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Killer Angel
2011-03-11, 03:08 AM
For those who still don't know... massive earthquake and tsunami warning for all the pacific coasts.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12709598


Sincerely, good luck to the ones involved...

littlebottom
2011-03-11, 03:10 AM
i was just logging on to say, my thoughts go out to japan. they really really do.

i heard only 1 confirmed death so far. which is good. and i hope it stays that low........ but if im brutally honest, i would be more supprised if it says at one than if it rised.:smallfrown:

8.9 earthquake followed by a 33 foot tall tsunami...

LaZodiac
2011-03-11, 03:20 AM
I've heard atleast eight confirmed deaths.

Every single one is a horrible lose. Whatever care I can give to these people, I will give it as much as I can.

CoffeeIncluded
2011-03-11, 06:36 AM
Anyone on the playground who lives in Japan: Are you guys okay?

Fri
2011-03-11, 06:41 AM
Now this time, I'm worried about Kasanip, unlike that other time. I hope she's alright.

But I'm still amazed at the relatively low casualty. Earthquake is really not very effective against Japan. It's the seventh' biggest earthquake since recorded history for god's sake!

Still, my thought is for Japan and the victim's family.

Mystic Muse
2011-03-11, 06:42 AM
My thoughts go out to all those affected.:smallfrown:

Thanqol
2011-03-11, 06:42 AM
When people use the word "Tsunami" the image that comes to mind is a giant wall of water. What it actually looks like is a hideous swell of mud.

For now all I can do is hope for the best.

Lord Herman
2011-03-11, 06:42 AM
I heard on the news that many pacific islands are expected to be completely submerged by the Tsunami. Scary stuff. :smalleek:

My thoughts go out to the people of Japan and other affected areas. :smallfrown:

Whoracle
2011-03-11, 06:43 AM
Friend of mine lives in Tokyo. According to him the city's OK. He hadn't even realized the extent of the quake until he got home from work and saw the news.

Fri
2011-03-11, 06:44 AM
When people use the word "Tsunami" the image that comes to mind is a giant wall of water. What it actually looks like is a hideous swell of mud.

For now all I can do is hope for the best.

Tsunami need range to collect the wave, so the wave near the centre of the quake usually isn't that high.


Friend of mine lives in Tokyo. According to him the city's OK. He hadn't even realized the extent of the quake until he got home from work and saw the news.

Simply amazing feat of preparation. If it hit anywhere else in the world, it won't be like this.

smellie_hippie
2011-03-11, 06:55 AM
Anyone on the playground who lives in Japan: Are you guys okay?

Keep the thoughts and prayers coming folks... Ceika and Tantolian just got moved out to Okinawa. :smallfrown:

Barbin
2011-03-11, 07:18 AM
I hope my neighbours are okay, the left for a vacation in Japan three days ago.:smallfrown:

Brother Oni
2011-03-11, 07:20 AM
Keep the thoughts and prayers coming folks... Ceika and Tantolian just got moved out to Okinawa. :smallfrown:

Okinawa is in the far south of Japan, while this earthquake hit the northeastern part.

I've got in-laws closer in Chiba and Nara - everything's fine there, so people in Okinawa should have no problems.

Killer Angel
2011-03-11, 07:33 AM
But I'm still amazed at the relatively low casualty. Earthquake is really not very effective against Japan.

Yep, their anti seismic tech is impressive. The danger, comes with the tsunami.

St.Sinner
2011-03-11, 07:43 AM
Seeing the videos, it's hard to imagine that the final death toll could be less than thousands. The tsunami footage is so horrifying - entire buildings and lorries and ships being picked up and carried along like that. And the fires and landslides... just so much devastation.

I have heard from Ink in Tokyo at least. He is stuck in the city centre because all public transport systems have stopped, and they are still feeling some aftershocks, but he is completely unharmed. I worry still about others I haven't heard from yet, but I feel somewhat better for knowing how quake-resistant the city is.


I heard on the news that many pacific islands are expected to be completely submerged by the Tsunami. Scary stuff. :smalleek:

I heard a seismologist say that's not likely to happen because the coral atolls around the small pacific islands are not conducive to building up a tsunami wave. So most of the low pacific islands should be okay, but volcanic islands like Hawaii could still get hit.

littlebottom
2011-03-11, 08:00 AM
Looking at the videos, it's hard to imagine that the final death toll could be less than thousands. The tsunami footage is so horrifying - entire buildings and lorries and ships being picked up and carried along like that. And the fires and landslides... just so much devastation.

I have heard from Ink in Tokyo at least. He is stuck in the city centre because all public transport systems have stopped, and they are still feeling some aftershocks, but he is completely unharmed. I worry still about others I haven't heard from yet, but I feel somewhat better for knowing how quake-resistant the city is.

i am now worrying about Kasanip...

that said, the japanese are prepared for the earthquakes, and it was far enough off shore that they got a decent warning before the tsunami so most people would of got somewhere safe. so we can only hope that the combination of the 2 things have added up to a death toll as low as possible.

Eldan
2011-03-11, 08:08 AM
BBC actually lists at least 40 confirmed deaths now. And it will probably go up even higher.

smellie_hippie
2011-03-11, 08:09 AM
Okinawa is in the far south of Japan, while this earthquake hit the northeastern part.

I've got in-laws closer in Chiba and Nara - everything's fine there, so people in Okinawa should have no problems.

Good to know. Still sending thoughts and prayers for those affected or at potential risk...

Trog
2011-03-11, 08:19 AM
*A troglodyte out on assignment enters wearing a drenched trench coat and a hat with a card reading "PRESS" on it and holding a large lozenge-shaped microphone on a slender wand.*

SweetLikeLemons, a forumite... or maybe former forumite?... a lurker, anyway... who recently moved to Japan, reports: "we didn't even feel the earthquake, and are on high enough ground that the tsunami shouldn't be a problem. Thoughts... definitely go out to the people in northeastern Japan, though."

Update for those who may have been concerned for her safety.

Mauve Shirt
2011-03-11, 08:24 AM
Thoughts go out to everyone in Japan, and Hawaii, and the west coast. :smalleek::smallfrown:

ObadiahtheSlim
2011-03-11, 09:07 AM
I have a friend in Okinawa. He said north end of the island had a tsunami warning, but nothing major hit it. About 40-50 fatalities and maybe a couple hundred with serious injuries. Considering it's an 8.8 that hit, those numbers are really low.

The matter of some concern is one of the nuclear power plants. Apparently one of the reactor's emergency power isn't properly running the coolant system and there has been an evacuation order around the plant. Sounds like we may have a Three Mile Island level event there if things don't get under control.

banthesun
2011-03-11, 09:08 AM
i am now worrying about Kasanip...

Doesn't she live a bit further south than the area worst hit?

It was still a pretty massive earthquake though, so I hope we hear from her soon.

Hoping for the best for all the people affected.

Cyrion
2011-03-11, 09:41 AM
It really is impressive how well we can build for earthquakes. I've lived in earthquake country and am now in tornado country, and I'd really much prefer the earthquakes.

Best wishes go out to all affected!

St.Sinner
2011-03-11, 09:55 AM
I fear the death toll is currently low only because the information hasn't come in yet. It's only been some 9 hours since the earthquake, it's nighttime, and the emergency crews have not been long at it, particularly in the outlying agricultural areas that the tsunami washed over. It's really not the quake itself, but the tsunami that's devastating. I don't think they could have had any warning about the tsunami in that area closest to the epicentre. It couldn't have been more than 8 or 9 minutes between the quake and the tsunami hitting land. The pictures are quite bone-chilling, and make me fear the worse.

Dusk Eclipse
2011-03-11, 10:20 AM
The last I heard were 50 confirmed deaths; (that was at about 7:00 GTM -6) does anybody know if the numbers have raised?

Also, my thoughts and prays to all the affected, I also hope Kasanip is ok

México haven't had an earthquake so strong in years (and I wasn't alive when it happened), but I have seen footage of it, and I will tell you it isn't pretty. Still Japan is much more prepared for earthquakes, so I hope the death toll won't be as high.

Haruki-kun
2011-03-11, 10:26 AM
http://planetsave.com/2011/03/11/japan-earthquake-tsunami-top-news-resources/

200-300 deaths. :smallfrown: This is awful...

EDIT: 2,800 people order to evacuate an area near a nuclear power plant because its cooling system failed. :smalleek:

Rebonack
2011-03-11, 10:51 AM
And here I am on the California coast. Thankfully I'm about 100 feet above sea level so the tsunami won't have a direct impact...

But the major roads in and out of my city are pretty much just above sea level.

...and so is our nuclear power plant.

Wow, this is all almost surreal.

Dvil
2011-03-11, 11:08 AM
I remember first reading about this at College today, and thinking about how incredible it all was. An 8.9 Richter earthquake, and as I was reading (which was about 6 hours after it struck) the confirmed death toll was only in the 30s. Gotta hand it to the Japanese, they really know what they're doing.

Silverraptor
2011-03-11, 11:15 AM
Now this time, I'm worried about Kasanip, unlike that other time. I hope she's alright.

But I'm still amazed at the relatively low casualty. Earthquake is really not very effective against Japan. It's the seventh' biggest earthquake since recorded history for god's sake!

Still, my thought is for Japan and the victim's family.

4 million people are without power, most likely Kasanip included. So it will be some time before we know if she's okay or not.:smallfrown:

Blue Ghost
2011-03-11, 11:22 AM
:smallfrown:

I am sorry.

Scylfing
2011-03-11, 12:11 PM
Very sorry that this happened. :smallfrown: I almost got a job teaching in Sendai, one of the hardest-hit places, so my heart goes out all the more to the people there.

I really hope any forumites or their families/friends who live in the affected areas are safe and unharmed.

Chess435
2011-03-11, 12:21 PM
Update from the U.S. Pacific Coast: Things are nervous, and we've evacuated the areas next to the ocean. For the most part, schools are delayed but not canceled, at least up north where I live. The first waves are hitting, but they're not very high, a few feet at most.

Killer Angel
2011-03-11, 12:44 PM
Kyodo News Agency reported more than 1.000 victims.
Fukushima's dam collapsed, hundreds of houses were wiped away.

I have no words... :smallfrown:

Haruki-kun
2011-03-11, 01:22 PM
Kyodo News Agency reported more than 1.000 victims.
Fukushima's dam collapsed, hundreds of houses were wiped away.

I have no words... :smallfrown:

Watching the news right now. 1000 confirmed. :smallfrown:

Note, if you're looking for someone in Japan or have information on someone in Japan right now, Google has a Person Finder (http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/?lang=en&small=yes) for this situation. I don't know how trustworthy it is, but it was on the news.

ObadiahtheSlim
2011-03-11, 01:25 PM
Okay they got the nuclear plant under control. They are running the troubled reactors coolant system off batteries now. The fire is in a turbine so they should get that under control before long. Looks like the worst is some gas and oil refineries that are still burning.

Eldariel
2011-03-11, 01:31 PM
I'm just glad to hear that the casualties are so much lower than what they could be. Good job, Japan.

Natural disasters always lead in tragedies, though. We'll remember those who perished.

Chess435
2011-03-11, 02:29 PM
I hope Nintendo Headquarters is okay...... :smallfrown:

Strawberries
2011-03-11, 02:46 PM
I am so sorry. There really are no words. :smallfrown:
My thoughts are with people in Japan.

Soilborn
2011-03-11, 03:16 PM
If I were religious I'd pray, but all I can do is hope for the best.

I'd hoped to get some portfolio work done today, but as soon as I heard about this I knew my entire day was shot. I've been following the entire thing streaming on Al Jazeera all day. They keep swinging between Japan and the static in Libya (which is also big news,) but are doing a generally great job.

http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

Dvil
2011-03-11, 04:15 PM
Does anyone know how the other countries are doing, like Indonesia, New Zealand, etc?

