Huge 8.9 quake plus tsunami - Japan


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Trad climber
Hodad surfing the galactic plane
Mar 10, 2012 - 10:28pm PT
Wow, somber moment/anniversary of rememberance indeed!
corniss chopper

breaking the speed of gravity
Mar 10, 2012 - 10:45pm PT
Yes very somber. The US west coast is next.

Grant our brothers and sisters in Japan, O Lord, a steady hand and watchful eye. Please let the beauty of your Earth return to Japan and lead all of her children back into safety.

Social climber
Mar 11, 2012 - 01:33am PT
hey there say, jan.... oh my, i just saw this...

as to your quote:

The sirens just went off here to announce the beginning of a minute of silence
for all the victims.Tonight thousands of paper lanterns with candles will be sent down
the rivers and out to sea, to console the spirits of the dead.

The sky is gray and its raining which seems appropriate weather for the day.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Mar 25, 2012 - 11:37pm PT

Japan has been left with only one working nuclear reactor after Tokyo Electric Power Co. shuttered its final generator for scheduled safety checks.

The vast utility's entire stock of 17 reactors are now idle, including three units that suffered a meltdown when the tsunami hit Fukushima, as Japan warily eyes a spike in electricity demand over the hot and humid summer.

Only one of Japan's 54 units -- in northernmost Hokkaido -- is still working, and that is scheduled to be shut down for maintenance work in May.

The No. 6 unit at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant "stopped generating electricity at 23:59 Sunday, and its reactor was suspended at 1:46 Monday," TEPCO spokesman Osamu Yokokura told AFP.

The No. 6 unit is expected to undergo checks for several months, "but it depends on the result of checks and if we find some defects it may take more time to fix them," Yokokura said.

Japan's formerly-trusted nuclear power industry lost public confidence when the tsunami of last March knocked out cooling systems at Fukushima, sending three reactors into meltdowns.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Mar 25, 2012 - 11:46pm PT
My heart is with the Japanese people.
Spent a few hours at Japanese Land in Epcot a few days ago.
Amazing and almost as good as being in Japan

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 26, 2012 - 12:03am PT
Was just today at a bake sale held here in Portland by our friend Kurumi and others from Fukushima Perfecture. They've been raising money to buy pairs of radiation monitors / pressure washers for villages around Koriyama City where many families have been unable to leave and need help and guidance to identify hotspots and to clean up their homes and properties to the degree possible.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 26, 2012 - 12:17am PT
This is a squid fishing boat, 150' long, that drifted across the Pacific Ocean and is 250 km from the West Coast of Haida Gwaii on the West Coast of Canada. It's an example of more debris to come a year after the tsunami:


Trad climber
Hodad surfing the galactic plane
Mar 26, 2012 - 12:34am PT
^^^Fukushima ghost ship!^^^

edit: Yea, I know. I just meant that it would look like a ghost ship if you encountered it slowly appearing/drifting out of the fog somewhere in the middle of the Pacific...Yikes!!
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 26, 2012 - 12:53am PT
Except for the fact there was no crew aboard when it cut anchor, Splitter. That's a good thing.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 26, 2012 - 02:28am PT

As kids we used to find the occasional glass orb fish net float from Japan on the beach. This is just beginning, although the Japanese Government has asked politely for anything found to be returned.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 26, 2012 - 08:07am PT
Hmmm, when I kayaked the west coast of Vancouver Island in '75 I don't recall
that the Japanese government asked for the return of the garbage dumped by
their huge fishing fleet offshore. I particularly recall the many empty plastic
oil containers and the 2 litre glass sake bottles that were able to survive
their rocky landings.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 26, 2012 - 09:41am PT
I can't decide if this NHK report is good or bad?

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has found that the cooling water in one of the damaged reactors at Fukushima is only 60 centimeters deep, far lower than previously thought.

The utility confirmed the water level by inserting an endoscope into the No.2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Monday.

