami struck areas of Japan
There is a better picture of the whirlpool here with more information about it: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/03/11/japans-tsunami-triggered-enormous-whirlpool
A seaman made some interesting comments on Dailymail’s news article on whirlpools formed by the tsunami. There were two more whirlpools by Iwaki City.
Map of nuclear powerplants in Japan and fault zones
Another map of Japan’s nuclear power plants, suspended ones and ones planned
Another nuclear power plant map with more place names
Another nuclear power plant map showing the undamaged and damaged reactors
A directional and height map of the March 2011 Japanese tsunami
According to the USGS computer this is the location of the 8.9 earthquake:
Magnitude 8.9 – NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
2011 March 11 05:46:23 UTC – Source
Image of a massive whirlpool created off the coast of Japan from the 8.9 earthquake. Click the pic to watch the video of it.
Here is a photo gallery of the areas devastated by the earthquakes and tsunami: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2011/03/11/GA2011031101862.html?sid=ST2011031100651#photo=1
Here are satellite photos of Japan before and after the 9.1 earthquake and tsunami: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/13/world/asia/satellite-photos-japan-before-and-after-tsunami.html?src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB
This is a false color map provided by the DMSP, USAF and NOAA
showing the earthquake-caused quakpower outages of Japan,
A March 2011 radiation map of Japan
Tsunami Hits Japan After 8.9 Megaquake
A 33ft tsunami has killed at least 19 people as it swept over Japan’s northeastern coast after a 8.9 magnitude megaquake near the capital Tokyo.
The huge wave hit the port of Sendai city, sending ships crashing into the shore and carrying cars and buildings through streets.
Mass evacuations are taking place after tsunami warnings were issued for the entire Pacific coast – Video here.
Powerful earthquakes hit JapanStrongest quake, of magnitude 8.9, triggers 10 metre-high tsunami that sweeps away homes, vehicles and crops
by Justin McCurry in Osaka, Tania Branigan and agencies
TV pictures show a vast wall of water carrying debris and even fires across a large swath of coastal farmland near the city of Sendai Link to this video
A series of massive earthquakes have struck north-east Japan, unleashing a 10-metre tsunami that swept buildings, vehicles, crops and debris across swaths of farmland.
The first 8.9 magnitude shock is said to be the biggest to have hit Japan in 140 years, rocking buildings 235 miles (380km) away in Tokyo and sparking fires.
At least five people are known to have died, but amid widespread reports of landslides, floods, collapsed buildings and fires, the death toll is expected to rise.
The quake hit at 2.46pm (5.45am GMT), about 6 miles below sea level and 78 miles off the east coast. It was swiftly followed by five powerful aftershocks of up to 7.1 magnitude. In Tokyo people screamed and grabbed each other’s hands as the quake struck. The shock was so powerful it was felt as far away as Beijing. – More information and a video here
US says Japan earthquake left billions in damage
by Alicia A. Caldwell
WASHINGTON — A massive earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan Friday was the strongest quake in the area in nearly 1,200 years.
David Applegate, a senior science adviser for earthquake and geologic hazards for the U.S. Geological Survey, said the 8.9-magnitude quake ruptured a patch of the earth’s crust 150 miles long and 50 miles across.
He said the earthquake, which also spawned a massive tsunami that hit Japan before racing across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States, likely caused tens of billions of dollars in structural damage in Japan.
Laura K. Furgione, deputy director for the National Weather Service, said the tsunami first hit Hawaii early Friday morning. An 8.1-foot wave destroyed piers and docks in Crescent City, Calif., later Friday. – Source
Japan quake may hit flash memory chip supply
March 11, 2011 1:47 PM PST
by Brooke Crothers
The supply of flash memory chips, a principal component in hot-selling tablets and smartphones, will likely be affected by the earthquake in Japan, according to a report. But the factories that manufacture flash are well to the south of the quake’s epicenter, possibly mitigating the impact.
An 8.9-magnitude earthquake and series of major tsunamis struck Japan on Friday, causing massive damage. The quake struck Friday at 2:46 p.m. local time about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo. Aftershocks registered 7.1, 6.2, and 5.9, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s report. At least 184 deaths have been confirmed and officials say the death toll is likely to rise to more than 1,000.
Over 40 percent of the world’s NAND flash and roughly 15 percent of the world’s DRAM are manufactured in Japan, according to a report released today by Objective Analysis, a firm that does semiconductor-related market research. – More here with a map of chip making factories in Japan
Reeling from earthquake and tsunami,
Japan facing crises at three nuclear plants and yet another quake
by Helen Kennedy
Scientists struggled to avert or contain meltdowns at three nuclear plants on Sunday as Japan reeled from an epic triple disaster that killed thousands.
An explosion at the crippled Fukushima atomic plant was reported Sunday night, the second blast at the facility since Saturday.
TV footage showed a massive column of smoke belching from the plant’s No. 3 unit. Officials said at least six workers were injured in the hydrogen explosion.
“The earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear incident have been the most severe crisis since the war ended 65 years ago,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan told the nation.
“I’m convinced that we can overcome the crisis by joining together.”
The scale of the disaster was coming into focus as rescuers found whole towns wiped off the map. And a humanitarian catastrophe was brewing among survivors left without food, water or shelter – and no roads to get supplies to them.
As many as 1.5 million people were without water and power as snow fell in the north. – More here
Japan fears a nuclear disaster after reactor breach
by Laura King, Ralph Vartabedian and Thomas H. Maugh II
Reporting from Tokyo and Los Angeles Dangerous levels of radiation escaped a quake-stricken nuclear power plant after one reactor’s steel containment structure was apparently breached by an explosion, and another reactor building in the same complex caught fire, Japan’s leaders told a frightened population. Authorities warned that people within 20 miles of the crippled reactors should stay indoors to avoid being sickened by radiation.
The fast-moving developments at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) plant, 150 miles north of Tokyo, catapulted the 4-day-old nuclear crisis to an entirely new level, threatening to overshadow even the massive damage and loss of life spawned by a devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Prime Minister Naoko Kan, in a nationwide address to the Japanese people, called for calm even as he acknowledged the radiation peril. Dressed in industrial-style blue coveralls, he offered solemn assurances that authorities were doing “everything we can” to contain the leakage. – More here
6.0 Magnitude Aftershocks Rattle Buildings In Japan
The Associated Press
3/16/2011/1:07 A.M. ET
TOKYO — A new aftershock of 6.0 magnitude has rattled northeast Japan.
Scores of strong aftershocks have followed the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Friday and caused a devastating tsunami. The U.S. Geological Survey said the new aftershock struck about 1 p.m. Wednesday near the coast of Honshu in northeast Japan. That’s about 95 km from the capital, Tokyo. Two aftershocks Tuesday afternoon caused buildings in Tokyo to sway. They were measured at 6.0 and 6.2 magnitude.
Containment vessel failure unlikely: EdanoSmoke, fires spark new havoc, tactics at ground zero
by Kanako Takahara and Kazuaki Nagata
White smoke rose from the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and radiation levels rose at one point Wednesday, but the government later played down the possibility of grave damage to the containment vessel.
Correcting an earlier remark, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters in the afternoon that the government now believes the water pool for spent nuclear fuel at the No. 3 reactor probably heated up, causing steam to rise.
The containment vessel is the last line of defense for containing lethal radioactive materials, and significant damage would pose grave safety concerns.
“The possibility of any great damage to the containment vessel is low,” the government’s emergency headquarters said in a statement.
But evaporation of the water in the spent fuel rod pool poses another kind of threat.
If the fuel rods were to melt, high amounts of radiation could be released into the environment. The pool is not in the containment vessel.
Unlike the reactor itself, the fuel pool is not protected by a containment vessel and the roof of the No. 3 building was blown away by an earlier hydrogen explosion.
The temperature of the water in the spent fuel pool at the No. 4 unit also spiked Wednesday. The reactor had caught fire a day earlier after a hydrogen blast created two big holes in the facility’s wall.
Providing more water is urgently needed to prevent the fuel rods from melting. In a race against time to cool the water pool, the government dispatched a Self-Defense Forces C-47 helicopter carrying a bladder to dump water into the pool.
But the plan was canceled for the day because of the abnormally high level of radiation escaping from the plant.
It was later reported that a Metropolitan Police Department water cannon was requested to pump watere into the overheating facilities.
Earlier in the day, the nuclear safety agency said the radiation level briefly reached 10 millisieverts per hour at the plant’s main gate at 10:40 a.m.
Still, that was lower than the 400 millisieverts per hour — a level equivalent to roughly 400 times that at which people can be safely exposed in one year — that was recorded Tuesday and the maximum so far reported at the plant after apparent hydrogen blasts hit the No. 2 and No. 4 reactors.
Radiation levels had dropped to 1.5 millisieverts per hour at the main gate by 4 p.m.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the nuclear plant, instructed its officials to evacuate the area.
Despite a series of events that further raised fear of radiation leakage, the government said it doesn’t intend to expand the evacuation zone.
At present, residents within a 20-km radius have been ordered to evacuate and people between a 20- to 30-km radius have been instructed to stay indoors.
Seawater continued to be pumped into all the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 reactors, but water levels were still not high enough to cool all of the fuel rods. – Source
Identification of dead taxing as toll soars
from Kyodo News
Rescue operations continued Wednesday, with 80,000 Self-Defense Forces members and police officers mobilized in the devastated areas, where temperatures have dropped to midwinter levels.
The National Police Agency said it has confirmed 4,255 deaths in 12 prefectures, while 8,194 people remained unaccounted for in six prefectures as of 8 p.m.