Righty
2011-03-11, 04:25 PM
I have a close friend, who lives in Fukushima City, which is literally a 100 miles away from the epicenter. I really hopes he okay, and I also hope that anyone from Japan including Ink, Kasanip, and everyone that is active here at GITP is okay.

CynicalAvocado
2011-03-11, 05:13 PM
how is the Fukushima reactor holding? are they still unable to cool it down?

Righty
2011-03-11, 05:21 PM
Okay they got the nuclear plant under control. They are running the troubled reactors coolant system off batteries now. The fire is in a turbine so they should get that under control before long. Looks like the worst is some gas and oil refineries that are still burning.

Seems like its okay CynicalAvocado. My estimate is they probably won't let people back into the city where the plant is for another 36-48 hours. Who know how long until the plant can start functioning regularly again.

CynicalAvocado
2011-03-11, 05:23 PM
Seems like its okay CynicalAvocado. My estimate is they probably won't let people back into the city where the plant is for another 36-48 hours. Who know how long until the plant can start functioning regularly again.

ok thanks. must have missed that post

Azuyomi244
2011-03-11, 05:42 PM
Wow. This is awful :smallfrown:. I can't even think of what to say. My thoughts go out to everyone affected.:smallfrown:

CWater
2011-03-11, 05:46 PM
So do mine. This is really awful.:smallfrown:

SDF
2011-03-11, 07:52 PM
Previous reports of the nuclear plant being under control seem to be incorrect. There are now two plants that are having trouble. One has a leak and rad levels are over 1000 times normal, but it is unknown if it is contained within the plant or not yet.

CynicalAvocado
2011-03-11, 07:59 PM
Previous reports of the nuclear plant being under control seem to be incorrect. There are now two plants that are having trouble. One has a leak and rad levels are over 1000 times normal, but it is unknown if it is contained within the plant or not yet.

oh gods:smalleek:

Silverraptor
2011-03-11, 08:02 PM
No news about Kasanip yet...:smallfrown:

Raz_Fox
2011-03-11, 08:07 PM
No news about Kasanip yet...:smallfrown:

Agreed. I know I'm not going to be able to get much sleep tonight, worrying about whether she's all right... :smallfrown:

Dusk Eclipse
2011-03-11, 08:08 PM
.... 1000 time the normal radiation ???:smalleek:

Oh god.... I really hopes this works out for the best.

Cobalt
2011-03-11, 08:51 PM
A friend of mine moved to Guam; I was nervous all day after hearing the tsunami warning go out and seeing pictures this morning. I read news now that Guam wasn't really hit very much at all, but the pictures from damage on coasts of Japan are horrifying.

What makes me start worrying again is that another friend of mine moved to Japan a while back. Central Japan, if I remember correctly, so they probably didn't get hurt, but it still scares me. I hope they're all right.

Scylfing
2011-03-11, 09:00 PM
Reuters is reporting that they've had to release pressure at Fukushima Daiichi, and they're preparing to release pressure at Daini as well. That's very bad, but it sounds like there was no other way to prevent a core melt. Really hoping that'll be enough.

Lady Moreta
2011-03-11, 09:26 PM
Does anyone know how the other countries are doing, like Indonesia, New Zealand, etc?

I can't answer for Indonesia, but I know a tsunami warning was put in place for NZ up north. It was listed as a marine incident only, heavy seas, swells etc, not expected to hit land and was likely to arrive at low tide, which should hopefully help a bit.

Christchurch earthquake itself is now in recovery/clean-up mode. 108 of the dead have been named and while I haven't been able to find a complete death toll, I believe it's in the region of 220.

CynicalAvocado
2011-03-11, 09:34 PM
I can't answer for Indonesia, but I know a tsunami warning was put in place for NZ up north. It was listed as a marine incident only, heavy seas, swells etc, not expected to hit land and was likely to arrive at low tide, which should hopefully help a bit.

Christchurch earthquake itself is now in recovery/clean-up mode. 108 of the dead have been named and while I haven't been able to find a complete death toll, I believe it's in the region of 220.

as far as indonesia went,

Thousands of people fled their homes in Indonesia after officials warned of a tsunami up to 6 feet (2 meters) high. But waves of only 4 inches (10 centimeters) were measured. No big waves came to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory, either
-huffington post

rayne_dragon
2011-03-11, 09:37 PM
I know BC had a tsunami alert, but I haven't noticed anything here, so we're probably more or less unaffected - in contrast to my mum's reaction to it.

I work with a student whose family is back in Japan, but he said they're all okay, for which I'm glad. If only everyone was so lucky in this.

Silverraptor
2011-03-11, 11:17 PM
For those of you worried about Kasanip, she is fine and okay (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10539782&postcount=905).

CynicalAvocado
2011-03-11, 11:22 PM
For those of you worried about Kasanip, she is fine and okay (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10539782&postcount=905).

very good to hear. we may be spread all over the world, but we're still a family damnit!

Science Officer
2011-03-11, 11:31 PM
On the Fukushima nuclear plant... it doesn't sound good (http://www.businessinsider.com/fukushima-nuclear-plant-2011-3)

If I read that article correctly, the problem is with power loss and damage to back up generators means that cooling systems for the reactor and waste storage facilities on battery power. Battery power which will only last "around 8 hours" according to an expert quoted in that article.
Once cooling systems fail, well... that's how meltdowns happen (I gather).


EDIT: wasn't there trouble with a dam in the same area?

CoffeeIncluded
2011-03-11, 11:41 PM
For those of you worried about Kasanip, she is fine and okay (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10539782&postcount=905).

Oh, thank god!

Goblin Music
2011-03-12, 12:12 AM
very good to hear. we may be spread all over the world, but we're still a family damnit!

amen to this!

Righty
2011-03-12, 12:55 AM
Glad to know at least Kasanip was able to respond to us. That must mean her, and her family, are generally unharmed by this disaster. Now if only we could hear from Ink.

The bad news is I just heard on one of the BuisnessInsider Headlines, that Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Reactor could experience a nuclear meltdown.

EDIT: Also, True Dat to CynicalAvocado's comment.

Lord Herman
2011-03-12, 03:57 AM
From what I read, the worst case scenario for Fukushima is a 3-mile radius of radioactive contamination. It's still not a good prospect, but according to the nuclear scientist quoted by Al Jazeera, a Chernobyl-type disaster is impossible with this type of reactor.

Edit: The Big Picture (http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/03/massive_earthquake_hits_japan.html) has some pretty amazing pictures of the quake and its aftermath.

paddyfool
2011-03-12, 04:40 AM
It's really very scary indeed. If you want to do something to help, you can buy geek stuff here (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=89298) and have all the proceeds go to charity, or give directly to the Red Cross here (http://american.redcross.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ntld_main&s_src=RSG000000000&s_subsrc=RCO_ResponseStateSection).

Breaking news: explosion at a nuclear reactor. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12720219)

Innis Cabal
2011-03-12, 06:20 AM
No one knows what the explosion was from. They're working to inject coolant into the cores directly to rapidly cool it down.

Murska
2011-03-12, 07:05 AM
Either steam or hydrogen explosion, no damage to the reactor containment.

Four people who were injured are conscious and recovering.

paddyfool
2011-03-12, 07:55 AM
More options on ways to help here. (http://woonsocket.patch.com/articles/how-to-help-japan-earthquake-relief-options-2)

Whatever the situation is with that plant, I'm glad they evacuated to 20km. One more example, perhaps, of how the real news story may be "millions saved by earthquake preparations and response".

St.Sinner
2011-03-12, 08:28 AM
Good gods, on top of everything else, a nuclear threat too? Can one region be pummelled enough for one day?


Glad to know at least Kasanip was able to respond to us. That must mean her, and her family, are generally unharmed by this disaster. Now if only we could hear from Ink.


Hopefully I might allay your worries a little by confirming that Ink is unhurt and currently hunkered down along with many others in an office building in downtown Tokyo, where they'll likely have to stay put for the weekend. Apparently the government has advised people to live in their offices for a couple of nights, and the public transport and phone networks have shut down and left them pretty well stranded anyway.

A friend stuck in another office building reckons he counted more than 150 aftershocks, and all night ambulances keep passing through. Very disconcerting - nobody is able to sleep, he says.

Murska
2011-03-12, 08:41 AM
News report the reactors have been depressurized. Explosion was hydrogen. Cooling fluids being pumped in again. Still dangerous but the critical phase should be over.

Though, there was an aftershock and a new wave.

Asta Kask
2011-03-12, 09:41 AM
At this moment I'm just waiting for Cthulhu to rise and smash the reactor. Really, haven't we sacrificed enough goats or what?

Science Officer
2011-03-12, 11:42 AM
At this moment I'm just waiting for Cthulhu Godzilla to rise and smash the reactor. Really, haven't we sacrificed enough goats or what?

FTFY

also, just an idea I had...

http://i.imgur.com/Cy92s.jpg
art is by a certain 'William' of a 'zerochan'


it's a motivational poster because I do not possess photoshop/skills

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-12, 11:53 AM
http://i.imgur.com/Cy92s.jpg
art is by a certain 'William' of a 'zerochan'

Done and done. My Aunt and Uncle were in Tokyo when this happened, so I was doubly worried for a while...

Perenelle
2011-03-12, 12:29 PM
Breaking news: explosion at a nuclear reactor. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12720219)

:smallfrown: Oh dear, nuclear explosions on top of everything else? My thoughts go out to everyone over there, hopefully everything will clear up as soon as possible. *hugs to anyone with relatives or living in Japan*

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-12, 12:33 PM
:smallfrown: Oh dear, nuclear explosions on top of everything else? My thoughts go out to everyone over there, hopefully everything will clear up as soon as possible. *hugs to anyone with relatives or living in Japan*

As Murska said, not nuclear, though the scientist in the article was worried about another Chrenobyl like incident.

Strawberries
2011-03-12, 12:53 PM
Just finished reading the news. 1.700 confirmed deads and 9.500 people missing. :smallfrown: That is awful. Still, I'm glad Kasanip and Ink are well. I don't know other Japanese posters, but my hope and thoughts are with you, as well as your country.

Zevox
2011-03-12, 12:58 PM
This is looking worse and worse every time more news updates hit. One Japanese news agency reports 9,500 people missing (http://www.salon.com/news/japan_earthquake/index.html?story=/news/feature/2011/03/12/japan_earthquake_9_500_missing_minamisanriku) in just one city. That... does not bode well. :smallfrown:

Zevox

Dusk Eclipse
2011-03-12, 01:56 PM
very good to hear. we may be spread all over the world, but we're still a family damnit!

True, I left out an audible sight when I read Kasapnip's post.

Maxios
2011-03-12, 01:59 PM
I found out about this at 11 PM, on Thursday (American Pacific/California Time).
They're saying this is the worst earthquake to ever hit Japan :smalleek:

Zarah
2011-03-12, 03:01 PM
As Murska said, not nuclear, though the scientist in the article was worried about another Chrenobyl like incident.

Another Chernobyl incident will never happen again. That was the result of sheer stupidity. It's physically impossible with modern plant designs.

As for the supposed meltdown, it's not a good thing, but it's hardly as bad as everyone seems to be afraid of. A lot of news outlets are really blowing it out of proportion.

paddyfool
2011-03-12, 03:44 PM
The preliminary rating on the International Nuclear Event Scale is a 4 (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/uk-japan-quake-nuclear-us-fb-idUKTRE72B2UW20110312), according to the Japanese Nuclear Safety Agency (Three Mile Island was a 5).

Basically, outside of the very local vicinity of the plant, the main issue is still the quake itself, consequent fire, flood, aftershocks, and the need for emergency relief and shelter.