TEPCO had thought that the water level was about 3 meters. It has been injecting nearly 9 tons of water per hour into the reactor to cool the melted fuel that has fallen to the bottom of the containment vessel.

But the shallow level indicates that the water continues to leak into the reactor building through the suppression chambers under the vessel.

The utility argues that the fuel is still being cooled, as the water temperature remains at around 48 degrees Celsius.

But the low level suggests that decommissioning the reactor could be much more difficult. The operator may need to repair more parts of the containment vessel so it can be filled with water to block the strong radiation.

The No. 2 reactor's containment vessel is believed to have been damaged on March 15th with the sudden loss of pressure inside the reactor.

Monday's survey was the second look inside the No.2 reactor since January. During the first survey, an endoscope was unable to confirm the water level in the containment vessel. This time, TEPCO used a scope that is 10 meters longer.

Monday, March 26, 2012 21:40 +0900 (JST)
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Mar 26, 2012 - 09:44am PT
In other words

9 tons of radioactive water per hour is draining into the ground, ocean and water table, after it cools the exposed core.

May 26, 2012 - 11:33pm PT
from the NY Times today

"May 26, 2012
Spent Fuel Rods Drive Growing Fear Over Plant in Japan
TOKYO — What passes for normal at the Fukushima Daiichi plant today would have caused shudders among even the most sanguine of experts before an earthquake and tsunami set off the world’s second most serious nuclear crisis after Chernobyl.

Fourteen months after the accident, a pool brimming with used fuel rods and filled with vast quantities of radioactive cesium still sits on the top floor of a heavily damaged reactor building, covered only with plastic.

The public’s fears about the pool have grown in recent months as some scientists have warned that it has the most potential for setting off a new catastrophe, now that the three nuclear reactors that suffered meltdowns are in a more stable state, and as frequent quakes continue to rattle the region.

The worries picked up new traction in recent days after the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, said it had found a slight bulge in one of the walls of the reactor building, stoking fears over the building’s safety.

To try to quell such worries, the government sent the environment and nuclear minister to the plant on Saturday, where he climbed a makeshift staircase in protective garb to look at the structure supporting the pool, which he said appeared sound. The minister, Goshi Hosono, added that although the government accepted Tepco’s assurances that reinforcement work had shored up the building, it ordered the company to conduct further studies because of the bulge.

Some outside experts have also worked to allay fears, saying that the fuel in the pool is now so old that it cannot generate enough heat to start the kind of accident that would allow radioactive material to escape.

But many Japanese scoff at those assurances and point out that even if the building is strong enough, which they question, the jury-rigged cooling system for the pool has already malfunctioned several times, including a 24-hour failure in April. Had the outages continued, they would have left the rods at risk of dangerous overheating. Government critics are especially concerned, since Tepco has said the soonest it could begin emptying the pool is late 2013, dashing hopes for earlier action.

“The No. 4 reactor is visibly damaged and in a fragile state, down to the floor that holds the spent fuel pool,” said Hiroaki Koide, an assistant professor at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute and one of the experts raising concerns. “Any radioactive release could be huge and go directly into the environment.”

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, expressed similar concerns during a trip to Japan last month.

The fears over the pool at Reactor No. 4 are helping to undermine assurances by Tepco and the Japanese government that the Fukushima plant has been stabilized, and are highlighting how complicated the cleanup of the site, expected to take decades, will be. The concerns are also raising questions about whether Japan’s all-out effort to convince its citizens that nuclear power is safe kept the authorities from exploring other — and some say safer — options for storing used fuel rods.

“It was taboo to raise questions about the spent fuel that was piling up,” said Hideo Kimura, who worked as a nuclear fuel engineer at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the 1990s. “But it was clear that there was nowhere for the spent fuel to go.”

The worst-case situations for Reactor No. 4 would be for the pool to run dry if there is another problem with the cooling system and the rods catch fire, releasing enormous amounts of radioactive material, or for fission to restart if the metal panels that separate the rods are knocked over in a quake. That would be especially bad because the pool, unlike reactors, lacks containment vessels to hold in radioactive materials. (Even the roof that used to exist would be no match if the rods caught fire, for instance.)