The death toll, however, will inevitably climb as the recovery of bodies, mainly in the tsunami-hit coastal areas, steps up after waters recede and tsunami warnings abate.
“We could rescue more than 26,000 people, but the number of those who died or were unaccounted for has exceeded 10,000,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan told an emergency task force Wednesday afternoon. – More here
A map of earthquakes in Japan from 1961-1995
A famous investigative news reporter and author, Greg Palast, claims that the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant has been storing its spent nuclear fuel rods nearby, for decades. So, if it the plant explodes, it may damage the spent fuel containment building, and release a huge amount of radioactive waste.
Heroes of Fukushima – 50 remain at Daiichi
by Paul Harper
Following yesterday’s explosion at Fukushima Daiichi’s unit 2 reactor, a decision was made by a manager on site to evacuate staff working in the area.
But around 50 employees – dubbed the Fukushima 50 – have remained at the site working tirelessly around the clock to avoid possible meltdowns at three reactors at the quake-hit nuclear power plant.
They are attempting to cool down fuel rods at three reactors by injecting seawater into them.
Despite wearing protective clothing, experts say there will be negative effects to their health as a result of the radiation levels.
David Richardson, a professor of epidemiology at the university of North Carolina who has studied the long-term health risks for nuclear plant workers, told the BBC those at Fukushima would receive in an hour the same amount of radiation a US nuclear worker is exposed over an entire career.
“These workers in a few hours are getting fairly high doses I would say by contemporary standards for worker protection and that’s likely to pose some risks down the line.
“To my knowledge there’s not a good way after exposure of trying to protect somebody from the risks of a subsequent later cancer.” – More here
Japan in desperate bid to cool reactors
by Jonathan Soble and Michiyo Nakamoto in Tokyo
3/17/2011/1:45, Updated: 3/17/2011/14:04
A Japanese Self Defence force helicopter carrying more than seven tonnes of water as part of efforts to cool stricken reactors from the air
Japan is facing an increasingly desperate battle against time to cool down overheated reactors at a crippled atomic plant, the defence minister has warned, as fears of a major nuclear accident spread across the nation.
Japanese military helicopters dropped water over the Fukushima atomic power station’s No 3 reactor building in the latest effort to tame the crisis at the plant sparked by last Friday’s earthquake. Cooling systems in a water tank storing used uranium fuel from the reactor have failed, causing the water to boil away and exposing the fuel to the air.
A first attempt to deploy helicopters on Wednesday was called off because of dangerously high levels of radiation over the reactor. Explaining the decision to deploy them on Thursday, Toshimi Kitazawa, the defence minister, said the government had decided to take the gamble because the situation at the reactors had reached a critical point.
“Today the situation has reached its limit,” he said.
The deepening sense of danger was reflected in Japanese media coverage, which until Thursday had been divided roughly equally between dispatches from tsunami-flattened northern villages, reports on power cuts in Tokyo and the situation at Fukushima.
The nuclear situation dominated the news on Thursday. “It’s make-or-break time today,” a commentator on NHK state television said.
The focus of the six-day-old emergency at the Daiichi plant has shifted in the past 24 hours from the energy-producing reactors themselves to the storage tanks. Efforts to cool the three reactors that were producing power when the quake struck seemed to be progressing, with pressure levels inside the No 1, 2 and 3 reactors’ inner fuel chambers dropping, according to Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the plant’s operator.
Radiation, equipment failures and debris from external explosions at two of the plant’s six reactors have hampered efforts to refill the estimated 2,000-litre tank, where the still-radioactive used fuel is normally stored for several years before it is cool enough to be reprocessed.
Self Defence Force helicopters dropped water on the reactors a total of four times. However, their altitude above the reactors and inability to hover over the facility because of high radiation levels has made the effort less effective than hoped, according to an expert quoted by NHK, the state broadcaster.
The expert said the depth of the spent fuel pools at the worst affected reactors meant that at the current rate of operations, the exercise would have to be repeated 100 times to cool the reactors. After four rounds, the helicopters temporarily halted operations while experts assessed whether the effort was having any impact.
The nuclear drama was playing out as the official death toll from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami climbed to more than 5,400 with more than 9,000 still missing. Millions of people remain without power and at least 344,000 are being housed in 2,400 emergency shelters.
The new attempt to prevent a nuclear catastrophe came hours after a top US official said the situation in Japan was worse than Japanese officials had suggested.
Gregory Jaczko, head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission said his organisation believed that the spent fuel pool at one of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima plant – No 4 had run dry and was emitting “extremely high” radiation levels.
Mr Jaczko said the damage “could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures”.
Tepco disputed the claim, saying it believed there was some water in the tank, but could not determine precisely how much.
The White House urged Americans in Japan to stay outside a 50-mile radius of the reactors. Japanese officials have ordered people living within 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the Daiichi plant to leave the area. People living within 20km and 30km of the plant have been told to stay indoors.
Tepco is working to restore its power lines at the Daiichi plant by bringing a power line inside from a high voltage power transmission line running nearby. If successful, it hopes that the new line would revive electricity-powered pumps, allowing the company to maintain a steady water supply to troubled reactors and spent fuel storage ponds, keeping them cool.
Spokesman Naoki Tsunoda said the power line to Fukushima Daiichi was almost complete. Officials plan to try it “as soon as possible” but could not say when. – More here (with a video of the cooling efforts)
Two CH 47 military helicopters drop water on Reactor 3 and Reactor 4 of Fukushima nuclear plant:
Fukushima: Mark 1 Nuclear Reactor Design Caused GE Scientist To Quit In Protest Damaged Japanese Nuclear Plant Has Five Mark 1 Reactors
by Mathew Mosk
Thirty-five years ago, Dale G. Bridenbaugh and two of his colleagues at General Electric resigned from their jobs after becoming increasingly convinced that the nuclear reactor design they were reviewing — the Mark 1 — was so flawed it could lead to a devastating accident.
Questions persisted for decades about the ability of the Mark 1 to handle the immense pressures that would result if the reactor lost cooling power, and today that design is being put to the ultimate test in Japan. Five of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which has been wracked since Friday’s earthquake with explosions and radiation leaks, are Mark 1s.
“The problems we identified in 1975 were that, in doing the design of the containment, they did not take into account the dynamic loads that could be experienced with a loss of coolant,” Bridenbaugh told ABC News in an interview. “The impact loads the containment would receive by this very rapid release of energy could tear the containment apart and create an uncontrolled release.” – More here
We are witnessing the failure of “adaptive” emergency response plans
According to US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks Japan was warned three years ago their Emergency Response Plan was outdated and earthquake preparedness at Fukushima Dai’ichi nuclear power plant was dangerously inadequate. Beyond the warning, neither the US nor the Japanese government undertook any steps to correct the situation and we are now witnessing a desperate adaptive emergency response that relies upon the efforts of a handful of workers knowingly sacrificing their lives to try and avert a meltdown.
To make matters worse, TEPCO, the company that owns and operates the stricken plant has been caught falsifying safety records in the past and the reactor design had a known flaw.
Tokyo Electric Power Co injected air into the containment vessel of Fukushima reactor No 1 to artificially “lower the leak rate”. When caught, the company expressed its “sincere apologies for conducting dishonest practices”.
The misconduct came to light in 2002 after whistleblowers working for General Electric, which designed the reactor, complained to the Japanese government. Another GE employee later confessed that he had falsified records of inspections of reactor No1 in 1989 – at the request of TEPCO officials. He also admitted to falsifying other inspection reports, also on request of the client. After that incident TEPCO was forced to shut down 17 reactors, albeit temporarily.
Despite assurances by US officials and utilities to the contrary, it doesn’t appear the US is any better prepared than Japan. Like TEPCO, US utilities like PG&E that operates the Diablo Canyon power plant have been caught red handed with sloppy service and maintenance records and safety violations. – More here
Hundreds of aftershocks have continued to shake Japan
3/17/2011/ Updated on 9:45 ET
There is a flash slideshow of a huge amount of earthquakes shown on this BBC article here, it’s astounding how many there have been. No wonder many Japanese are leaving Japan.
Japan Coastline Changes
by Dr. Wendy Stenberg-Tendys
After the massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked the nation and triggered a powerful tsunami which travelled [sic] up to 10 kilometres inland, maps of Japan will need to be slightly redrawn. The quake is believed to have had a profound effect, not only on the surrounding terrain, but on the earth as a whole.
Dr. Daniel McNamara, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, says that the disaster left a huge rupture in the sea floor, 217-miles long and 50 miles wide. He affirms it also altered Japan’s coast between 13 to 8 feet, along a 300 mile stretch, though he was quick to say that much of the coast most likely didn’t move as far.
Satoko Oki, of the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute, said the huge quake was caused by a rupture close to the boundary between the North American and Pacific tectonic plates. The Pacific plate slipped under Japan at the Japan Trench, causing violent tremors, creating a tsunami as high as[ ]10 meters, which slammed into the island’s east coast.
Earthquakes of this size are only witnessed once in every 1,000 years off the coast of Japan, according to Japanese seismologists.
McNamara affirms the way in which the quake actually lowered the elevation of the country’s terrain – More here
Efforts to cool reactors continue in Japan nuclear crisis
from Kyodo News
Efforts to cool down the overheating reactors and spent fuels continued Friday at the troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which was crippled a week ago by a massive earthquake and tsunami, with workers braving the risk of radiation exposure to prevent the problems from developing into a catastrophe.
The unprecedented mission, which was launched Thursday by the Self-Defense Forces to spray tons of water over the plant’s No. 3 reactor building, was to be bolstered later in the day with more pumps, after efforts were focused in the morning to restore power to some of the reactors’ cooling systems, the government said.