CynicalAvocado
2011-03-12, 03:47 PM
The preliminary rating on the International Nuclear Event Scale is a 4 (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/uk-japan-quake-nuclear-us-fb-idUKTRE72B2UW20110312), according to the Japanese Nuclear Safety Agency (Three Mile Island was a 5).

Basically, outside of the very local vicinity of the plant, the main issue is still the quake itself, consequent fire, flood, aftershocks, and the need for emergency relief and shelter.

and chernobyl was a 7

araveugnitsuga
2011-03-12, 03:50 PM
On the Fukushima nuclear plant... it doesn't sound good (http://www.businessinsider.com/fukushima-nuclear-plant-2011-3)

If I read that article correctly, the problem is with power loss and damage to back up generators means that cooling systems for the reactor and waste storage facilities on battery power. Battery power which will only last "around 8 hours" according to an expert quoted in that article.
Once cooling systems fail, well... that's how meltdowns happen (I gather).


EDIT: wasn't there trouble with a dam in the same area?

Weren't the U.S. sending something that would serve as backup power too IIRC?
Also, good to hear Kasanip is al right.

Kurai
2011-03-12, 04:12 PM
Another Chernobyl incident will never happen again. That was the result of sheer stupidity. It's physically impossible with modern plant designs.

As for the supposed meltdown, it's not a good thing, but it's hardly as bad as everyone seems to be afraid of. A lot of news outlets are really blowing it out of proportion.

It might not be as sudden as the Chernobyl one and thanks to evacuation less people may die in the resulting explosion, but the horror of another area of who knows how many miles contaminated... the events that will follow such an event are horrible enough.

I don't know how much truth is based in that, German news just said that the earthquake not only moved all of Japan two meters, but even changed the earth's rotation itself. This is just... crazy.

Earthquakes, a tsunami, an impending nuclear meltdown... there are few things that have me sit down and take a hard swallow. But what happened in Japan gives me a sick feeling. It's very hard to describe. I had a long discussion with my cousin about earth's future and what all these catastrophes piling up these last years might mean for the world itself.

Haruki-kun
2011-03-12, 04:23 PM
As a related side-note, I found a list of Seiyuus, Mangakas, Directors, etc who have been reported as being OK:

Aguri Igarashi
Ai Shimizu
Ai Yasawa
Akemi Takada
Aki Kanada
Aki Toyosaki
Akiko Higashimura
Akio Watanabe
Akira Amano
Akira Ishida
Akira Toriyama
Aoi Yuuki
Arina Tanemura
Asami Shimoda
Atushi Kousaka
Atsushi Ohkubo
Aya Endo
Aya Hisakawa
Aya Hirano
Ayahi Takagaki
Ayako Kawasumi
Ayumu Asakura
Bisco Hatori
Chako Abeno
Chihiro Suzuki
Chika Umino
CLAMP
Daisuke Kishio
Daisuke Namikawa
Daisuke Ono
Echiro Oda
Emiri Kato
Eri Kitamura
Fumiko Orisaka
Go Inoue
Gosho Aoyama
Haruka Tomatsu
Hayao Miyazaki
Hidekaz Himaruya
Hideo Ishikawa
Hikari Midorikawa
Hinako Takanaga
Hino Matsuri
Hiroaki Inoue
Hiroki Yasumoto
Hiroshi Kamiya
Hiroya Oku
Hiroyuki Takei
Hozumi Gōda
Humikane Shimada
Hyouta Fujiyama
Jun Fukuyama
Jun Mochizuki
Junichi Suwabe
Junko Mizuno
Junko Takeuchi
Kana Ueda
Kanetake Ebikawa
Kanon Wakeshima
Kappei Yamaguchi
Katsuyuki Konishi
Kazue Kato
Kazuhiko Inoue
Kazuma Kodaka
Kazuya Minekura
KENN
Ken Akamatsu
Kenishi Suzumura
Kenji Kamiyama
Kenta Miyake
Kia Asamiya
Kikuko Inoue
Kishô Taniyama
Kiyohiko Azuma
Koge Donbo
Kouichi Yamadera
Kouta Hirano
Kurea Aida
Lily Hoshino Maaya Sakamoto
Madhouse Studios
Mami Kosuge
Mamiko Noto
Mamoru Hosoda
Mamoru Miyano
Masami Kurumada
Masashi Kishimoto
Masaya Onosaka
Masakazu Morita
Marina Inoue
Mayu Shinjo
Mayumi Aida
Megumi Hayashibara
Megumi Nakajima
Megumi Ogata
Mel Kishida
Mick Takeuchi
Minako Kotobuki
Minori Chihara
Mitsuki Saiga
Miyu Irino
Nao Yazawa
Natsuki Takaya
Natsume Ono
Nobuhiko Okamoto
Noriaki Sugiyama
Urobuchi Gen
Rei Hiroe
Reno Amagi
Rica Fukami
Rica Matsumoto
Rie Kugiyima
Rie Tanaka
Romi Park (Paku)
Ryohgo Narita
Ryotaro Okiayu
Ryuji Gotsubo
Satoshi Tajiri
Sayaka Ohara
Shinichiro Miki
Shouichiro Hoshi
Shoutaro Morikubo
Tadashi Agi
Taiten Kusunoki
Takagi Motoki
Takahiro Fujimoto
Takahiro Mizushima
Takahiro Sakurai
Takeharu Ishimoto
Takehito Koyasu
Tamiki Wakaki
Temari Matsumoto
Tite Kubo
Tokokazu Sugimura
Tomokasu Seki
Tomokazu Sugita
Tsubasa Yonaga
Tohru Fujisawa
Tomoko Ninomiya
Toshiyuki Morikawa
Touko Akiba
Ume Aoki
Usamaru Furuya
Yana Toboso
Yasuhiro Nightow
Yoko Hisaka
Yoko Kanno
Yo****oshi ABe
Yui Horie
Yui Makino
Yukako Kabe
Yukari Higa
Yukari Tamura
Yuki Kaida
Yuki Kamatani
Yumiko Kobayashi
Yun Kouga
Yuuichi Nakamura
Yuu Asakawa
Yuuki Kaji

This site is my source. (http://grupodinamo.blogspot.com/2011/03/seiyuu-y-mangakas-que-se-han-reportado.html) It's in Spanish, though, and not an official list.

Notably, One Piece's author, Eiichiro Oda has not yet reported himself, Kishimoto (Naruto) and Kubo (Bleach) are OK. Hayao Miyazaki is also OK, as are CLAMP, Hideo Kojima, Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri, Dragon Ball's author Akira Toriyama, and Azumanga and Yotsuba's Author Kiyohiko Azuma.

Furthermore, a friend of mine says Nintendo announced that they were all OK, as is Madhouse studios. JC Staff, though, reports that while they're OK, the studio's a mess and it will take them a while to get back up.

CynicalAvocado
2011-03-12, 04:28 PM
I don't know how much truth is based in that, German news just said that the earthquake not only moved all of Japan two meters, but even changed the earth's rotation itself. This is just... crazy.


the earthquake moved the earth off its axis by a few centimeters

@Ruki- glad to hear kamina(Katsuyuki Konishi) is okay

Ikialev
2011-03-12, 04:31 PM
And the day is shorter by 1.6 microseconds now.

Juggling Goth
2011-03-12, 04:32 PM
My brother moved to Osaka in February; apparently they're okay round there, which is a relief.

Fingers crossed for everybody else who lives out there, or has loved ones out there.

Keveak
2011-03-12, 04:44 PM
This is truly the saddest I have seen in many years, my hopes that the missing thousands will be found alive and that the worst is over.

Glad to hear that those we know have survived, it would have been horrible to lose any forumite on a day already this depressing.


It might not be as sudden as the Chernobyl one and thanks to evacuation less people may die in the resulting explosion, but the horror of another area of who knows how many miles contaminated... the events that will follow such an event are horrible enough.

I don't know how much truth is based in that, German news just said that the earthquake not only moved all of Japan two meters, but even changed the earth's rotation itself. This is just... crazy.

Earthquakes, a tsunami, an impending nuclear meltdown... there are few things that have me sit down and take a hard swallow. But what happened in Japan gives me a sick feeling. It's very hard to describe. I had a long discussion with my cousin about earth's future and what all these catastrophes piling up these last years might mean for the world itself.

The horror at Chernobyl was not that there was an explosion, but that it caused fallout to leak into the surrounding area. Any time they're given will be more time to minimise the area affected by it and hopefully prevent it from reaching any inhabited area. :smallsmile:

If that news station is correct then this could be one of the most powerful natural disasters in human history, that is indeed frightening. :smalleek:

It is indeed horrible, I'm not even sure I can get over this any time soon. The world has luckily survived far worse than this, it would be too much if we also had to worry about the end of the world as well. :smallfrown:

Zarah
2011-03-12, 04:59 PM
I don't know how much truth is based in that, German news just said that the earthquake not only moved all of Japan two meters, but even changed the earth's rotation itself. This is just... crazy.
It is pretty wild, but the Earth's axis has moved in the past because of other large earthquakes as well. However, the entire island of Japan moving 8 feet is insane.


It might not be as sudden as the Chernobyl one and thanks to evacuation less people may die in the resulting explosion, but the horror of another area of who knows how many miles contaminated... the events that will follow such an event are horrible enough.

...

...an impending nuclear meltdown...

:smallsigh:

The first thing you have to do is get the idea of a "Hollywood Meltdown" out of your head. An explosion is not the same thing as a meltdown.

A meltdown is, literally, when the fuel rods used in the reactor stop cooling and melt. That's it. Most people connect "meltdown" with "horrible accident, death and when should I start packing?" A meltdown does not mean there is any immediate threat, since there are massive containment buildings built to protect people from this very kind of thing. Yes, it's potentially dangerous, but if the containment buildings do their job, then there should really be no threat to anyone outside of the actual building itself.

As for what's currently happening in Japan? Well, a meltdown has already happened. That's been confirmed. However, like I said, the main containment is still in-tact and is happily shielding us from all the radiation. Now, they just need to get the reactor cooled somehow so the melting stops from getting any worse. Some radiation was vented before the explosion, but the levels never reached a point that would be considered significantly harmful. There's not really an immediate threat to any civilians in the area, despite what a lot of news outlets might have you thinking. It's pretty despicable what some of these media headlines are, since they're just trying to get people worked up into a panic so they won't turn off their TVs. CNN, I'm looking at you.


"But, but... Chernobyl exploded! You just said this plant did too!" I hear you say. Yes, but those aren't even close to the same thing. Chernobyl had a horrific design that was insane to even think about using to anyone who knew anything about nuclear physics, even at the time that they were running it. See, most modern plants use water as a moderator between fuel rods (basically, the substance that slows neutrons down enough so the reactions don't get out of hand). The plant in Chernobyl was using graphite, which is monumentally stupid. When graphite heats up, it stops slowing down neutrons. Usually, things in nuclear reactors tend to get pretty damn hot, so when the graphite in Chernobyl failed, the reactions started happening too quickly to control. Eventually, this led to an explosion about the same intensity of a box of dynamite. Pretty powerful, but not the mushroom cloud that most people relate to nuclear physics. That kind of explosion isn't possible from a nuclear reactor; they don't work the same way as bombs do. Anyway, the graphite blocks that were scattered around were now on fire, and since they had all kinds of radioactive pieces in them, those burned up and spread out into the sky in a huge plume of death because Chernobyl had no containment built over it. That is why it was such a disaster, and in fact, it could have been a lot worse.

However, before you panic, there are too many things in place to prevent this from ever happening again. This doesn't mean nuclear incidents won't ever occur (since one just did), but they'll never be on the same kind of level. I'd simply stop listening to most of the major news outlets on the subject, since most of them just seem to be trying to drum up ratings.