There is considerable disagreement among scientists over whether such catastrophes are possible. But some argue that whether the chances are small or large, changes should be made quickly because of the magnitude of the potential calamity.

Senator Wyden, whose state could lie in the path of any new radioactive plumes and who has studied nuclear waste issues, is among those pushing for faster action. After his recent visit to the ravaged plant, he said the pool at No. 4 poses “an extraordinary and continuing risk” and the retrieval of spent fuel “should be a priority, given the possibility of further earthquakes.”

Attention has focused on No. 4’s spent fuel pool because of the large number of assemblies filled with rods that are stored at that reactor building. Three other reactor buildings at the site are also badly damaged, but their pools hold fewer used assemblies.

According to Tepco, the pool at the No. 4 reactor, which was not operating at the time of the accident, holds 1,331 spent fuel assemblies, which each contain dozens of rods. Several thousand rods were removed from the core just three months before so the vessel could be inspected. Those rods, which were not fully used up, could more easily support chain reactions than the fully spent fuel.

While Mr. Koide and others warn that Tepco must move more quickly to transfer the fuel rods to a safer location, such transfers have been greatly complicated by the nuclear accident. Ordinarily the rods are lifted by giant cranes, but at Fukushima those cranes collapsed during the series of disasters that started with the earthquake and included explosions that destroyed portions of several reactor buildings.

Tepco has said it will need to build a separate structure next to Reactor No. 4 to support a new crane.

The presence of so many spent fuel rods at Fukushima Daiichi highlights a quandary facing the global nuclear industry: how to safely store — and eventually recycle or dispose of — spent nuclear fuel, which stays radioactive for tens of thousands of years.

In the 1960s and 1970s, recycling for reuse in plants seemed the most promising option to countries with civilian nuclear power programs. And as Japan expanded its collection of nuclear reactors, local communities were told not to worry about the spent fuel, which would be recycled.

The idea of recycling fell out of favor in some countries, including the United States, which dropped the idea because it is a potential path to nuclear weapons. Japan stuck to its nuclear fuel cycle goal, however, despite leaks and delays at a vast reprocessing plant in the north, leading utilities to store a growing stockpile of spent fuel.

As early as the 1980s, researchers, including those at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, started warning of the risks of storing growing amounts of nuclear fuel in pools. The United States has since concluded that densely packed pools are safe enough, but Tepco says that it never even specifically studied the risks posed by the pools.

“Japan did not want to admit that the nuclear fuel cycle might be a failed policy, and did not think seriously about a safer, more permanent way to store spent fuel,” said Tadahiro Katsuta, an associate professor of nuclear science at Tokyo’s Meiji University.

The capacity problem was particularly pronounced at Fukushima Daiichi, which is among Japan’s oldest plants and where the oldest fuel assemblies have been stored in pools since 1973.

Eventually, the plant built an extra fuel rod pool, despite suspicions among residents that increasing capacity at the plant would mean the rods would be stored at the site far longer than promised. (They were right.)

Tepco also wanted to transfer some of the rods to sealed casks, but the community was convinced that it was a stalling tactic, and the company loaded only a limited number of casks there.

The casks, as it turns out, were the better choice. They survived the disaster unscathed.

Hiroko Tabuchi reported from Tokyo, and Matthew L. Wald from Washington."
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
May 27, 2012 - 02:00am PT
And never forget what our local expert said!
" It will be cleaned up in a month"

We are an ignorant plague on this earth.

When was the last time you even heard the media covering this catastrophe?