The Tokyo Fire Department dispatched 30 trucks capable of discharging massive amounts of water to high places and some 140 firefighters of its “hyper rescue” team of specialists in rescue operations in large-scale disasters.
Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said all the 11 SDF fire trucks being mobilized will engage in pouring water into the pool at the No. 3 reactor later in the day, after up to 64 tons of water was aimed at it the day before by SDF helicopters and five of the trucks plus a police water cannon truck.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the fire department’s trucks are considering dousing a spent nuclear fuel pool in the No. 1 reactor, though it does not pose an imminent a threat as the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of releasing radioactive materials into the air, to extend all possible means.
Radiation readings at the troubled nuclear plant have consistently followed a downward path through Friday morning, according to data taken roughly 1 kilometer west of the plant’s No. 2 reactor.
The radiation level at 11 a.m. Friday dropped to 265.0 microsievert per hour from 351.4 microsievert per hour at 0:30 a.m. Thursday. It measured 292.2 microsievert per hour at 20:40 p.m., shortly after SDF trucks sprayed water at the No. 3 reactor pool as part of efforts to avert any massive emission of radioactive materials into the air from the facility.
Edano said radiation amounts near the Fukushima No. 1 complex “do not pose immediate adverse effects on the human body,” after the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency released radiation measurements collected by the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. – More here
Workers battle against time
Crisis severity of No. 1-3 reactors raised to level 5
by Kanako Takahara and Kazuaki Nagata
Separate desperate battles raged Friday to cool down a spent fuel pool and three reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to keep highly toxic radiation from being released into the environment.
Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. was also trying to set up new power lines from the outside and connect them to various facilities in the troubled plant in an effort to reactivate cooling pumps and emergency core cooling systems of the troubled reactors.
If the devices are unbroken and can get electricity, they could be a significant help in Tepco’s efforts to stabilize the crippled plant.
Tepco was aiming to finish connecting the power lines to the No. 1 and 2 reactor units by the end of Friday, and to the No. 3 and No. 4 units Sunday.
“We will concentrate on the work to set up the electricity lines from the outside,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.
Meanwhile, data released by Tepco indicated the radiation level at one sampling point at the west gate to the nuclear plant had steadily decreased to 265.0 microsieverts at 11 a.m. Friday from 351.4 microsieverts as of 12:30 a.m. Thursday. – More here
[Japanese] Workers ‘close’ to restoring nuclear plant power
from the BBC
Workers are close to restoring power at a quake-stricken Japanese nuclear power plant, officials say.
Engineers are expected to connect a new power line to four of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, north of Tokyo, by the end of Saturday.
The earthquake and tsunami it triggered crippled the plant’s cooling systems, raising concerns over radiation leaks.
At least 7,200 people were killed in the disaster on 11 March. About 11,000 more remain missing.
Firefighters have continued to spray water to cool the fuel rods at the Fukushima plant, in a desperate attempt to avert a meltdown.
The storage pools need a constant source of water to cool the rods.
Engineers have now connected a power cable to the outside of the plant.
Further cabling is under way inside to try to restart water pumps in four of the six reactors.
A nuclear safety agency official said: “We are scheduled to restore electricity at number one and two [reactors] today.
“Reactors number five and six also will be powered today. They are scheduled to restore power to number 3 and 4 tomorrow (Sunday).” – More here
Why not just bury them?
Experts: Too early to bury reactors [in concrete]
Sealing units in concrete could make situation worse
from the AP
The idea of smothering and sealing the overheated nuclear reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 facility in sand or concrete to stop the crisis is appealing. But experts say it is too early for something that desperate and it could be a big mistake that could worsen matters.
Most urge continuing the current efforts to cool the radioactive material, and at least one suggested massive spraying to hold down radioactive dust.
Fires, explosions or partial meltdowns have struck four of the six reactor units at the plant. There are few options for stopping the dangerous overheating of nuclear materials. Firetrucks sprayed tons of water Friday, and workers hope to restart cooling systems once a new power line is installed.
Reporters raised the notion Friday of sealing the reactors and fuel rods in concrete as an emergency measure. But officials with the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., didn’t embrace the idea.
“We believe it is not a realistic option,” said Hidehiko Nishiyama of the nuclear agency. And Teruaki Kobayashi, a Tepco manager, said the utility wouldn’t rule out entombing the reactors but thinks the probability is low.
It’s true that concrete tombs may someday stand at the troubled nuclear complex, one expert said, but only as a long-term strategy once the radiation has cooled.
The entombment idea has been touted on American television by Michio Kaku, a physics professor at City College of New York and a television host on the Science Channel. He has talked about dumping a combination of boric acid to dampen the nuclear fission, sand and eventually concrete to seal off the nuclear material.
Such a massive effort would take days if not weeks to plan, so he argues preparation should start now in case it becomes necessary. He envisioned an armada of helicopters and workers to dump sand and then concrete to smother the spent-fuel pool and other damaged nuclear material.
But experts see risk. For one thing, the structures that confine the radioactivity now could be damaged if heavy loads of material are dumped on them, opening new avenues for the hazard to escape.
“When you drop tons of material from hundreds of feet in a helicopter, you’re going to do some damage,” said Alex Sich, a nuclear engineer at Franciscan University in Ohio. “It could be a bad idea. . . . I would ask them to stop and think three times before they do any dumping of heavy materials.”
Sich, who has lived in Chernobyl and published research on the disaster there, noted that Russian authorities dumped some 5,000 tons of sand, clay and other materials from helicopters in an attempt to smother that dangerous reactor.
The Fukushima situation is different, he said. The reactors are surrounded by multiple barriers designed to contain radiation from the reactor cores. If a heavy dumping cracked the inner vessels and exposed the reactor cores, “that would be absurdity,” he said. – More here
Yes, Fukushima is a lot worse than Chernobyl already.
– TEPCO Director Weeps After Finally Admitting The Truth About Fukushima Disaster: Radiation Leak Is Serious Enough To Kill People:
The latest pictures show a whole wall missing from the building housing reactor number four. Inside, a green crane normally used to move spent fuel rods into the storage pool can be seen. Underneath the crane, but not seen in the picture, is the 45ft-deep spent fuel storage pool which has boiled dry.
Exposed: this shots shows a gaping hole in the building of reactor number four. The green crane, circled, is normally used to move spent fuel rods into a 45ft deep storage pond, just out of shot. But the pool has now boiled dry and the spent rods are heating up and releasing radiation
Why is this important and what are the consequences? (MUST-READ!!!):
– Japan Nuclear Meltdown: It’s Much, Much Worse Than It Looks (Thanks To The Stupidity of Nuclear Engineers!)
As Robert Alvarez, a former nuclear energy adviser to President Bill Clinton, has written, if these waste containers, euphemistically called “ponds,” were to be damaged in an explosion and lose their cooling and radiation-shielding water, they could burst into flame from the resulting burning of the highly flammable zirconium cladding of the fuel rods, blasting perhaps three to nine times as much of these materials into the air as was released by the Chernobyl reactor disaster. (And that’s if just one reactor blows!) Each pool, Alvarez says, generally contains five to ten times as much nuclear material as the reactors themselves. Alvarez cites a 1997 Nuclear Regulatory Commission study that predicted that a waste pool fire could render a 188-square-mile area “uninhabitable” and do $59 billion worth of damage (but that was 13 years ago).
Japan Nuclear Meltdown: Multiple Times Worse than Chernobyl
by Stephen Lendman
The dirty bomb has indeed gone off already. In Japan, coverup and denial persist. In a March 18 press conference, Tokyo Electric’s (TEPCO) spokesman claimed water-dousing lowered radiation levels from 312 microsieverts per hour to 289. However, 48 hours earlier, chief cabinet secretary Yukido Edano said radioactivity levels were misreported in microsieverts instead of millisieverts – 1,000 times stronger.
Contrary to other reports, TEPCO’s spokesman also said water remains in Unit 4′s cooling pool. In fact, there’s none. Nothing the company says is credible.
In contrast, distinguished nuclear expert Helen Caldicott called Fukushima an unprecedented “absolute disaster,” multiples worse than Chernobyl. “The situation is very grim and not just for the Japanese people. If both reactors blow then the whole of the northern hemisphere may be affected. Only one (Chernobyl) reactor blew, and it was only three months old with relatively little radiation. (Fukushima’s) have been operating for 40 years, and would hold about 30 times more radiation than Chernobyl.”
It killed nearly one million people and counting, according to the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS). Yet the official IAEA figure was 4,000. NYAS’ report said:
“This is a collection of papers translated from the Russian with some revised and updated contributions. Written by leading authorities from Eastern Europe, the volume outlines the history of the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. According to the authors, official discussions from the (IAEA) and associated (UN) agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findingins reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments.”
In fact, IAEA and UN agencies lied, what’s ongoing now on Fukushima to conceal the greatest ever environmental/human disaster by far. Calling it a “diabolical catastrophe,” Caldicott, in fact, believes “(i)t could be much, much worse than” 30 multiples of Chernobyl. “In the northern hemisphere, many millions could get cancer.” Large parts of Japan may be permanently contaminated, not safe to live in.
Adding a hopeful note, she also thinks “the nuclear industry is finished worldwide. I have said before, unfortunately, the only thing that is capable of stopping this wicked industry is a major catastrophe, and it now looks like this may be it.”