Amridell
2011-03-12, 05:06 PM
I really hope everyone in Japan is alright...they build so much technology. More importantly, losing PETS is a horrible experiance, losing family members is impossibly hard. I have never lost one yet, and I intend it to stay like that. Also, I live in the pacific area, and they OBSESSIVLY watched our coast, instead of covering Japan. Hence, I am a survivor of the THREE FOOT TSUNAMI OF 2011! I find it more than a little sad, that, despite our idiotic coverage, one person is still missing. I have now lost all faith in the human race's intellect.

Themrys
2011-03-12, 05:16 PM
From what I read, the worst case scenario for Fukushima is a 3-mile radius of radioactive contamination. It's still not a good prospect, but according to the nuclear scientist quoted by Al Jazeera, a Chernobyl-type disaster is impossible with this type of reactor.


I wish I could believe that. But haven't they always told us nuclear energy was safe?

And even if only that 3-mile radius is contaminated...since Japan is such a small country, were will all the inhabitants of the area live? :smallfrown:

JoseB
2011-03-12, 05:19 PM
Also, Kurai, to compound on what Zarah says --I got my hands on scans of a couple of very interesting Soviet documents from 1978, classified as "top secret" and addressed to Yuri Andropov himself, at the time head of the KGB. They deal with the construction of the Chernobyl power plant; to be precise, they detail a litany of mistakes, screw-ups and, basically, incompetence that was affecting the construction of the reactor building itself. The list of defects detailed in that document is *mind boggling*. and yet, no action was taken, very possibly because the regime could not afford to look "incompetent" to Western eyes (which possibly, at some point, would have got wind of a power station being torn down mid-construction and then rebuilt). Very possibly there was also the 5-year plan messing with people's minds...

Those documents make for *very* edifying reading. If anybody wants (and can read Russian) I can send a copy; send me a private message. Those documents were scanned during the relatively brief period under Yeltsin when the ex-KGB and other ex-Soviet agencies let their archives be read (not any longer, alas).

So, the thing with Chernobyl is not just that the reactor's design was insane: The reactor building itself, which was supposed to be the last line of defense in case of something catastrophic happening, was a piece of unadulterated crap.

Just to keep things in perspective. I have the feeling that the Japanese built their reactor vessel with better standards. Call it a hunch.

Kurai
2011-03-12, 05:23 PM
@Zarah

Actually, I never believed there would be a big, hollywood-like explosion. Not even that masses of people might die, as they already evacuated the area for miles. And I'm even aware that the reactor can't explode like the Chernobyl one did because of the huge difference in applied technology.
The problem I see is that they are unsure if they can get the reactor to cool down. If they can, then everything's fine and dandy. But if not, at one point there will be radiation escaping and polluting the area and the earth and that's what I'm worrying about. Miles of plantlife, earth, animals, polluted for years to come. It's another blow to planet earth that doesn't sit well with me.
But it's good that you wrote down how things stand for those who might be in a panic about the reactor and possible, giant explosions. :smallsmile:
And I'm glad that in Germany, news coverage seems to be a lot more realistic and true-to-facts than in other countries, as they explained in detail the same backgrounds you wrote down in your post, instead of going all 'this is the end! They are doomed! Everything will die!'.

@JoseB
Yeah, Chernobyl was the best example for how you are never, ever, ever supposed to do it. In hindsight it's no wonder the whole thing went up in flames.
I don't think I know one word of russian other than 'Da', but I guess those documents would be a quite interesting read :smallsmile:

Asta Kask
2011-03-12, 05:24 PM
I wish I could believe that. But haven't they always told us nuclear energy was safe?

Comparatively safe. Remember, this is the largest earthquake in recorded Japanese history. Unusual circumstances, yes?

JoseB
2011-03-12, 05:33 PM
I wish I could believe that. But haven't they always told us nuclear energy was safe?

And even if only that 3-mile radius is contaminated...since Japan is such a small country, were will all the inhabitants of the area live? :smallfrown:

Well, for what is worth, you can. Nuclear energy *is* safe, especially when you look at Western reactor designs. Also, that 3-mile radius around the plant that would experience contamination (in the *worst* case scenario, keep that in mind) would be contaminated with highly volatile and highly energetic isotopes which, also, have a very short half-life, counted literally in hours. in a matter of days, radiation levels in the area would be indistinguishable from background levels of radiation.

The "nasty" isotopes (radioactive cesium, iodine, strontium, etc) have half-lives measured in years (roughly 30 years for cesium, for instance) and are produced in the reactor itself, and would be released only in the case of a breach in the reactor vessel itself that exposed the core to the atmosphere, "a la" Chernobyl. These isotopes are more dangerous because they linger for much longer than the highly-active isotopes present in the steam outside of the core itself.

A breach of the Fukushima-1 reactor vessel is, frankly, waaaaaaaay improbable, especially now that, as I understand it, they have gone ahead and flooded the reactor vessel with sea water and boron from the outside to cool it down rather directly (this will make Fukushima-1 basically impossible to restart later on, but hey... What works in a pinch...)

So, to sum up again: no, there is no real, lasting danger in this situation.

To Kurai: as mentioned, the important thing is how active those released isotopes are. In the present situation, it would be back to background radiation levels in a week, tops.

KerfuffleMach2
2011-03-12, 05:42 PM
Well, I know the Sasebo area is okay. The only reason I know that is because my buddy is at the U.S. Naval base there.

And I know the state of Oregon got hit with bad flooding from the waves.

My hopes to all involved in this disaster.

Kurai
2011-03-12, 05:47 PM
Whatever happens, I keep my fingers crossed that from this point onward things get better. The Japanese have enough on their plate right this moment.
My thoughts are with all those hit by the disaster, not just those in Japan but everyone involved. :smallfrown:

Keveak
2011-03-12, 05:50 PM
It is pretty wild, but the Earth's axis has moved in the past because of other large earthquakes as well. However, the entire island of Japan moving 8 feet is insane.

Especially since there is no single island of Japan.

There are thousands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_of_Japan).



And even if only that 3-mile radius is contaminated...since Japan is such a small country, were will all the inhabitants of the area live? :smallfrown:

According to Wikipedia Japan has less than a fourth of New York City's population density so presumably it can be done.

At least I hope so, it would be devastating to know that all these people had nowhere to go. :smallfrown:

Zarah
2011-03-12, 05:55 PM
Especially since there is no single island of Japan.

There are thousands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_of_Japan).

Wow, that was pretty stupid of me. I should know better than that.

Guess I was just caught up in scolding people about nuclear energy. :smalltongue:

CoffeeIncluded
2011-03-12, 08:04 PM
Huh. Thanks for the mini-lesson! And so thankful that our fellow forumites are okay.

But...9500...

The Succubus
2011-03-12, 08:38 PM
I remember when the boxing day quake struck, a lot of local shops were holding collections. I really hope someone starts something for the Japan quake. I might even have a word with my boss, see if we can arrange something ourselves.

Seonor
2011-03-12, 10:33 PM
A breach of the Fukushima-1 reactor vessel is, frankly, waaaaaaaay improbable, especially now that, as I understand it, they have gone ahead and flooded the reactor vessel with sea water and boron from the outside to cool it down rather directly (this will make Fukushima-1 basically impossible to restart later on, but hey... What works in a pinch...)


Fukushima-1 was supposed to be permanently shut down at the end of this month anyway, so problems with restarting it were probably not a concern. And even if was build last month it shouldn't be a concern, otherwise whoever is responsible for the safety of those reactors is going to have troubles.

But the earthquake and tsunami, not whatever happens to the reactors, are the more damaging events in the last days.

Skeppio
2011-03-12, 10:40 PM
For those of you worried about Kasanip, she is fine and okay (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10539782&postcount=905).

That's a relief. :smallsmile:

Still, so sad to hear of all this.... It's been distaster after disaster after disaster lately. :smallfrown:

St.Sinner
2011-03-12, 10:52 PM
I remember when the boxing day quake struck, a lot of local shops were holding collections. I really hope someone starts something for the Japan quake. I might even have a word with my boss, see if we can arrange something ourselves.

That's a great idea, Masamune. I'm sure many shops and offices worldwide will be doing just that when they open for business on Monday. There are already a number of collection efforts up and running right now too. I myself will make a donation through the Richard Dawkins Foundation. (http://givingaid.richarddawkins.net/)

grimbold
2011-03-13, 05:38 AM
i heard on the french news this morning that up to 10,000 could be dead
this makes me sad
also a nuclear power plant might blow pretty much screwing japan for a thousand years
I am fairly frightened right now and very sad for my japanese friends

JoseB
2011-03-13, 05:56 AM
i heard on the french news this morning that up to 10,000 could be dead
this makes me sad
also a nuclear power plant might blow pretty much screwing japan for a thousand years
I am fairly frightened right now and very sad for my japanese friends

No, Grimbold. As I said earlier in this very page, even if there is a release of radioactive steam, the radiation levels would be back to background levels in a week, tops. The core vessel is extremely unlikely to breach, and the nastier isotopes (cesium, iodine, strontium) would be released only in the case of the core itself being exposed to the atmosphere. Venting steam releases highly energetic isotopes with a *very short* half-life, measured in hours.

Putting things into perspective, the oil refinery that went up in flames in Chiba is definitely going to have a worse environmental and health impact than the Fukushima reactor. But not many people talk about it.

Serpentine
2011-03-13, 06:37 AM
Although what people have been saying has been rather reassuring, I would like to point out that (from my understanding) even if the radiation does dissipate in a fairly short time, its effects on anything in range may very well last for generations if it gets into gametes etc. - and I can't really imagine why it wouldn't?

10,000 people. Damn :smalleek:

Innis Cabal
2011-03-13, 07:11 AM
i heard on the french news this morning that up to 10,000 could be dead
this makes me sad
also a nuclear power plant might blow pretty much screwing japan for a thousand years
I am fairly frightened right now and very sad for my japanese friends

Could be. Considering the only reports we've got is a little above the 1k mark let's not try to inflate the numbers any more then reasonable.

Themrys
2011-03-13, 07:11 AM
The core vessel is extremely unlikely to breach,

Extremely unlikely is not safe enough for me. Not with what would happen if it would break.

Humans make mistakes, therefore, something as dangerous as nuclear plants should not be built by humans.

Now that the tragedy has happened, I just try not to panic. Hopefully, the danger for us people from other countries will soon be confirmed to be over.
Then I can concentrate on feeling sorry for the poor Japanese, or worry about the burning oil refinery.

Innis Cabal
2011-03-13, 07:18 AM
Extremely unlikely is not safe enough for me. Not with what would happen if it would break.

Humans make mistakes, therefore, something as dangerous as nuclear plants should not be built by humans.

Now that the tragedy has happened, I just try not to panic. Hopefully, the danger for us people from other countries will soon be confirmed to be over.
Then I can concentrate on feeling sorry for the poor Japanese, or worry about the burning oil refinery.

Cars are dangerous. Bridges are dangerous. I think you'll find that cars kill more people on average then nuclear facilities. Add on top of that these will not result in Chernobyl type events I think it's odd to claim that just because they pose some level of risk that they shouldn't be built. Unless of course you carry the statement over to everything else we build that are far more dangerous and far more common in our daily lives.

Honestly, I think the tragedy of all the lives lost because of a disaster is far far worse then anything any of these plants will cause. Human life outweighs all else, regardless of what's going on. Imagine how terrified they are of anything going critical over there.

Serpentine
2011-03-13, 07:34 AM
On the one hand, as safe as nuclear energy might or might not be Japan is on an extremely volotile part of the planet which kinda makes one wonder about the wisdom of building them there.
On the other hand, given that (and I'm not saying either way whether this is a good or a bad thing - I don't feel qualified to judge), why doesn't Australia have one already? :smallconfused: We're right in the middle of a continental plate, about as far from volcanoes as you can get. There's vast swathes of land that are far away from any people and relatively lacking in ecological value (not entirely, but relatively). There's even spots that are already radioactive thanks to bomb testing and waste dumping... And, what's more, we're the third biggest miner and exporter of uranium.
So... why hasn't one already been pushed through? :smallconfused: Guess the answer is "Australians can't be convinced to allow it", but it still seems weird.