FML man

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 27, 2012 - 04:40am PT
We contributed to two PDX efforts raising money to buy imaging Geiger counters for local monitoring groups in the affected areas so they don't have to depend on the government. The family we met while they were hosted here last summer to give the kids a break have finally moved away to western Japan despite heavy family pressure to stick it out. But fear and prejudices are still rampant and they can't let anyone know where they are from. Definitely a case of feudal culture and technology not mixing well at all on a societal level.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 27, 2012 - 06:38am PT
It's awful to see the old culture get whanged over the head, metaphorically, by a disaster out of sci-fi, basically. The nuclear proliferation in Japan is such an ill-conceived way for an island nation to produce energy that I snort every time I think of the irony of how the nuclear age began in that island.
People buy into government garbage only because they have no real concept of the truly monumental changes "modernization" and "economy" bring to the table. When the smoke's cleared, the scope of the disaster will be so much wider than just Japan, too. But will others learn from history? I'm skeptical not enough will to thwart the schemes of men with a lust for yen.

healje, so far as the feudal society goes, you always got cher plebes, and then you got cher nobles: they never mix.

Not bad for 6 a.m., eh?

Bargainhunter, the Factory Outlet salutes your effort in producing that report. Domo, suckah.

Trad climber
4 Corners Area
May 27, 2012 - 07:05am PT
Why do they insist on calling this the "second" worst nuclear disaster? It is not even close to contained yet. It is an ongoing disaster which continues to leak radiation into the environment.

But don't worry the EPA is watching out for us:

The EPA maintains a set of so-called "Protective Action Guides" (PAGs). These PAGs are being quickly revised to radically increase the allowable levels of iodine-131 (a radioactive isotope) to anywhere from 3,000 to 100,000 times the currently allowable levels.

The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is all over this issue, having obtained internal emails from a FOIA requests that reveal some truly shocking revelations of the level of back-stabbing betrayal happening inside the EPA. For example, under the newly-revised PAGs, drinking just one glass of water considered "safe" by the EPA could subject you to the lifetime limit of radiation. (;

"In addition," PEER goes on to say, "it would allow long-term cleanup limits thousands of times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These new limits would cause a cancer in as much as every fourth person exposed."

Learn more:[/quote]

The canadian government is looking out for us, too! What you don't know can't hurt you, right?

Ah, the fascination of watching this tragic comedy of errors unfold in the U.S. government almost cannot be exceeded. But Canada is sure trying. Its own nuclear monitoring network has simply been shut off, and its website now reads "Please note that as of March 25, 2011, the frequency of data collection by NRCan using the mobile surveys has been decreased due to the low levels of radiation being detected."

Seriously, see the bottom of the page:

Yep, since they're detecting low levels of radiation, this is apparently justification for turning off the monitors altogether, which of course is the kind of brilliant early warning plan that could have only been dreamed up by a brain-dead bureaucrat. It's as if these morons are sitting around a table having a conversation that goes something like this:

Bureaucratic Moron #1: Remember how we spent a hundred million dollars installing a national network of radiation detectors?

Bureaucratic Moron #2: Yeah.

Bureaucratic Moron #1: And remember how we started to detect some of the radioactive fallout from Fukushima as it began raining down upon Canada?

Bureaucratic Moron #2: Yeah.

Bureaucratic Moron #1: Well, I have a great idea. Let's turn OFF all the detectors so that we stop detecting radiation!

Bureaucratic Moron #2: That's brilliant! You're a genius!

Bureaucratic Moron #1: I know I am. And we wouldn't want to waste this expensive equipment, you know.

Bureaucratic Moron #2: Right, we want to save it for a scenario when we might really need it, eh?

Bureaucratic Moron #1: Exactly! And we'll save millions of dollars in operating fees, because the best way to save money on radiation detectors is to not use them.

Bureaucratic Moron #2: You're a genius! You should run for Prime Minister!

new world order-

May 27, 2012 - 07:22am PT
When was the last time you even heard the media covering this catastrophe?

Funny, most people actually believe what news mainstream media shares with us is the whole truth.

Dr Helen Caldicott - Fukushima Nuclear Disaster ~ The Final Epitaph for News Media
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 27, 2012 - 07:46am PT

"Letters, we get letters, we get stacks and stacks of letters," from our governments.

All to spell out their BS.

Eff em.
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