In a March 16 “Destroyer of Worlds” statement, she added:
“The world is now paying – and will pay however severe Fukushima turns out to be – a grave price for the nuclear industry’s hubris and the arrogance and greed that fueled their drive to build more and more reactors. What’s more, having bamboozled gullible politicians, the media, and much of the public into believing that it is a ‘clean and green’ solution to the problem of global warming, the nuclear industry has operated facilities improperly, with little or no regard for safety regulations, and they have often done this with the connivance of government authorities.”
In fact, nuclear power isn’t “clean and green,” nor is it safe or renewable. “It is instead ‘a destroyer of worlds.’ It is time the globaly community repudiated it….There is no other choice for the sake of future generations” and planet earth. Humanity has a choice – nuclear power or life itself.
On March 17, New York Times writers Norimitsu Onishi, David Sanger and Matthew Walf headlined, “With Quest to Cool Fuel Rods Stumbling, US Sees ‘Weeks’ of Struggle,” saying:
America’s “top nuclear official followed up his (day before) bleak appraisal of the grave situation at the plant, (cautioning) it would “take some time, possibly weeks” to make headway.
On March 17, Times writers David Sanger and William Broad headlined, “Radiation Spread Seen; Frantic Repairs Go On,” saying:
“….frantic efforts to cool nuclear fuel in the troubled reactors and in the plant’s spent-fuel pools resulted in little or no progress, according to United States government officials.”
Officials are also trying to restore power with no assurance doing so can help. Explosions, fires, and extremely high heat destroyed most or all plant equipment, likely including water pumps.
An unnamed source said, “What you are seeing are desperate efforts – just throwing everything at it in hopes something will work. Right now this is more prayer than plan.”
More likely, however, it’s deception, trying to convince public opinion that anything can work when, in fact, it may already be too late.
On March 18, Times writers David Sanger and William Broad headlined, “Frantic Repairs Go On at Plant; Little Progress in Cooling Fuel,” saying:
Radioactive “(s)team was again rising over another part of the plant, this time billowing from Reactor No. 2″ that exploded on Tuesday. No explanation why was given.
Helicopter water drops failed. On Friday, military officials halted them at least for a day. Nuclear experts think they’re futile. Video evidence showed most water missed its target or evaporated before reaching it. Osaka University’s Professor Akira Yamaguchi said:
“7.5 tons of water has been dumped. We do not know the size of the pool, but judging from other examples it probably holds 2,000 tons. It does not mean the pool needs to be completely full, but maybe a third of the tank’s capacity is needed.”
America believes TEPCO “consistently underestimated the risk and moved too slowly to contain the damage.”
On March 18, Al Jazeera headlined, “Japan raises nuclear alert level,” saying:
Its “nuclear safety agency raise(d the) severity rating of (the) accident at Fukushima plant, signifying higher risk of radiation.”
However, Al Jazeera’s equating its seriousness to Three Mile Island or Chernobyl is willful deception. Fukushima is unprecedented, in unchartered territory, perhaps unstoppable. Guenther Oettinger, EU energy chief, called the site “effectively out of control, (facing) apocalypse.”
Al Jazeera claimed “prevailing winds are likely to carry any contaminated smoke or steam away from the densely populated Tokyo area to dissipate over the Pacific Ocean.”
False! Radiation levels in Tokyo are dangerously high and rising. Moreover, a radiation cloud will reach California by weekend, then spread across most of North America. Downplaying the disaster’s severity is scandalous and criminal. Besides dead zones and permanent environmental contamination, millions of illnesses and deaths are likely, though years will pass before accurate information is known.
Make no mistake, Japan’s government/industry cabal bears full responsibility for the greatest ever environmental/human disaster, an indisputable crime. They have blood on their hands as does America, other governments, and “Destroyer of Worlds” officials that that proliferate this technology from hell. Nothing short of banning it is acceptable.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Email address removed. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. – Source
US Government Refuses To Give Details On Radiation Measurements
By Stephen Power and Carol E. Lee
(Wall Street Journal) WASHINGTON—U.S. government officials, in private sessions on Capitol Hill Friday, repeatedly declined to give details of radiation measurements at the stricken Japanese nuclear complex, saying the situation is shrouded in a “fog of war.”
Separately, the Obama administration said Friday “miniscule quantities” of radiation from the Japanese nuclear accident were detected Friday at a monitoring station in Sacramento, Calif., a day after similar traces of radiation were detected in Washington state. The administration said the levels of the radioactive isotope xenon 133 were approximately equivalent to one-millionth the dose received from the sun, rocks or other natural sources.
The Obama administration’s reluctance to detail in public what it is learning from radiation-detection operations around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi complex in Japan highlights a broader sensitivity in the U.S.’s posture toward a stricken ally. The shift comes after statements Wednesday by the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that painted a grimmer picture of the nuclear crisis than Japanese officials had offered, and suggested that the U.S. didn’t trust the information coming from the Japanese government.
NRC officials told congressional staffers in a briefing Friday that their information about radiation levels around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex is fluid, and declined repeatedly to release detailed data, saying the information they have isn’t reliable enough to share. (BS! The US had the military on site with all necessary equipment on board to take exact measurements. Guess why the US military fled?)
The head of the NRC, Gregory Jaczko, on Wednesday said the radiation risks from the badly damaged Tokyo Electric Power Co. complex called for evacuating U.S. citizens living within 50 miles of the facility—a recommendation that jolted Japanese officials who had said that only people living within 12 miles of the plant should leave.
Mr. Jaczko’s spokesman said Thursday said the NRC’s information about the conditions at the plant was inconclusive, but the agency erred on the side of caution.
At one point, officials who briefed congressional staffers Friday said they had earlier in the week detected radiation levels above reactor No. 4 in the Fukushima complex spiking to 300 millisieverts, people familiar with the meeting said.
That figure is consistent with statements from the Japanese government earlier this week that it had measured a radiation doses of between 30 and 400 millisieverts.
International standards for acceptable radiation exposure are 20 millisievers year, 50 millisieverts per year by U.S. standards, said Arjun Makhijani, of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
The U.S. NRC limits the exposure of U.S. nuclear workers to no more than 50 millisieverts per year.
NRC officials who briefed congressional aides Friday said they don’t expect harmful levels of radiation to reach U.S. shores, multiple participants in the meeting said. The officials didn’t describe in detail how far radiation from the plant has reached.
“Most of the radiation that’s been released is gaseous, which goes right up,” one aide said. “So radiation levels at ground level will be different from radiation levels above the reactor.”
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization said Friday that its network of radiation sensors had detected radiation emitting from a series of accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last Saturday and had followed the radiation plume across thousands of miles of ocean to Sacramento.
The radiation could circle the globe in roughly two weeks, said Annika Thunborg, a spokeswoman for the United Nations’s agency.
President Barack Obama said Thursday that U.S. nuclear experts don’t expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the U.S. from Japan, but the administration has deployed additional radiation sensors along the West Coast and in Hawaii, Guam and the Alaska.
Obama administration officials have expressed frustration with the quality and timeliness of information from Japan, and with the Japanese government’s apparent reluctance to ask for more help in coping with the disaster. But the Japanese signaled a new openness on Friday to receiving help, U.S. officials said.
The Japanese government has sent requests to the U.S. for additional resources, including protective materials such as suits, rubber gloves and boots, a U.S. official said.
“They are engaging their allies to assist them more,” the official said.
Japan’s willingness to accept more assistance comes after a week of a tactful diplomatic back-and-forth between two close allies, and is still not at the level Obama administration officials say is merited by the gravity of the crisis.
“It is very delicate,” an administration official said.
Japan’s Ambassador to the U.S., Ichiro Fujisaki, said during an appearance in Washington Friday that his country is “trying to cope” with the continuing nuclear crisis and that efforts to address humanitarian needs and other challenges in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami is “not an easy situation.”
—David Crawford in Berlin and Ryan Tracy in Washington contributed to this article. – Source
Japan reluctant to disclose footage of power plant taken by U.S. drone
by Gary Mortimer
The Manichai Daily news reports that the Japanese government has in its possession video footage of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant taken by a U.S. military reconnaissance drone, but has yet to release the footage to the public, sources have revealed.
The footage taken from an RQ-4 Global Hawk drone was passed on to the Japanese government with permission for public release from the U.S. Air Force. U.S. military sources said that the decision to release the footage — or not — was up to the Japanese government. – More here
3/21/2011: Power restored to cooling pumps in two Fukushima reactors (CLICK TO READ)
Over 21,000 dead, missing in quake-hit Japan, bodies buried
The number of people killed or reported missing as a result of the March 11 devastating earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan topped 21,000 on Tuesday, the National Police Agency said.
Some identified bodies in a rare move were buried in parts of the quake-stricken areas in the absence of fuel at many crematoriums, while Tokyo Electric Power Co. resumed work to connect power cables to crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The number of deaths in 12 prefectures came to 9,079 as of noon and that of people reported missing by their relatives climbed to 12,645 in six prefectures.
The police have so far conducted autopsies on 8,360 bodies, of which 4,670 have been identified and handed over to their families, the police agency said.
About 310,000 evacuees, including people who fled areas around the troubled nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture, are now staying at about 2,100 makeshift shelters set up in 16 prefectures that include Tokyo.
Evacuees were forced to endure cold temperatures with the mercury falling to minus 2.8 C in Morioka, the capital of Iwate Prefecture, and 3.1 C in Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture, in the early hours of Tuesday.
Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures were hardest hit by the killer temblor and tsunami.
In Miyagi’s Higashimatsushima, authorities began burying bodies which have been identified after gaining consent from their relatives.
In Japan, bodies are usually cremated, but many crematoriums in the quake-hit areas are unable to operate due to the fuel shortage.