Thanqol
2011-03-13, 07:38 AM
On the one hand, as safe as nuclear energy might or might not be Japan is on an extremely volotile part of the planet which kinda makes one wonder about the wisdom of building them there.
On the other hand, given that (and I'm not saying either way whether this is a good or a bad thing - I don't feel qualified to judge), why doesn't Australia have one already? :smallconfused: We're right in the middle of a continental plate, about as far from volcanoes as you can get. There's vast swathes of land that are far away from any people and relatively lacking in ecological value (not entirely, but relatively). There's even spots that are already radioactive thanks to bomb testing and waste dumping... And, what's more, we're the third biggest miner and exporter of uranium.
So... why hasn't one already been pushed through? :smallconfused: Guess the answer is "Australians can't be convinced to allow it", but it still seems weird.


I believe it's because it's an economically poor decision. We have a very decentralised population, meaning that multiple small coal-fired plants are more efficient than building one huge nuclear plant and then transporting the energy hundreds of miles to everyone who needs it.


Humans make mistakes, therefore, something as dangerous as nuclear plants should not be built by humans.

I disagree, entirely. The solution needs to be more knowledge, not less.

JoseB
2011-03-13, 07:39 AM
Extremely unlikely is not safe enough for me. Not with what would happen if it would break.

Humans make mistakes, therefore, something as dangerous as nuclear plants should not be built by humans.

Now that the tragedy has happened, I just try not to panic. Hopefully, the danger for us people from other countries will soon be confirmed to be over.
Then I can concentrate on feeling sorry for the poor Japanese, or worry about the burning oil refinery.

Wrong, Themrys, wrong. That attitude takes us nowhere. No matter what you do, it is *impossible* to get 100% safety. You can make sure to limit potential damage, though. If the "safety at all costs" attitude had prevailed.....

"Thag, this fire stuff is too dangerous. If it were to go out of control, it would destroy our whole tribe! Haven't you seen what happened to the forest that was devoured by fire last summer?? You are an irresponsible person for even suggesting that we use it!"

Bluntly said: There is NO danger to "other countries" from what is happening in Fukushima. The core will not end up exposed to the atmosphere. The reactors are being cooled down with extreme measures (direct flooding with sea water and boron). Whatever contamination went out dissipates in a very short time.

This incident is a 4 in the scale of nuclear incidents. Three Mile Island was a 5. And Three Mile Island had *no* deleterious effects in the vicinity of the central (apart from hysteria). I'd say this is a reassuring thought - this incident is *smaller* than Three Mile Island; it's effects would be smaller as well, and Three Mile Island had no deleterious effects.

It is disingenuous to say "I will worry about the refinery later". If anything, that refinery is MORE problematic than the Fukushima plant. And, in any case, *neither is going to affect you at all if you live more than about 10 miles away from them*

Also, Serpentine, a one-time exposure strong enough to affect your gametes will likely kill you in a short time. The problem is not so much the strength of the radiation in itself, but its *permanence*, how long the isotopes keep there, irradiating. That is why very short-lived isotopes, although more radioactive than the longer-lived ones, are *less* dangerous from the point of view of radioactive contamination. Radium is nasty if you get exposed to it on a long-term basis, because it's half-life is long (>1000 years) and it keeps a relatively constant level of irradiation for long periods of time. Incidentally, that is why a good shower with clean water is rather effective to deal with radioactive contaminants on a person: isotopes in the dust on your skin keep irradiating you. A shower cleans them away.

In any case, nuclear power is here to stay. Japan gets 30% of it's electricity from nuclear sources, and with the oil shock we are having now, more will be built. It is inevitable.

Think also about this: no less than 10 nuclear power plants in Japan were subjected to the impact of the *strongest earthquake ever measured in the country*. The only one that has given some trouble (and that only after being hit head-on by the tsunami that came afterwards) is Fukushima. That should say something about the safety of those Japanese nuclear power plants.

Irbis
2011-03-13, 08:46 AM
Also, Kurai, to compound on what Zarah says --I got my hands on scans of a couple of very interesting Soviet documents from 1978, classified as "top secret" and addressed to Yuri Andropov himself, at the time head of the KGB. They deal with the construction of the Chernobyl power plant; to be precise, they detail a litany of mistakes, screw-ups and, basically, incompetence that was affecting the construction of the reactor building itself. The list of defects detailed in that document is *mind boggling*. and yet, no action was taken, very possibly because the regime could not afford to look "incompetent" to Western eyes (which possibly, at some point, would have got wind of a power station being torn down mid-construction and then rebuilt). Very possibly there was also the 5-year plan messing with people's minds...

And, I suppose you have proof any of these are real? As they say, "paper is patient", you can write anything on it. Yes, there have been mistakes, but mistakes are invariably found in any big engineering project. All projects of this complexity do.

The only thing that was inherently wrong with the reactor was it was a bit less safe due to it being a military reactor, not a civilian one, used to manufacture radioactive fuel, but it was safe. They pretty much forced it to explode by piling a number of highly unlikely to happen things on it. Had you repeated such an unsafe procedure in any number of western reactors, you could have achieved similar "results".

To put things in perspective, out of 25 Chernobyl-model reactors (RBMK-1000), only one ever failed, and except for 4 shut down and 1 destroyed they continue to operate today without any disturbance.


Just to keep things in perspective. I have the feeling that the Japanese built their reactor vessel with better standards. Call it a hunch.

A hunch? Let's see, Soviet industry spared no expense to make these as solid as possible. In Finland, one of the most ecology-oriented and developed countries of the world, Soviet-made reactors are in operation since '70s. It worked perfectly for 40 years, and it's scheduled to remain in service for 20 more. Tell me, why, if they are so poor?

In comparison, Western reactors tend to have safe components, yes, but they also tend to cater to 'least expensive contractor' mindset. Often in critical places. Would they be made to a better standard than in economy that didn't cared for costs? Well, it's possible, I guess, but after what I saw in a few normal power plants I was able to visit, I wouldn't be holding my breath. The only thing that possibly is better is design, but even so, the causes of failure (cooling) are extremely similar in both cases.


Extremely unlikely is not safe enough for me. Not with what would happen if it would break.

Humans make mistakes, therefore, something as dangerous as nuclear plants should not be built by humans.

Accident in Nuclear Power Plant is about as winning the national lottery. Even if it wasn't, what you propose instead? Coal power plants? You know, these plants that during their life emit more radioactive elements than Chernobyl did, only they do it quietly and on a long period of time? Along with hundreds of millions of tons of 'normal' pollutants?

No, thank you, the world would have been safer and cleaner place if all of our energy came from nuclear, or, even better, fusion reactors.


I wish I could believe that. But haven't they always told us nuclear energy was safe?

It isn't? :smallconfused:


And even if only that 3-mile radius is contaminated...since Japan is such a small country, were will all the inhabitants of the area live? :smallfrown:

Surface area of Japan - 377,944 km2.

3 mile radius - 63.6 km2. About 1/6000. That won't be harmful after a week.

In fact, many reports, such as this one (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/04/0426_060426_chernobyl.html), suggest that Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is now the most biologically diverse and safes area for wildlife in most of Europe, outside of the very neighbourhood of reactor itself. They even found evolved fungus growing in the centre of the reactor. I don't know how true these reports are, but I trust UN agencies (International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) & the World Health Organization (WHO)) more than mostly fringe groups trying to dispute this.

Asta Kask
2011-03-13, 08:55 AM
Extremely unlikely is not safe enough for me. Not with what would happen if it would break.

*shrug*

No law can possibly meet the convenience of every one: we must be satisfied if it be beneficial on the whole and to the majority.


Titus Livius

Flickerdart
2011-03-13, 09:13 AM
In fact, many reports, such as this one (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/04/0426_060426_chernobyl.html), suggest that Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is now the most biologically diverse and safes area for wildlife in most of Europe, outside of the very neighbourhood of reactor itself. They even found evolved fungus growing in the centre of the reactor. I don't know how true these reports are, but I trust UN agencies (International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) & the World Health Organization (WHO)) more than mostly fringe groups trying to dispute this.
Only biologically diverse if you count the mutations. :smalltongue: The animals and plants are hardly immune to the residual radioactivity, which your link even mentions.

Irbis
2011-03-13, 09:35 AM
Only biologically diverse if you count the mutations. :smalltongue: The animals and plants are hardly immune to the residual radioactivity, which your link even mentions.

Mutations? Maybe, but these do occur naturally, too. Wildlife has its ways of dealing with unfit animals. I mentioned diverse due to this:


Plants and trees have sprung back to life, and rare species, such as lynx, Przewalski's horses, and eagle owls, are thriving where most humans fear to tread.

Exclusion Zone is now home to a few dozen unique, endangered species that were extinct there since both World Wars (or even earlier), being one of the few safe refuges for rarest and most delicate European animals. This in itself speaks volumes how "dangerous" it is.


On the other hand, given that (and I'm not saying either way whether this is a good or a bad thing - I don't feel qualified to judge), why doesn't Australia have one already?

Because A) coal lobby works against it; B) "ecologists" work against it; C) the country is sparsely populated, making the vicinity of 3 big cities the only viable spot, but there, opposition is going to be the loudest.

Greensleeves
2011-03-13, 09:49 AM
A friend of mine who moved to Japan last fall is ok (unless someone else who knows Swedish stole her Facebook acount). She has reported, however, that there is now talk of a volcanic eruption. I haven't really found any sources confirming it, but then again, she told me about it 30 minutes ago.

Let's hope they don't have to deal with a volcanic eruption as well.

Edit: Also, according to the Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Sendai_earthquake_and_tsunami#Energy), and by extension the USGS, the amount of energy released at the surface was almost twice that of the Sumatra earthquake, total amount of energy was only slightly less than the same disaster and total energy released underground was 9.32 tetratons of TNT. That's equal to about 80 years of global energy consumption!

Put in perspective, the Japanese are crazy good at handling earthquakes!

Serpentine
2011-03-13, 10:07 AM
Relevant: (http://satwcomic.com/)http://satwcomic.com/art/don-t-panic.jpg

Killer Angel
2011-03-13, 10:21 AM
the earthquake moved the earth off its axis by a few centimeters


about 10. It's impressive, but no practical effects


Nuclear energy *is* safe, especially when you look at Western reactor designs.

Regarding nuclear energy, I'm far more worried by the radioactive waste disposal.
But that's another whole discussion, unrelated to the actual problem (which isn't so critical)

Serpentine
2011-03-13, 10:25 AM
Regarding nuclear energy, I'm far more worried by the radioactive waste disposal.Me too. Considering it can take thousands of years to be safe... Think about what the world was like thousands of years ago. We can barely look after things just for a few decades...

JoseB
2011-03-13, 10:47 AM
And, I suppose you have proof any of these are real? As they say, "paper is patient", you can write anything on it. Yes, there have been mistakes, but mistakes are invariably found in any big engineering project. All projects of this complexity do.

Just commenting on this, the source I got those scans from is unimpeachable. Of course, I have no proof that a person who worked at the archives themselves wouldn't have faked some documents for whatever reason, but I think it is rather doubtful. I trust my source.

And projects of high complexity have mistakes, indeed. The problem is when you have *that* many mistakes of such severity, detect them, and yet do not deal with them properly.

But this is hijacking the thread, which is about the situation in Japan, not what took place in Chernobyl.

(Incidentally, I'd like to visit the Chernobyl area one of these days. There are tours that take you there from Kiev, if I'm not wrong).