The Higashimatsushima city government said it has prepared a large tract of land for burial of up to 1,000 bodies. It plans to bury about 20 bodies Tuesday. Mayor Hideo Abe said it is a temporary measure and the city government will cremate the bodies within two years.
Authorities also plan to begin burying bodies in Iwate’s Kamaishi on Friday. Many governments in Miyagi Prefectures such as Sendai, Kesennuma, Ishinomaki, Natori, Minamisanriku, Onagawa, Yamamoto and Watari plan to do likewise.
Meanwhile, East Japan Railway Co. resumed bullet train services between Morioka and Shin-Aomori stations on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, while the Tohoku Expressway, one of major routes for land transport between Tokyo and the quake-hit areas, was opened to trucks. – More here
Radiation 10,000 times normal level hits nuke plant workers
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said Friday that the three workers were exposed to radiation 10, 000 times the normal level while dealing with an emergency at the No 3 reactor of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The finding of the high dose of radiation indicated it was likely that part of the fuel in the reactor or the spent fuel stored in the pool in the reactor building had been damaged.
Two of them were taken to the Fukushima Medical University hospital as their feet were injured, possibly by beta rays, and contaminated by radioactive substances.
The two victims are employees of a partner of TEPCO, owner and operator of the Fukushima nuclear plants. They were laying power cables with their feet submerged in the water of the turbine room at the reactor shortly after midday when the radiation exposure occurred.
They will be transferred later Friday to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba City for further examination.
Radioactive leaks were detected after a series of explosions and fires at four of the plant’s six reactors following the failure of their cooling functions due to the damaged power supplies in the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan on March 11. – Source
International Atomic Energy Agency Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident Update
Vienna, Austria–15:45 UTC. Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that on March 24, examinations of the thyroid glands in 66 children (14 of which are infants) were conducted near the evacuation area around the Fukushima nuclear plant. The exams were conducted at the Kawamata Town Health Center (40-50 kilometres from Fukushima Daiichi NPP) and Kawamata Town Yamakiya Branch Office (30-40 kilometres from Fukushima Daiichi NPP).
According to a 25 March 2011 Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency press release, the results of the examinations indicated that the dose rate “of all the 66 children including 14 infants from 1 to 6 years old had no big difference from the level of background and was at the level of no problem in light of the view of Nuclear Safety Commission.” – Source
More obstacles impede crews in Japan nuke crisis
by Yuri Kageyama and Mari Yamaguchi
TOKYO — Mounting problems, including incorrect radiation figures and a shortage of storage tanks, stymied emergency workers Sunday as they tried to nudge Japan’s stricken nuclear complex back from the edge of disaster.
Workers are struggling to remove radioactive water from the tsunami-ravaged nuclear compound and restart the regular cooling systems for the dangerously hot fuel.
The day began with company officials reporting that radiation in leaking water in the Unit 2 reactor was 10 million times above normal, a spike that forced employees to flee the unit. The day ended with officials saying the huge figure had been miscalculated and offering apologies.
“The number is not credible,” said Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Takashi Kurita. “We are very sorry.”
While the water is contaminated with radiation, officials are unsure about the actual levels. They planned to take another sample, but Kurita did not know when the results would be known.
Officials acknowledged there was radioactive water in all four of the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex’s most troubled reactors, and that airborne radiation in Unit 2 measured 1,000 millisieverts per hour, four times the limit deemed safe by the government. – More here
Japan nuclear: Workers evacuated as radiation soars
from the BBC
Radioactivity in water at reactor 2 at the quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant has reached 10 million times the usual level, company officials say.
Workers trying to cool the reactor core to avoid a meltdown have been evacuated.
Earlier, Japan’s nuclear agency said that levels of radioactive iodine in the sea near the plant had risen to 1,850 times the usual level.
The UN’s nuclear agency has warned the crisis could go on for months.
It is believed the radiation at Fukushima is coming from one of the reactors, but a specific leak has not been identified.
Leaking water at reactor 2 has been measured at 1,000 millisieverts/hour – 10 million times higher than when the plant is operating normally.
“We are examining the cause of this, but no work is being done there because of the high level of radiation,” said a spokesman for the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco).
“High levels of caesium and other substances are being detected, which usually should not be found in reactor water. There is a high possibility that fuel rods are being damaged,” the spokesman added.
Tepco has been criticised for a lack of transparency and failing to provide information more promptly.
The nation’s nuclear agency said the operator of the Fukushima plant had made a number of mistakes, including worker clothing.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government said that airbone radiation around the plant was decreasing.
The plant was damaged in the deadly 11 March earthquake and tsunami.
The death toll has now passed 10,000, and more than 17,440 people are missing.
The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has now sent extra teams to the Japanese nuclear plant.
The radiation found in the sea will no longer be a risk after eight days because of iodine’s half-life, officials say.
Japanese government spokesman Yukio Edano said on Saturday that Tepco had to be more transparent in the wake of an incident this week in which three workers were exposed to radiation levels 10,000 times higher than normal, suffering burns.
“We strongly urge Tepco to provide information to the government more promptly,” Mr Edano said.
Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (Nisa), said two injured workers were wearing boots that only came up to their ankles and afforded little protection.
“Regardless of whether there was an awareness of high radioactivity in the stagnant water, there were problems in the way work was conducted,” Mr Nishiyama said.
He said Tepco also knew of high air radiation at one reactor several days before the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant 240km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.
Mourners in Yamamoto, 26 March Mass burials have been held, including here at Yamamoto
He said Tepco had been warned and measures to improve safety had been put in place.
He said that leakage from reactors had probably caused the high levels of radiation found in water at the Fukushima plant.
Emergency workers are continuing to cool the reactors in an effort to prevent a meltdown. They have now switched to using more favoured fresh water as a coolant, rather than sea water.
There had been fears the salt in sea water could further corrode machinery. The fresh water is being pumped in so that contaminated radioactive water can be extracted.
The team of more than 700 engineers has found radioactive water in three of the six reactors.
Four of the reactors are still considered volatile. – More here
And by the way, the sick heads of Tepco sent in workers with short inadequate boots while trying to cool the damaged reactor. If that’s not sick and sociopathic or narcissistic behavior, then what is? Jail the heads of Tepco for insanity and crimes against humanity.
[PM Naoto] Kan blamed for slowing response
from Japan Times
The government’s initial responses to contain the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station after the March 11 quake were delayed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s effort to inspect the plant by helicopter the next morning, government sources revealed Sunday.
By the evening of March 11, hours after the massive quake hit northern Japan and the ensuing tsunami wiped out towns on the Pacific coast of Tohoku, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency had drawn up the worst-case scenario for the troubled No. 2 reactor: Its failed cooling system could cause the fuel rods in the core to start burning up and release radioactive material outside it.
The government’s nuclear watchdog conveyed its assessment of the reactor’s state to Kan’s team at 10:30 p.m., the sources said. By the early hours of March 12, high levels of radioactive iodine had been detected at the plant, which is operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Around the same time, pressure in the No. 1 reactor had begun to rise. That was the most critical point in the emergency because it was necessary to lower the pressure in the reactors and prevent an explosion, the unnamed sources said. But Kan flew in to view the power plant in the early morning of March 12.
“How could Tepco irradiate the prime minister flying up above by ventilating the reactors?” asked a government official familiar with the development. “His inspection delayed the ventilating steps.”
It was not clear whether Tepco emphatically warned Kan to stay away. Tepco started the process to ventilate the reactors at 9:04 a.m. only after the chopper Kan was aboard left the area, the sources said. But workers could not open valves that were necessary to release the air until 2:30 p.m., the sources said. Despite ventilation, a hydrogen explosion occurred at the No. 1 reactor hours later.
A nuclear expert close to the government’s nuclear policy speculated that the loss of time at the initial stage probably narrowed the scope of options available to contain the crisis. – Source
Man: that guy needs some prayer.
Fresh earthquake rocks Japan
Quake zone hit again
A magnitude 6.5 earthquake strikes north-eastern Japan, but authorities say no casualties have been reported.
Japan has lifted a tsunami warning after a large tremor struck the devestated north-east coast early today , the weather agency says.
The Japan Meteorological Agency had earlier issued a 50-centimetre tsunami warning for the Pacific coast of Miyagi prefecture, which was shattered by the huge earthquake and tsunami that hit on March 11.
The US Geological Survey reported a 6.5-magnitude earthquake but then downgraded its strength. The epicentre was at a depth of 17 kilometres, it added.
Japan’s weather agency said that the quake was most likely an aftershock of the massive tremor more than two weeks ago, and warned of more to come. – More here with an audio clip from a US Geological survey person about it
Handling of nuclear crisis hit
from the Japan Times/Kyodo News
A survey released Sunday found that 58.2 percent of respondents do not approve of the government’s handling of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and that 39.3 percent do.
The poll found 57.9 percent approve of the way the state has supported disaster victims in northeast and eastern Japan hit by the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
The nationwide telephone survey conducted Saturday and Sunday also found that the approval rate for Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s Cabinet came to 28.3 percent, up 8.4 points from the previous survey in mid-February.
A total of 67.5 percent said they support to varying extents a temporary tax increase to secure funds to help recovery efforts for disaster-hit areas. The breakdown was 20.1 percent showing outright support and 47.4 percent showing luke-warm backing for such a move.
As for the government’s response to the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was severely damaged by the quake and tsunami, 19.6 percent said they do not approve of it and 38.6 percent said they do not approve of it very much. Only 4.9 percent expressed considerable approval and 34.4 percent said they value the government’s handling of the situation to a certain extent.