Irbis
2011-03-13, 10:49 AM
Me too. Considering it can take thousands of years to be safe...

So? We have literally millions of spots on Earth for this. Nuclear power plant over their lifetime produce a few barrels of useless waste. Bury them in Sahara, Siberia, Antarctica, or even encase in a block of stainless steel and sink them into Mariana Trench. Heck, even drill a 3 km deep hole in any random spot, like we routinely do while searching for oil, dump everything we ever produced in, seal remaining 2.9 km. All the waste from all nuclear plants today is less in volume than trash just a few families produce in a year.

But yes, we're hijacking this thread, and I answered only because Serpentine asked. Anyone wanting to continue discussion about papers, waste, or power plants is welcome to my PM.

Killer Angel
2011-03-13, 11:57 AM
Put in perspective, the Japanese are crazy good at handling earthquakes!

Pretty much. In Italy, for the earthquake of 2009, in Abruzzo region, we suffered 308 casualties. It was only a 5.9 Richter. :smallsigh:



But yes, we're hijacking this thread, and I answered only because Serpentine asked. Anyone wanting to continue discussion about papers, waste, or power plants is welcome to my PM.

I'll bite it. :smallwink:

Seraph
2011-03-13, 12:39 PM
Re: The Nuclear Reactors - Read this and be enlightened (http://www4.ncsu.edu/~seskutni/fukushima.html)


in short, the reactors are working about as well as could be expected for having been in the fifth most powerful earthquake in recorded human history, and are not currently a threat or in danger of catastrophic failure. There are other, far more pressing issues in Japan to worry about than the reactors, and if you keep talking about them in such a doom-and-gloom way, you are actively doing a disservice to the country.

Soilborn
2011-03-13, 01:04 PM
Yes. We could just as easily be talking about volcanoes.

Shinmoedake erupts again. (http://hken.ibtimes.com/articles/122076/20110314/japan-shinmoedake-volcano-shinmoe-dake-erupted-erupts-ash-rock-earthquake-tsunami.htm)

Nippon just can't catch a break. :(

Spamotron
2011-03-13, 03:13 PM
These before and after satellite photos from GeoEye really put the power of the Tsunami in perspective.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/13/world/asia/satellite-photos-japan-before-and-after-tsunami.html

KnightDisciple
2011-03-13, 03:36 PM
Thoughts and prayers to the people of Japan affected by the quake, the tsunami, and all the aftereffects.

Incidentally, you can text TSUNAMI to 50555 to donate $10 to Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Response efforts (http://www.convoyofhope.org/go/headlines/entry/earthquake_and_tsunami_strike_japan). In case people want another giving option (I know a couple have already been shown, but more never hurts). :smallsmile:

Miklus
2011-03-13, 04:28 PM
A breach of the Fukushima-1 reactor vessel is, frankly, waaaaaaaay improbable, especially now that, as I understand it, they have gone ahead and flooded the reactor vessel with sea water and boron from the outside to cool it down rather directly (this will make Fukushima-1 basically impossible to restart later on, but hey... What works in a pinch...)

So, to sum up again: no, there is no real, lasting danger in this situation

I'm glad you people are so well informed about nuclear technology, I'm a little impressed. I basically agree with what both you and Zarah says. But...

Seeing that reactor building go up on TV, I have to admit I was not a happy nuclear-fanboi. That was a big explosion with a visible chokwave, crap flying all over the place and everything. I don't blame the locals for fleeing in every possible direction. I was in Germany this weekend and they only had german television. I was desperatly trying to understand that wierd language they talk, but a (moving) picture is better than a thousand words. I assume that people who don't know what the hell is going on or who don't really trust the autorities have it the same way.

I really hope the reactor is intact and that the radioactivity stays within. I agree that even in the worst case, the death toll from radioactivity will be far lower than from the wave. The wave is what people should be really afraid of. But the anti-nuclear crowd will go absolutely ape.

There will probably be a donation run soon, like after Haiti. I have decided to donate money to all major natural disasters.

JonestheSpy
2011-03-13, 04:40 PM
I'm stocking up on Potassium Iodine just in case. The odds of radiation from the nuclear plants reaching the West Coast of America is very low at this point, but this is a very pointed reminder that California has not one but two nuclear reactors built on the San Andreas faultline.

For folks looking for a place to donate to help, a friend of mine recently pointed me toward the Search Dog Foundation. Trained dogs are an incredibly useful, low-tech way to locate survivors in the rubble of such natural disasters, and donations can help fund sending them to Japan, as well as training more dogs for future needs.

http://www.searchdogfoundation.org/98/html/1-deployments/1-2_japan.html

Seraph
2011-03-13, 04:56 PM
I'm stocking up on Potassium Iodine just in case. The odds of radiation from the nuclear plants reaching the West Coast of America is very low at this point,


I would rather consider the odds to be ridiculously low, since its completely ****ing impossible.

seriously, you're blowing this way out of proportion.

JonestheSpy
2011-03-13, 05:42 PM
I would rather consider the odds to be ridiculously low, since its completely ****ing impossible.

seriously, you're blowing this way out of proportion.

I fail to see how saying "I'm going to take this course of action, even though the odds for needing to do so are low" is "blowing something way out of proportion". And no, I do not share your confidence that a complete meltdown at one or more reactors is impossible.

Anyway, as I said, I live in a state that has two reactors on earthquake faults. The nearer one is supposed to be able to withstand a 7.5 quake - sounded pretty good until a couple of days ago, hm?

Seraph
2011-03-13, 05:45 PM
I fail to see how saying "I'm going to take this course of action, even though the odds for needing to do so are low" is "blowing something way out of proportion". And no, I do not share your confidence that a complete meltdown at one or more reactors is impossible.

Anyway, as I said, I live in a state that has two reactors on earthquake faults. The nearer one is supposed to be able to withstand a 7.5 quake - sounded pretty good until a couple of days ago, hm?

saying that you're going to stock up on potassium iodine on the off chance that radiation crosses the pacific ocean is pretty much the definition of Blowing Things Out Of Proportion.

Brother Oni
2011-03-13, 05:52 PM
saying that you're going to stock up on potassium iodine on the off chance that radiation crosses the pacific ocean is pretty much the definition of Blowing Things Out Of Proportion.

Theoretical situation, playing devil's advocate - supposing Fukushima did go up like Chernobyl (yes, I know this is impossible, but I'm playing devil's advocate here), the radioactive material could get dispersed into clouds and fall with rain. It's what happened with Chernobyl - the fallout was a lot more dispersed than expected as it got dispersed by prevailing winds and rainfall.

Now the chances of this happening if Fukushima went up like Chernobyl, is very small (the Pacific is a lot bigger than Europe), but is still vaguely possible with favourable winds.

In this situation, let's compromise and say that Jonethespy is stocking up if the reactors near him decide to leak, instead of Fukushima?

SDF
2011-03-13, 06:06 PM
Hey, can we stop talking about what if scenarios and political ideology regarding nuclear power? Almost no one is on the same page and it is way off topic for what is a really important topic. Take it to PM or something.

Before and after sliding pics. (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/13/world/asia/satellite-photos-japan-before-and-after-tsunami.html?ref=asia=) It is depressing looking at that and thinking that anyone is going to need to pick that up. Pretty much its what I imagine pre and post apocalypse satellite photos to look like.

JonestheSpy
2011-03-13, 06:21 PM
saying that you're going to stock up on potassium iodine on the off chance that radiation crosses the pacific ocean is pretty much the definition of Blowing Things Out Of Proportion.

Seraph, you might not be aware of this but there are plenty of studies that have shown that air pollutants released in China have been detected on the western coast of North America. Studies have also shown how the winds of the Pacific carry volcanic ash to islands thousands of miles away from the original eruption. So if the worst happens and a bunch of radioactive material is released into the atmosphere in Japan, it is by no means inconceivable that it would reach North America. I don't think it's likely by any means, but it's not impossible.

And considering that one of the most likely contaminants to be released, radioactive iodine, is most dangerous to children and I've got one - yeah, I have no problem going that extra step just to be a little less nervous. I suspect any other parents out there will understand.

Anyway, sorry to derail. It does seem pretty crass to make the horrible suffering in Japan take a back seat to whether or not there's a small chance it could affect people in the U.S. I saw one picture of two parents finding their daughters body in what looked like a crushed car or something - it's just heartbreaking.

The Japan Society (http://www.japansociety.org/news) has also been recommended to me as a site that will reliably funnel all donations to organiztions that will directly help victims of the quake.

Themrys
2011-03-13, 06:40 PM
Not to mention the training of the people manning it...

Which doesn't prove that the technology is safe and should be used.
It only shows what can happen if mistakes are made, and mistakes are made, and will be made in the future, you can be sure.

In a car accident, ten people die, if the worst comes to the worst. And if I feel cars are not safe enough, I can stay away from them. It's not easy, but it's possible.

The surroundings of Chernobyl are not safe for animals, recent studies found that the animals gather there because it is safe from humans, die, and are replaced by other animals.
They're certainly not safe for humans, and while it may be unlikely that the catastrophy in Japan will turn out equally bad, chances are still much too high. Also, something like this can happen everywhere. We now know that earthquakes don't care what we think is a reasonably strong earthquake.


Also, I can't see how we help Japan by discussing the volcano eruptions or tsunami, or earthquake instead. We aren't able to prevent those things in the future. Everyone thinks it would be preferable if they didn't happen, so there is no discussion necessary.

Dr.Epic
2011-03-13, 06:44 PM
For those who still don't know... massive earthquake and tsunami warning for all the pacific coasts.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12709598


Sincerely, good luck to the ones involved...

You can predict an earthquake? I did not know that.

My condolences to anyone affected. My one friends studying abroad there now. I should check up on them. We're supposed to be roommates next year.

Irbis
2011-03-13, 07:02 PM
The surroundings of Chernobyl are not safe for animals, recent studies found that the animals gather there because it is safe from humans, die, and are replaced by other animals.

Were these "studies" by Greenpeace or their affilites? They already made a fools out of themselves with their previous "studies". I'd consider that the animals might be dying here, if not for the species I mentioned. Lynxes, Eagles, Przewalski Horses - to put things in the perspective, each of these are literally last of their kind. Przewalski's are the last wild horses in Europe - tell me, where more of these came from if the Zone is that dangerous? And how their Chernobyl population is the largest in Europe, if the last reports I read on them were correct?


They're certainly not safe for humans

People live there. Illegally, as guards, guides, or pillagers. There are regular trips by tourists there. Heck, walking to reactor itself is safe provided you don't enter it and won't stay too long. Not safe?

By the way, nature is coping with it so fast that a whole new way of feeding, alongside common photo- and chemosynthesis already begun to evolve, radiosynthesis, used by local fungi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus) inside reactor to turn gamma radiation into energy like other species use sunlight. Nature copes with radioactivity much better than it does with common pollutants from coal/oil plants and cars.

Brother Oni
2011-03-13, 07:09 PM
Also, I can't see how we help Japan by discussing the volcano eruptions or tsunami, or earthquake instead. We aren't able to prevent those things in the future. Everyone thinks it would be preferable if they didn't happen, so there is no discussion necessary.

We can't affect a lot of things that we prefer not to happen.

That's no excuse for us to ignore that they are happening and to discuss them in a calm manner (subject to board rules).

Putting your head in the sand isn't the best way to go through life and is probably on par with the "Oh I never watch the news, it's just so depressing all the time" outlook.

KnightDisciple
2011-03-13, 07:59 PM
Maybe we should focus on linking people to various places they can donate to disaster relief, as well as giving occasional updates on the facts of the situation, and stuff like "I know X is okay, and Y said they're doing fine" and the like?