In terms of central government relief measures for disaster victims and support for disaster-hit areas, 10.0 percent said they considerably approve of the moves and 47.9 percent said they approve to a certain extent. In contrast, 31.9 percent said they do not value the government response very much and 7.3 percent they do not approve of it.
Asked about their evaluation of Kan as the country’s leader, a combined 63.7 percent thought he was not exercising sufficient leadership.
The phone survey covered 1,432 households with eligible voters and valid responses were received from 1,011 individuals. – Source
Japan is one confused country. In Japan, there is a cultural mentality among many of not being a nail that sticks out, because you will get hit, that’s a saying they have. I think that peer pressure Hell has something to do with the results of this poll. Such a mentality leads to bullying, suicide and murder.
Radioactive water keeps workers out, Turbine room floods linked to sea
by Kazuaki Nagata and Kanako Takahara
Reactor turbine basements flooded with highly radioactive materials kept a desperate effort to stabilize the Fukushima No. 1 power plant at bay Monday, as fresh data showed that nearby seawater was being contaminated further by the leaking facility.
Efforts by Tokyo Electric Power Co. to restore the cooling systems for reactors No. 1 through 4, as well as their spent-fuel storage pools, continue to be halted by the highly radioactive water, which is now at lethal levels.
Later in the day, Tepco said the strong radiation had been detected outside the turbine buildings as well, but in an area that could explain how the toxic material is contaminating the sea.
The latest discovery, confirmed Sunday, focuses on trenches below the turbine buildings of reactors No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3. Radiation as strong as 1,000 millisieverts per hour — the same as in the turbine room — was detected on the surface of water found in the trench below reactor No. 2.
The water in the trench below reactor No. 1 had a radiation level of only 0.4 millisieverts per hour.
Tepco said it could not monitor the radiation level in the trench below reactor No. 3 because there was too much debris there.
Since the trenches’ exits are only about 55 to 70 meters from the sea, Tepco officials are worried that the highly polluted water could overflow from the trenches and out to the sea.
Experts say it is difficult to predict how long it will take to end the nuclear crisis.
Michiaki Furukawa, a board member of the nonprofit organization Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, said it may take even a month to pump out the toxic water, restore damaged cooling facilities and bring the nuclear reactors under control to end the crisis, which started with the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Eventually, the plant may need to be encased in concrete, like Chernobyl was, he said. – More here
Expert fears full nuclear meltdown at Fukushima reactor 2
Briefing: Evidence is mounting that nuclear fuel has melted through a reactor vessel
A reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant – already the site of a partial meltdown – may have gone into full meltdown, according to a nuclear expert. Richard Lahey, who was a safety chief at General Electric, the company that installed the Fukushima reactors, told the Guardian he thought that engineers had “lost the race” to save reactor 2.
What’s the difference between a full and partial meltdown?A nuclear meltdown happens when the fuel rods in a reactor core overheat and become molten. In truth, there is no technical definition of ‘nuclear meltdown’, which means even the so-called ‘partial meltdown’ already acknowledged at Fukushima’s reactor 2 could be termed a ‘nuclear meltdown’.
What’s happened at reactor 2?The core – which contains the nuclear fuel rods – may have melted through the bottom of the steel reactor vessel of reactor 2, and collected on the floor of the concrete shell – the ‘drywell’. Lahey says: “I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards.”
What is the evidence of a meltdown? Highly radioactive water has been detected in a tunnel outside the reactor building. At 1,000 millisieverts per hour, this is 100,000 times higher than would normally be expected and it could only have come from the reactor core. A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said: “High levels of caesium and other substances are being detected, which usually should not be found in reactor water. There is a high possibility that fuel rods are being damaged.”
What is the danger from a nuclear meltdown?The escape of radiation into the environment is the primary concern. This could happen if the molten nuclear fuel reacts with the concrete to form a radioactive gas. Unfortunately the secondary containment structure seems likely to have been damaged in a hydrogen explosion.
The highly radioactive water from reactor 2 has almost completely filled a tunnel leading from the building. It is only about 50m away from the sea.
Could this be as bad as chernobyl? – More here
Crews ‘facing 100-year battle’ at Fukushima
by David Mark and Mark Willacy
A nuclear expert has warned that it might be 100 years before melting fuel rods can be safely removed from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.
The warning came as levels of radioactive iodine flushed into the sea near the plant spiked to a new high and the Wall Street Journal said it had obtained disaster response blueprints which said the plant’s operators were woefully unprepared for the scale of the disaster.
Water is still being poured into the damaged reactors to cool melting fuel rods.
But one expert says the radiation leaks will be ongoing and it could take 50 to 100 years before the nuclear fuel rods have completely cooled and been removed.
“As the water leaks out, you keep on pouring water in, so this leak will go on for ever,” said Dr John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit at the UK’s National Nuclear Corporation.
“There has to be some way of dealing with it. The water is connecting in tunnels and concrete-lined pits at the moment and the question is whether they can pump it back.
“The final thing is that the reactors will have to be closed and the fuel removed, and that is 50 to 100 years away. – More here
Iodine-131 detected in Pacific Ocean water near the plant site surged to a new high of 3,355 times the legal limit, officials said — compared with the previous top level of 1,850 times the legal maximum taken days ago.
“The figures are rising further,” said nuclear safety agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama. “We need to find out as quickly as possible the cause and stop them from rising any higher.”
Radioactive steam has also wafted into the air, contaminating regional farm and dairy produce, and last week led to elevated iodine levels in tap water in Tokyo, 250 kilometers to the southwest.
Japanese authorities have repeatedly stressed that none of the affected food or water presents an immediate threat to human health, and that ocean currents would dilute sea-born radioactivity.
With crucial control room functions still disabled, experts are not sure what exactly is happening inside the reactors — and some international experts have issued dire warnings that a meltdown may already be in progress.
One of them is Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when it installed the Fukushima units. – More here
‘We will die if it is necessary to save the nation’: Members of the Fukushima 50 expect to perish from radiation sickness ‘within weeks’
by Richard Shears
* Police, rescue workers and family members could be exposed to radiation
* Radioactivity levels in the ocean 4,385 times above regulatory limit
* Ground water levels are 10,000 times the Government health standard
* Fisherman warned not to operate within 12 miles of plant
* Compensation claims could top $12bn
* Power firm’s shares lose 80% of value – may need government bailout
* President still recovering in hospital recovering from ‘fatigue and stress’
* U.S. sends specialist Marine unit to assist in decontamination
* Traces of radioactive particles found in U.S. milk
The mother of one of the workers who are battling to stop a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant said today that they all expect to die from radiation sickness ‘within weeks’.
The so-called Fukushima 50 are all repeatedly being exposed to dangerously high radioactive levels as they attempt to restore vital cooling systems following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
And speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker told Fox News: ‘My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation.
‘He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.’
‘They have concluded between themselves that it is inevitable some of them may die within weeks or months. They know it is impossible for them not to have been exposed to lethal doses of radiation.’
The woman spoke to the network on the condition of anonymity because plant workers had been asked by management not to communicate with the media or share details with family members in order to minimize panic.
The commitment from the workers at the plant came as it was revealed 1,000s of victims bodies have not been collected because of fears of high levels of radiation. – More here
Video from CNN, added on 2/2/2011: Death threats and published home addresses are just part of an internet campaign against TEPCO, narrated by CNN’s news reporter Kyung Lah
Absorbent used to soak up radioactive water, 2 found dead at nuke plant
from Kyodo News
Workers prepared Sunday to block the leakage of highly radioactive water into the sea from the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant by injecting polymeric powder that can absorb 50 times its volume of water, the government’s nuclear safety agency said.
The plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the same day that two workers in their 20s who had been missing since the March 11 killer quake and tsunami that crippled the power station were found dead in the basement of a reactor’s building last Wednesday.
They died of bleeding from multiple injuries about an hour after the quake struck the plant, according to the utility known as TEPCO. It is the first time that TEPCO workers have been confirmed to have died at the Daiichi plant.
Engineers will inject the polymeric water absorbent used for diapers later in the day into pipes leading to a pit connected to the No. 2 reactor’s building where a 20-centimeter crack has been found to be leaking radioactive water.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the water is still flowing from the pit into the Pacific Ocean and that the rate of the leak remains unchanged despite TEPCO’s efforts on Saturday to encase the fracture in concrete.
Highly radioactive water has been filling up the basement of the No. 2 building and a tunnel-like underground trench connected to it. The water in the pit is believed to have come from the No. 2 reactor core, where fuel rods have partially melted.
Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the nuclear regulatory body, said the operator has confirmed that pits from the plant’s other reactors have no similar cracks. – More here
From Afar, a Vivid Picture of Japan Crisis
by William J. Broad
Thanks to the unfamiliar but sophisticated art of atomic forensics, experts around the world have been able to document the situation vividly. Over decades, they have become very good at illuminating the hidden workings of nuclear power plants from afar, turning scraps of information into detailed analyses.
For example, an analysis by a French energy company revealed far more about the condition of the plant’s reactors than the Japanese have ever described: water levels at the reactor cores dropping by as much as three-quarters, and temperatures in those cores soaring to nearly 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to burn and melt the zirconium casings that protect the fuel rods.
Scientists in Europe and America also know from observing the explosions of hydrogen gas at the plant that the nuclear fuel rods had heated to very dangerous levels, and from radioactive plumes how far the rods had disintegrated.
At the same time, the evaluations also show that the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi escaped the deadliest outcomes — a complete meltdown of the plant.
Most of these computer-based forensics systems were developed after the 1979 partial meltdown at Three Mile Island, when regulators found they were essentially blind to what was happening in the reactor. Since then, to satisfy regulators, companies that run nuclear power plants use snippets of information coming out of a plant to develop simulations of what is happening inside and to perform a variety of risk evaluations.
Indeed, the detailed assessments of the Japanese reactors that Energy Secretary Steven Chu gave on Friday — when he told reporters that about 70 percent of the core of one reactor had been damaged, and that another reactor had undergone a 33 percent meltdown — came from forensic modeling. – More here
Softbank’s Son gives ¥10 billion to victims
by Hiroko Nakata
Softbank Corp. announced Sunday that President Masayoshi Son will personally donate ¥10 billion to support victims of the March 11 earthquake and help fund the recovery of the quake-hit Tohoku region.
Son will also donate all his earnings until retirement to support orphans, including those who lost their parents in the earthquake and tsunami that left more than 20,000 people dead or missing, the company said. Softbank Corp. is the holding company of the Softbank Group, whose core business is cell phone services.
Softbank has already decided to donate ¥1 billion to assist the Japanese Red Cross Society and other volunteer groups helping to pay the medium- and long-term living and education costs of orphans, the company said in a statement.
¥115 billion donated KYODO The Japanese Red Cross Society and the Central Community Chest of Japan said Sunday that they have jointly collected ¥115.4 billion for victims of the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
Committees to be set up by prefectural governments will likely decide how to share and distribute the money, which was tallied on Saturday.
However, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshihiro Katayama said on an NHK news program Sunday that the government would also like a say in the matter.
“Although it is not the duty of the central government to decide how to distribute the funds, we would like to devise some sort of guidelines to enable speedy distribution,” Katayama said. – Source
Comment from me: What in the world?!: Hasn’t Japan’s government done enough damage already? It put the whole island in danger of death, and many others throughout the world, and now it wants to play the hand that gives out someone elses help-money!? EVIL! Will God overlook such extreme arrogance and callousness?! This is one of the most outrageous things I’ve ever read!
Tepco set to dump toxic water into sea
11,500 radioactive tons may be let out; containment fence eyed
by Kanako Takahara
Tokyo Electric Power Co. might be forced to release 11,500 tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant into the Pacific on Tuesday to help speed up work to bring the crippled complex under control, the beleaguered utility said Monday.
Workers will try to minimize the environmental impact by setting up an underwater silt fence similar to an oil fence outside the drainage outlet near the damaged No. 2 reactor, where toxic water is already leaking into the sea from an unknown source.
The water to be dumped was pumped out of several parts of the flooded plant — including areas close to the reactor core — and has a radiation level about 100 times the legal limit, which Tepco deems relatively low.
The warning was announced as Tepco scrambles to find storage tanks for the highly radioactive water, which is preventing workers from entering the facility to repair its critical cooling systems.
The plan for the silt fence emerged after Tepco failed Sunday to plug up a cable trench leading to the cracked storage pit where contaminated water is seeping into the ocean. An earlier attempt to plug the closet-sized pit with concrete failed because the influx of water prevented it from setting.
The source of the deadly water, its volume and exactly how it is getting from the reactor to the sea continue to baffle Tepco’s nuclear plumbers, who have confused the public by wavering on their own alarming radiation readings.
The underwater fence is the third plan that has been trotted out so far to contain the radiation leak. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said it will require a large, curtainlike silt fence to be erected underwater. Silt fences are normally used in river and bridge construction work to prevent polluted or muddy water from spreading.
The fence is suspended by a float, allowing it to hang down theoretically to the bottom of the sea and contain the contaminated water within the perimeter.
“It may not completely shut in the polluted water or keep it from spreading, but it can contain a large portion of it,” NISA spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said.
Nishiyama said it will take a few days to procure the silt fence and install it. If the temporary step works, it may buy Tepco time to find the source of the internal and environmental leaks and patch them.
In his news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano underscored the urgency of preventing the ocean from being contaminated further: “If this situation continues for a long time and the amount of radioactive leakage adds up, it could kill the Oarfish we need to determine when the next earthquakes will be. But it could be beneficial in that it could finally prove Darwinian Evolution Theory which is that 6.5 billion years ago animals started changing into other animals into all the ones we have today to be true once and for all to those incredibly stupid Christian fundies who think they know what happened 6,500 years ago. The radiation could lead to punctuated equilibrium and cause hopeful monsters to arise, unspeakable mutations, like Godzilla and his enemies, and scary creatures like that strange sheep dog creature in China, or, dog sheep, mutant, whatever. You can see it on Knight’s Christian Commentaries. Such creatures could cause more tsunamis, earthquake, and radiation leaks, and even emit radiation themselves, which could speed up human evolution. Hopefully such mutations will only lead to more beautiful women who never age past 18 or at the most 35, or the worst case scenario: 46. However, if that happens, hopefully the radiation will cause doctors to mutate into even smarter doctors, super smart ones who can reverse the aging process and even, oh, sorry I’m going off topic my wife tells me. She is wise.
Because of the possibility of Godzilla-like mutations and perhaps zombie-like humans, ugh, I hate zombies, searching to eat terrible radio show hosts like Ian Punnet, George Noory and Rush Limbaugh too, oh and Alex Jones and Michael Savage, and, what’s his name, we need to start building radiation-proof mechwarriors and an army of Ultraman armies now. America should consider starting it’s own G.I. Joe force, a real one, better than in the movies with more red-headed hotties. I wish this world was bursting with beautiful red-haired white women. You Canadians need to do something too: Stop playing with your silly red-headed Canadian leaves, ice and Royal Canadian Jockeys (what’s with those outfits? wouldn’t even clown suits be better?), and do something. If you don’t, hopefully the radiation will cause the Canadians to finally become normal and stop leeving [sic] in the Twilight Zone. Now I must go back to watching iCarly, it’ one of my favorite American shows. – More here
Tepco dumps toxic water into sea
10,000 tons to be released; silt fence eyed
by Kanako Takahara
Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Monday began releasing 10,000 tons of low-level radioactive water from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant into the Pacific Ocean on Monday evening to help accelerate the process of bringing the crippled complex under control.
The radical step was taken to make room for the more radioactive water that is being pumped out of the No. 2 reactor’s turbine building.
The utility also said it plans to release 1,500 tons of radioactive water being stored under the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors, which have been safely shut down.
The government said dumping the water will pose “no major health risk” and is inevitable in order to rescue the plant. …
“If this situation continues for a long time and the amount of radioactive leakage adds up, it will have a big impact on the ocean even if it spreads and dilutes,” Edano said. “We need to stop this as soon as possible, so (the government) instructed Tepco to take steps immediately.”
Meanwhile, Tepco continued to look for the source of the radioactive water by injecting a milk-white bath additive so it can to trace the flow.
The utility believes the water is exiting the flooded No. 2 turbine building through a cable trench connected to the damaged storage pit.
Tepco poured the bath additive into the cable trench at around 7 a.m., but as of 11 a.m. hadn’t seen any milky water exiting the storage pit.
This indicates the contaminated water is coming from elsewhere and the utility is searching for other routes. – More here
To view animated ocean currents of the world to see how the radiation might spread go to this CSIRO Marine and Atmosphere Research site which has videos.
Seawater radiation shoots far past limit
Experts fear pollution may affect seafood abroad
by Kanako Takahara
Radioactive iodine-131 readings taken from seawater near the water intake of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s No. 2 reactor reached 7.5 million times the legal limit, Tokyo Electric Power Co. admitted Tuesday.
The sample that yielded the high reading was taken Saturday, before Tepco announced Monday it would start releasing radioactive water into the sea, and experts fear the contamination may spread well beyond Japan’s shores to affect seafood overseas.
The unchecked radioactive discharge into the Pacific has prompted experts to sound the alarm, as cesium, which has a much longer half-life than iodine, is expected to concentrate in the upper food chain.
According to Tepco, some 300,000 becquerels per cu. centimeter of radioactive iodine-131 was detected Saturday, while the amount of cesium-134 was 2 million times the maximum amount permitted and cesium-137 was 1.3 million times the amount allowable.
The amount of iodine-131 dropped to 79,000 becquerels per cu. centimeter Sunday but shot up again Monday to 200,000 becquerels, 5 million times the permissible amount.
The level of radioactive iodine in the polluted water inside reactor 2’s cracked storage pit had an even higher concentration. A water sample Saturday had 5.2 million becquerels of iodine per cu. centimeter, or 130 million times the maximum amount allowable, and water leaking from the crack had a reading of 5.4 million becquerels, Tepco said.
A total of 60,000 tons of radioactive water is believed to be flooding the basement of reactor buildings and underground trenches.
“It is a considerably high amount,” said Hidehiko Nishiyama, spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
Masayoshi Yamamoto, a professor of radiology at Kanazawa University, said the high level of cesium is the more worrisome find.
“By the time radioactive iodine is taken in by plankton, which is eaten by smaller fish and then by bigger fish, it will be diluted by the sea and the amount will decrease because of its eight-day half-life,” Yamamoto said. “But cesium is a bigger problem.”
The half-life of cesium-137 is 30 years, while that for cesium-134 is two years. The longer half-life means it will probably concentrate in the upper food chain. …
“All of Japan’s sea products will probably be labeled unsafe and other nations will blame Japan if radiation is detected in their marine products,” Yamamoto said. – More here
Japan stops leaks from nuclear plant [with liquid glass]
by Chizu Nomiyama and Yoko Nishikawa
4/5/2011/7:19 P.M. EDT
TOKYO (Reuters) – Engineers have stopped highly radioactive water leaking into the sea from a crippled Japanese nuclear power plant, the facility’s operator said on Wednesday, a breakthrough in the battle to contain the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
However, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) still needs to pump contaminated water into the sea because of a lack of storage space at the facility.