Haruki-kun
2011-03-13, 08:08 PM
New List by Anime News Network. (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-03-11/anime/manga/game-industry-members-check-in-after-quake) (Anime/Manga/Game Industry Members Check In After Quake (Updated))

With Sources.

R07 is OK! =)

Killer Angel
2011-03-14, 05:20 AM
You can predict an earthquake? I did not know that.


Sorry... when did I pretend such a thing? :smallannoyed:

paddyfool
2011-03-14, 06:53 AM
Breaking news: new tsunami alert (http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9LUNOU00.htm)#

Rest of post follows:

@Irbis,

It's a bit more complicated than that. Plants will draw radioactive material out of the soil, but aren't generally too bothered by new mutations, and do just fine. Herbivores will end up as concentrations of radioactive material due to eating the plants, but still do OK, on the whole, because their net exposure is fairly low. Carnivores and insectivores do worse, because they'll ingest more radioactive material as it becomes concentrated in the animals they eat (similarly to the effect of long-lasting insecticides).

That said, opinion is divided on how much this is actually affecting the wildlife there. Here's one piece from 2006 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4923342.stm) claiming the effects are pretty light, and here's another from 2007 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6946210.stm) putting the alternate case, based on a study which found a marked impact on birdlife (http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/3/5/483.full?sid=cc4b8575-fc6d-4e51-b6f8-d6262a8a2052).

With respect to the topic, however, all of this worry about what seems to be a strictly local radioactive exposure around the nuclear power plants in question is something of a distraction from the major damage done by this quake and the tsunami which followed, and the lessons which might be drawn from it. I've a few thoughts on this:

1) How well prepared are other high earthquake risk areas for an event of similar nature and magnitude? What can reasonably done to make them better prepared?

2) As a riff on the same: I've heard it claimed that the tsunami caused more devastation than the quake itself did directly, due largely to Japan's extensive earthquake preparation. I don't know the truth of this, but if true, does this imply that more could have been done to prevent such damage, or is there nothing that reasonably could have been done for a tsunami of this size starting this close to shore?

3) Apparently this may well have been the costliest disaster ever (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704027504576198853727739640.html?m od=googlenews_wsj). And much as I hate to be parochial, this will be bad news if you work in or hold shares in an exposed insurance or reinsurance firm, and probably bad news for insurance premiums.

4) A note on this from the personal impact, though: only 14% of property owners in Japan have earthquake insurance. (http://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCATRE72B2ME20110312) Which means that a lot of people who survived the quake but lost their possessions will now be left with nothing.

More than such academic points in all, however is this message: please give, if you can (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hnQ2ysZ8dDAV3IPXbBQNQnXaZLFA?docId=6694265f7 abc4ef68fb7ac41f918b99b).

Brother Oni
2011-03-14, 07:32 AM
Breaking news: new tsunami alert (http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9LUNOU00.htm)#


Fortunately, I believe this alert has been recinded.



2) As a riff on the same: I've heard it claimed that the tsunami caused more devastation than the quake itself did directly, due largely to Japan's extensive earthquake preparation. I don't know the truth of this, but if true, does this imply that more could have been done to prevent such damage, or is there nothing that reasonably could have been done for a tsunami of this size starting this close to shore?


I've also heard the same regarding the limited damage done by the earthquake itself:



"And like someone said it on Twitter, here is one headline that you'd never see: "Millions of lives saved by good Japanese engineering and strict government building codes." That's true, the real damage came from the tsunami. The devastation you saw on TV was caused not by the quake, but by surging water. The quake itself, while super strong, didn't cause that much damage. So from now on, I promise not to complain about Japanese buildings. They are bloody cold in winter and hellishly hot in summer, but they can withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake."

I took this off the BBC website and I can't confirm the authority of the source, but it tallies with what I know. My sister in law lives in Chiba, just north of Tokyo and while she's still getting aftershocks, she appears to be all right, excepting the sporadic electrity supply and food shortages.

I don't think you can realistically prepare any sort of defences for a tsunami this close and this strong - I believe there was only a five minute warning in the closest hit towns. You can't run very far in 5 minutes.

I know there was some talk of platforms which could raise people above the likely height of any wave, but given entire buildings were swept away here, I suspect they would have been of limited use.

Serpentine
2011-03-14, 07:44 AM
Sorry... when did I pretend such a thing? :smallannoyed:I believe it's a "quirk of English" thing.
You said: "For those who still don't know... massive earthquake and tsunami warning for all the pacific coasts."

You meant: "There's been a massive earthquake, and as a consequence there is a tsunami warning."

He thought you meant: "There is a warning for a massive earthquake and a tsunami."

Killer Angel
2011-03-14, 08:00 AM
I believe it's a "quirk of English" thing.
You said: "For those who still don't know... massive earthquake and tsunami warning for all the pacific coasts."

You meant: "There's been a massive earthquake, and as a consequence there is a tsunami warning."

He thought you meant: "There is a warning for a massive earthquake and a tsunami."

Ah, that makes more sense...
but still, I also posted the link to the news, so there shouldn't be misunderstandings.

Themrys
2011-03-14, 08:01 AM
We can't affect a lot of things that we prefer not to happen.

That's no excuse for us to ignore that they are happening and to discuss them in a calm manner (subject to board rules).

Putting your head in the sand isn't the best way to go through life and is probably on par with the "Oh I never watch the news, it's just so depressing all the time" outlook.

I am not for putting my head in the sand, I am just for discussing things that can be changed (nuclear power plants, in this case) instead of discussing how sad it is that an earthquake and a tsunami happened in Japan.

I know it is nice and makes one feel all warm and fuzzy inside if everyone in a thread agrees with each other, but it doesn't change anything and doesn't help anyone.

I don't say we shouldn't talk about the tsunami and earthquake, but "Let's just talk about how sad it is, so we all agree" doesn't make much sense in my opinion.

St.Sinner
2011-03-14, 09:31 AM
My friends in Tokyo say people are panicking a bit and the supermarkets are low on food and everybody's very, very worried about radiation levels in the air. Although from what I've read and heard the experts on tv talk about, there's been no radiation leakage apart from the controlled pressure releases with non-hazardous amounts of radioactive stuff. The containment units have held up so far, and the talking heads seem to think that the worst-case scenario is not so likely. I wonder if the local news in Japan is telling people something different; I expect that it's a whole lot easier to put faith in what the experts are saying when you're in a far away armchair somewhere than when you're 250 km from the malfunctioning nuclear reactor.

The seismologists are now saying there's a 70% probability of a magnitude 7 aftershock in the area within the next 3 days. The blows just keep on coming, it seems.

MoelVermillion
2011-03-14, 11:04 AM
I am not for putting my head in the sand, I am just for discussing things that can be changed (nuclear power plants, in this case) instead of discussing how sad it is that an earthquake and a tsunami happened in Japan.


I'm not sure nuclear power plants are something that can be changed though. Fossil fuel power stations create nasty pollutants that are affecting the planet as a whole and acting as a bigger ticking time bomb than nuclear power plants are. Renewable power sources generally rely on locations with some places in the world being unable to do much with them (I doubt a solar plant would generate much power in England) and even then they are very expensive for the amount of power they actually produce. Then you get to a densely populated country like Japan where they don't have a lot space to build power plants but need a lot of power. What choices do we have apart from nuclear power in these situations?

Miklus
2011-03-14, 11:32 AM
I just saw a video on the news of reactor 3 blowing up. This explosion appears much larger than the first one and has a greyish color. It said it was a hydrogen explosion, like the first, but I'm not convinced.

I don't think they have this under control at all. I think that was a nuclear powered explosion. What do you guys think?

Is there a better video? The one I saw was crap quality.

EDIT: Found a better video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_N-wNFSGyQ&feature=related

super dark33
2011-03-14, 11:43 AM
{Scrubbed}

Anima
2011-03-14, 11:43 AM
I just saw a video on the news of reactor 3 blowing up. This explosion appears much larger than the first one and has a greyish color. It said it was a hydrogen explosion, like the first, but I'm not convinced.

I don't think they have this under control at all. I think that was a nuclear powered explosion. What do you guys think?

Is there a better video? The one I saw was crap quality.
A nuclear powerplant is not a bomb, there will be no nuclear explosion. Greyish colour could be caused by concrete dust.

Let's just hope the reactor containment holds until it cools down enough.

littlebottom
2011-03-14, 11:49 AM
this is all getting too much for me, and im not even there.:smalleek:

just hearing on the news that over a thousand bodies just washed up onto the shores, and the explosions, its hideous. and i think the worst bit is knowing there was nothing that could be done about it. its no ones fault, and it was unavoidable.... all these deaths and no one could do a thing?:smallfrown: infact, they dont a have a smilie sad enough on this site.

Seraph
2011-03-14, 12:57 PM
I don't think they have this under control at all. I think that was a nuclear powered explosion. What do you guys think?

I think that you're wrong, since the nuclear material in a reactor is not the kind of nuclear material that can just up and explode.

The control rods are inserted, the primary nuclear reaction has stopped, the material is no longer capable of going critical. the main problem here is that there are secondary, unsustainable reactions in the core that need to slow down and stop by themselves, which generate an extreme amount of heat. the hurdle with the reactors is to keep them cooled down, so that the material doesn't melt through the bottom and pool.

There is no way for the material itself to up and explode, the worst that can happen is hydrogen explosions, and as of yet no such explosions have caused breaches.

Soilborn
2011-03-14, 02:14 PM
Regardless of the outcome, that power plant is fragged. The pumping of seawater into it to cool it down is by far a last ditch effort seeing as how the salt and other stuff in the water would absolutely destroy the components that it's supposed to cool.

Brother Oni
2011-03-14, 03:34 PM
There is no way for the material itself to up and explode, the worst that can happen is hydrogen explosions, and as of yet no such explosions have caused breaches.

I'm going to defer to your knowledge, but is it possible for such a hydrogen explosion to cause a breach in the reactor containment?
I believe that Fukushima 3 runs on plutonium in addition to uranium, thus and release of that material is going to be a major issue, as it's highly toxic on top of being highly radioactive.


Regardless of the outcome, that power plant is fragged. The pumping of seawater into it to cool it down is by far a last ditch effort seeing as how the salt and other stuff in the water would absolutely destroy the components that it's supposed to cool.

I was under the impression that the plant was due to be decommissioned anyway.

In any case, better to frag the reactor and get it under control than to risk a breach of the containment vessel.

Miklus
2011-03-14, 04:05 PM
I'm going to defer to your knowledge, but is it possible for such a hydrogen explosion to cause a breach in the reactor containment?

The last thing I heard on BBC is that the conmainment walls are holding, so the core is probably still intact.

But it also said that the latest blast in reactor 3 could be felt 40Km (25 miles) away! My fear was that the concrete walls could crack and leak the seawater out faster than they can pump it in. The reactor inside could also be damaged from being knocked around. Then the core would melt down and out the bottom and makes a nasty radioactive cloud.

But it seems that has not happend. Fingers crossed.

Eric Tolle
2011-03-14, 04:46 PM
There's a lot of hyperbole and hysteria going on around the media, enhanced by the fact that a lot of the people involved have no idea at all about nuclear reactors outside of "The China Syndrome". some graphics circulating have shown a "cloud of radiation" heading toward America with dosages that would cause instant death. I'm also pretty sure that at any time headlines will trumpet "Millions will die from radiation cloud".

FWIW, here's some fairly calm, accurate information:

Fukushima Nuclear Accident (http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/14/japan-nuclear-updates/)

The indications are that these are hydrogen explosions that are not breaking the containment structure, but damaging the outer building. The hydrogen itself is being produced by a reaction with the zirconium cladding around the fuel rods, and the sea water.