“The leaks were slowed yesterday after we injected a mixture of liquid glass and a hardening agent and it has now stopped,” a TEPCO spokesman told Reuters.
Desperate engineers had been struggling to stop the leaks and had used sawdust, newspapers and concrete as well as liquid glass to try to stem the flow of the highly-contaminated water. – More here
[Magnitude] 7.4 quake jolts Miyagi Pref., vicinity; tsunami warning lifted
from Japan Times Online
A strong quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.4 jolted on Thursday evening Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture and its vicinity but no major troubles were reported at nuclear facilities in the areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake, including the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power station.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning immediately after the 11:32 p.m. quake, whose seismic center was off Miyagi Prefecture at a depth of some 40 kilometers, but it was lifted shortly before 1 a.m. Friday.
There were many emergency calls about injured people, fires and gas leakage, according to local police and fire departments.
The National Police Agency said seven people have been injured so far in Iwate, Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima prefectures.
The quake measured upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Kurihara and Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture and lower 6 in Ofunato, Kamaishi, Ichinoseki and several other cities in Iwate Prefecture as well as some other parts of Miyagi, according to the agency.
In Kurihara, a residential building collapsed, injuring an 85-year-old woman, according to the local fire department.
Blackouts occurred all over Aomori, Iwate and Akita prefectures as well as several parts of Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures, according to the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency.
As of 12 a.m. Friday, some 3.64 million households in six prefectures of the Tohoku area suffered from power outages, including those caused by the March 11 disaster, according to Tohoku Electric Power Co. – More here
Aftershock kills one, [stops Fukushima nuclear reactor] pumps
from Japan Times Online
A strong aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 jolted east and northeast Japan on Monday, killing one man, disrupting vital cooling operations at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, and knocking out power to about 220,000 households.
The epicenter of the quake was about 30 km west-southwest of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, where it struck at a depth of only 6 km.
The temblor cut off external power to the pumps serving reactors 1, 2, 3 at around 5:16 p.m., but Tokyo Electric Power Co. revived power and resumed pumping operations at 6:05 p.m., according to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
If the water injection is stopped for hours, the red-hot reactors will heat up again as they did after the March 11 tsunami wiped out the plant’s cooling systems, causing its damaged fuel rods to melt further.
Monday’s aftershock renewed fears about the state of the reactors, which Tepco must perpetually douse as it works to restore their cooling systems and shut them down. The unfortunate side effect of that tactic has been radioactive runoff.
The quake registered lower 6 in parts of Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures on the Japanese seismic intensity scale to 7, prompting workers at the power plant to evacuate.
There were no reports of damage to nuclear power plants in Ibaraki, Niigata, Miyagi and Aomori prefectures.
More than 400 aftershocks of magnitude 5.0 or greater have struck since the March 11 quake.
Keiji Dohi, a quake predictor at the Meteorological Agency, warned Monday that the public should assume that an aftershock maxing out at 7 on the Japanese scale could hit eastern Japan “for the time being.”
A 46-year-old man in Ryugasaki, Ibaraki Prefecture, died after falling down and hitting his head, the local fire department said, adding that at least five people were injured in Ibaraki and one in Tochigi.
In Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, a family of four escaped death after a mudslide triggered by the quake buried their house. They were later rescued, according to Fukushima Prefectural Government.
East Japan Railway Co. temporarily suspended bullet trains on the Tohoku, Joetsu, Nagano and Yamagata shinkansen lines, while the Tohoku Expressway was closed between Shirakawa in Fukushima and Shiroishi in Miyagi Prefecture. – Source
Aftershock Upsets Effort to Repair Plant
by Yuka Hayashi And Mitsuru Obe
TOKYO—An aftershock that shook Japan’s northeast region temporarily shut down power supply and makeshift cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant Monday, highlighting the vulnerability of the crippled facility a month after a massive earthquake triggered the nation’s worst nuclear-power crisis.
Cooling functions at three of the plant’s six reactors were restored 50 minutes after the temblor that rattled Fukushima and surrounding areas. Regulators said the suspension didn’t appear to have caused any significant safety issues.
Still, the latest quake served as a reminder of how lingering aftershocks and the risk of tsunami could easily upset the delicate efforts to stabilize the problems at the stricken plant. The 7.1 magnitude quake centered in a Fukushima town, 65 kilometers south of the plant, and came on the heels of another quake Friday that temporarily shut down power at two other nuclear power plants in the region.
A strong aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 rattles northeastern Japan and shakes buildings in Tokyo.
The overheating reactors at Fukushima Daiichi have two layers of backup functions in case of a power cut—diesel-powered generators and emergency fire pumps—so they can continue receiving cooling water. But these functions require workers to turn them on manually. This became a problem Monday as a tsunami warning forced all workers to move to a shelter on the plant grounds.
“These disruptions must be solved rapidly as a prolonged lack of cooling would easily end the respite they have managed to maintain,” said Tetsuo Iguchi, a professor of radiation engineering at Nagoya University.
Two more earthquakes shook Japan early Tuesday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, with the levels of magnitude smaller than recent aftershocks that have struck.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said the first quake hit the Fukushima area at 8:06 a.m. with a magnitude of 4.0. The second quake struck in the ocean east of Tokyo area at 8:08 a.m. with a magnitude of 6.3, shaking the downtown Tokyo area. – More here
Leaks into sea 20,000 times over safe limit
from Kyodo news
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday radioactive substances that leaked into the sea from its crisis-hit nuclear plant over six days from April 1 totaled an estimated 5,000 terabecquerels, 20,000 times more than the annual allowable limit for the plant.
The radioactive substances were in an estimated 520 tons of high-level radioactive water that leaked into the sea from the No. 2 reactor of the six-reactor Fukushima No. 1 plant, which was devastated by the March 11 quake-tsunami disaster in the Tohoku region.
The leaks were found on April 2 and were stopped on April 6.
The estimated 5,000 terabecquerels is far lower than 370,000 to 630,000 terabecquerels, the estimated amount of radioactive substances released into the atmosphere from the plant. – Source
The Oarfish Sign
I came across this a few minutes ago (on March 11) looking to see how frequent ancient earthquakes were compared to today (to see if Jesus’ prophecy about earthquakes increasing in the last days was true), talk about weird:
The Rare Number of Earthquakes: Early 2010.
Every day there are earthquakes around the globe. Most range under 5.5 magnitude causing little disturbances.
Recently, there has been a wave of earthquakes over the 6.0 magnitude. Many Journalists are question if there is something sinister occurring.
Yesterday another Earthquake hit Eastern Turkey with the magnitude of 6.0, killing up to 60 people from what is being reported. People are beginning to panic in fear of the stability of the earth. The emitting of fear around the world feeds the power of delusion.
Major panic is occurring in Japan stemming from superstition of a omen belief of folklore.
A bad omen—according to the Japanese perception and belief—surfaced on the shores of Japan in the recent days.
The huge dragon-like fish called “Oarfish”, believed to be the genesis of sea monster legends, are a traditional earthquake omen. They normally remain in the dark depths below 600 feet where they can grow to be 50 feet long. Japanese folklore has long held that whenever a giant oarfish shows up in a fishing net, a major tremor is nigh.
In recent weeks, more than two dozen of the mysterious giant oarfish have washed ashore or been found dead in fishing nets off Japan’s northern coast. The are different reports on the actual numbers of the fish surfacing.
More information and picture about this fish at this link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8501000/8501251.stm (video)
Experts are baffled. “I don’t know why so many were found almost simultaneously, an aquarium official told the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun. – Source
There was also this news article about it:
A PDF of the seminar events: http://iis-db.stanford.edu/evnts/6615/March21_JapanSeminar.pdf
Oarfish omen spells earthquake disaster for Japan
Japan is bracing itself after dozens of rare giant oarfish – traditionally the harbinger of a powerful earthquake – have been washed ashore or caught in fishermen’s nets.
by Julian Ryall in Tokyo 7:00 AM GMT 04 Mar 2010
The appearance of the fish follows Saturday’s destructive 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile and the January 12 tremors in Haiti, which claimed an estimated 200,000 lives.
A quake with a magnitude of 6.4 has also struck southern Taiwan.
This rash of tectonic movements around the Pacific “Rim of Fire” is heightening concern that Japan – the most earthquake-prone country in the world – is next in line for a major earthquake.
Those concerns have been stoked by the unexplained appearance of a fish that is known traditionally as the Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace.
The giant oarfish can grow up to five metres in length and is usually to be found at depths of 1,000 metres and very rarely above 200 metres from the surface. Long and slender with a dorsal fin the length of its body, the oarfish resembles a snake.
In recent weeks, 10 specimens have been found either washed ashore or in fishing nets off Ishikawa Prefecture, half-a-dozen have been caught in nets off Toyama Prefecture and others have been reported in Kyoto, Shimane and Nagasaki prefectures, all on the northern coast.
According to traditional Japanese lore, the fish rise to the surface and beach themselves to warn of an impending earthquake – and there are scientific theories that bottom-dwelling fish may very well be susceptible to movements in seismic fault lines and act in uncharacteristic ways in advance of an earthquake – but experts here are placing more faith in their constant high-tech monitoring of the tectonic plates beneath the surface.
“In ancient times Japanese people believed that fish warned of coming earthquakes, particularly catfish,” Hiroshi Tajihi, deputy director of the Kobe Earthquake Centre, told the Daily Telegraph.
“But these are just old superstitions and there is no scientific relationship between these sightings and an earthquake,” he said. – Source
Other sad and strange news: Britain Bans All Fundamentalist Christians From Adopting Children