The important thing for the media though, is to cherry pick any pictures of the hydrogen explosions to show the ones that look the most like mushroom clouds.

paddyfool
2011-03-14, 04:59 PM
Current figures on the quake and tsunami's impact can be found here, btw (http://blogs.redcross.org.uk/international/2011/03/japan-earthquake-response-in-figures/#).

Seraph
2011-03-14, 05:08 PM
I'm going to defer to your knowledge, but is it possible for such a hydrogen explosion to cause a breach in the reactor containment?

it would have to be a hydrogen explosion inside the core itself, which is highly unlikely since the steam venting is preventing such a thing in the first place. if there was an external explosion strong enough to break the core open, then the radiation would be the least of japan's problems.

SDF
2011-03-14, 06:59 PM
Oh man, breaking reports they are evacuating most of the plant following a third explosion that exposed about half a rod and may have breached the concrete containment cell. Higher rad levels detected at the plant and to the south. Not a very strong increase in the south, but they are just noticing an increase.

paddyfool
2011-03-15, 04:34 AM
A further good point to be made here: Japan is one of the most prepared countries for earthquakes and tsunamis in the world. Many other countries are less prepared, and although there was a push internationally to step up measures on this front, it might be time to check that decent measures have actually been implemented, and if not, make sure they are. Or, in the words of the International Oceanographic Commission (http://www.ioc-tsunami.org/):


The horrific scenes of destruction that we have witnessed through the media over the last three days should act as another reminder for countries with communities living close to potentially tsunamigenic zones to step up their efforts to develop awareness, preparedness and mitigation measures. Communities must learn to recognize the natural warning signs and act immediately to save their lives. Focused research is also required to continue updating our knowledge about subduction zones capable of generating great earthquakes and tsunamis.

Elm11
2011-03-15, 07:02 AM
As terrible as the situation is in Japan as a whole, there won't (I expect) be any major long term ramifications from the Fukushima plant failure. It'll almost certainly never run again, and the town might have to be abandoned (what's left of it), but there will almost certainly be no form of colossal explosion (A nuclear blast is physically impossible). The biggest threat the plant causes currently is the rediculous amount of media hype that it is creating, stirring people into a panic.

I swear the world media does so much more harm than good in situations like these. Because it's such a touchy topic they want to turn everything they can into Chernobyl MKII meets Tsar Bomba. This is reflected again by the honestly rediculous belief that devastation in the town is in any way, shape or form akin or as bad as the havoc wrought by the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.

Despite this, my prayers, along with billions around the world, go out to everybody suffering and i don't by any means intend to deflect any of the criticality of their current situation.

Serpentine
2011-03-15, 08:45 AM
Well. Boy oh boy do I have a story for you.

Some background for starters. In high school I had a Japanese exchange student called Miki Hayasaka. Unfortunately we dropped out of contact since then. About this time last year, I had a look to see if she was on Facebook. I found a couple of Miki Hayasaka, and one in particular that looked like she could've been my Miki. Her profile didn't give me the option of sending her a message, so I picked out a random Friend from her profile and asked her (one Phoebe) if she'd ask her if it was the right person. She said she would, but I never heard back.
Just now, I had a "wait a minute... I know someone in Japan! :smalleek:" moment and went looking again. I found a link to a story. I cross-checked it with the Miki I inquired about before.
The girl I sent a message to a stranger about this time last year, who I checked up on because of the earthquake in Japan, died in the Christchurch earthquake (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/natural-disasters/news/article.cfm?c_id=68&objectid=10708544) :smalleek:
Fortunately (sorta) it wasn't the Miki Hayasaka I was looking for - mine's about my age, this one was 37 - but still, very weird.

Asta Kask
2011-03-15, 09:04 AM
I am not for putting my head in the sand, I am just for discussing things that can be changed (nuclear power plants, in this case) instead of discussing how sad it is that an earthquake and a tsunami happened in Japan.

However, how we are going to solve the energy problems of today and the future are political questions and there are better places than this forum for discussing them.

Dvandemon
2011-03-15, 09:12 AM
Hey, has anyone heard about the nauseating amount of people (mostly on Facebook) that say Japan "deserved" it for Pearl Harbor?

Serpentine
2011-03-15, 09:13 AM
Yeah. It's too ridiculous for me to get angry about it.

Brother Oni
2011-03-15, 10:09 AM
I'm really glad I don't have a facebook account.

I'd be banned in about half a second after hearing that.

Killer Angel
2011-03-15, 10:11 AM
Hey, has anyone heard about the nauseating amount of people (mostly on Facebook) that say Japan "deserved" it for Pearl Harbor?

:smalleek:
you're kiddin', right? Right?!?
...no, you're not. :smallsigh:

That's sad. THey deserve something like {Scrubbed.}.

Skeppio
2011-03-15, 10:14 AM
Hey, has anyone heard about the nauseating amount of people (mostly on Facebook) that say Japan "deserved" it for Pearl Harbor?

Yes, I have. Never underestimate the depths of human stupidity. :smallannoyed:

Asta Kask
2011-03-15, 11:06 AM
I'm just waiting for the tinfoil hat brigade to say that fire can't melt steel and this prooves that Fukushima was an 'inside job'.

Anima
2011-03-15, 12:05 PM
You know, these people disprove their claim of karmic natural disasters by the simple fact that they haven't been struck by lightning yet.
Seriously, those people are just out for whatever attention they can get, just ignore them.

Irbis
2011-03-15, 02:35 PM
What was said above. Nuclear power is like an airplane - both are safest of their kind, energy/transport, yet create stupendous amount of fear and holywood science.

Both have another thing in common - they are so safe that any problems with them are invariably made by human error, properly operated, they never malfunction. Here, we have reactors as old as Chernobyl one, that were hit by the strongest earthquake ever recorded, then by tsunami. Yet, they held, no one died. The only way the nuclear reactor can kill someone is by being cut off the network, say, connected to hospital.

Compare it to this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrAl2dIKvPw&feature=player_embedded). This is oil refinery in Japan. Last few days, every refinery, power plant, storage depot using oil, gas, and other combustibles looked like this. Almost kilometre high fireballs, dozens of casualties, tens of thousands of toxic substances in the air. Yet, everyone fears them 'nucular' scarecrow far more :smallsigh:


***

By the way, there are reports that there might be problem with nuclear power plant storage area, where fuel is being stored. Unconfirmed news say that Japanese company directors were so busy with reactors that they forgot to monitor the storehouse. If so, they are literally dumber than the whole Chernobyl experiment committee. This is unconfirmed, though, so take this with a big grain of salt - I mention this only as breaking news, and to warn you to not listen to any 'nuclear explosion' rumours - reactors are still intact, the problem if real will be with overheating fuel rods in storage system that private company running on profits made as cheap as possible :smallsigh:

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-15, 03:15 PM
Just in case people hadn't seen this (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ap_on_bi_ge/as_japan_earthquake) yet.

I've been to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan does not need this, nor does it deserve it for any reason.

Blas_de_Lezo
2011-03-15, 05:01 PM
Come on Japan!

¡Fuerza Japón!

Zeb The Troll
2011-03-16, 01:04 AM
I heard on the radio on the way into work tonight that company that owns Fukushima Dai'ichi (sp?) has pulled out the last 50 people working on the reactors there. Apparently their plan now is to just dump water from helicopters above the reactors. This seems bad to me.

Although, in the same report, the radio guy asked the specialist what this means in terms of how bad it's going to get. His response, essentially, was "Well, this is bad, make no mistake, but from what we've gathered, the fuel remaining in the reactors was nearly spent already, due to the fact that the entire plant was nearing end-of-life. This means that the chances for the remaining fuel reaching a criticality are very low, and the chances of a supercriticality, like that seen at Chernobyl, are virtually nil. At this point, even if what's left melts down into a single pool at the bottom of the core, it's probably not got enough energy left to actually melt through. Yes, it's bad, but it's not cataclysmic."

*note, this is not a direct quote in any way, but a synopsis of a very long answer as I understood it.

Serpentine
2011-03-16, 10:11 AM
These photos (http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/03/japan_-_new_fears_as_the_trage.html) really drive home how massive and devastating the tsunami was :eek:
I hope Miki Hayasaka and Makiko Yamaguchi are alright :smallfrown:

Haruki-kun
2011-03-16, 10:11 AM
You understood it right. I got linked to a Something Awful post two days ago. Not sure if I should link to SA, but the quotes go:


Can this cause a nuclear explosion?

No. It is physically impossible for a nuclear power station to explode like a nuclear weapon.

Nuclear bombs work by causing a supercritical fission reaction in a very small space in an unbelievably small amount of time.... This requires extremely precise engineering.....


Is Tokyo in danger?

Currently, measured radiation levels are slightly higher than normal in many areas of Japan at the moment, including parts of Tokyo. However, they are still down in single- or double-digit microSv per hour levels, far below any danger.

This does not mean that future events might not change this. Events such as a spent fuel rod fire (see below) could cause more widespread problems, depending on the severity of the incident.


Do we need to worry about site two?

The four reactors at site two did not have their external power damaged by the tsunami, and are therefore operating normally, albeit in a post-scram shutdown state. They have not required any venting, and reactors #1, #2, and #3 are already in full cold shutdown.


Can this end up like Chernobyl?

No, it cannot.

......

The closest thing that could happen to a Chernobyl-like incident is if the spent fuel rods at the site caught fire and continued to burn. This could create large amounts of radioactive smoke, which would be more dangerous that the vented steam because it would contain nuclear material with much longer lives. So far, this appears to have been averted, but the possibility remains.


The news said this was the worst nuclear power accident since Chernobyl, though.

That's not saying much, considering the competition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents#List_of_accidents_ at_nuclear_power_plants). The IAEA rates nuclear events (http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Factsheets/English/ines.pdf) on a scale where level four is "Accident with Local Consequences"; the Fukushima situation is the only class five event involving an actual power station since Chernobyl in 1986, which makes it easy to be the "worst".

This is a serious accident, but so far it is no Chernobyl. There have been no deaths, no loss of reactor containment, and no release of long-lived radioactive material.

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-16, 02:54 PM
I heard someone (on the news) call this the second worst Nuclear crisis ever. After 3 Mile Island... my parents went balistic.

Seraph
2011-03-16, 05:51 PM
I heard someone (on the news) call this the second worst Nuclear crisis ever. After 3 Mile Island... my parents went balistic.

that's a really biased way of saying it. Yes, its in the top five, because there are barely five nuclear reactor incidents in history. Its worse than 3MI, because Three Mile Island was almost a non-event, and no radiation was ever actually released in the 3 Mile Island incident.

Chernobyl was the worst accident in history, but then, it takes active effort to **** up a reactor as badly as chernobyl was. Even if every single thing that could possibly go wrong Goes Wrong at fukushima, it will never be as bad as chernobyl.

Shalist
2011-03-16, 05:54 PM
MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering Nuclear Information Hub (http://mitnse.com/):

I was a navy nuke for 10 years (recently separated), and after poking around for a while, I found a site with gobs of specific up-to-date, 'behind the scenes' information on Japan's nuclear troubles, maintained by none other than MIT's Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (students). It explains what people in the media are talking about, and also gives a lot of specific information. Unlike most media outlets, they tend to focus on what's happened, and are a bit light on the speculation.

I mention this since "media" and "nuclear" don't really...mix well (http://www.theonion.com/articles/actual-expert-too-boring-for-tv,1764/). Hopefully everyone knows not to get news about anything important, nuclear or otherwise, from the 24/7 networks, though...

edit:

More updates (Nuclear Energy Institute (http://nei.cachefly.net/newsandevents/information-on-the-japanese-earthquake-and-reactors-in-that-region/)), FAQs, etc

St.Sinner
2011-03-16, 09:28 PM
I've heard that many of the news crews are pulling out of Tokyo. This can't be good.

They've started water-bombing the nuclear reactor with military helicopters, and police are using water cannons to spray from the ground. I feel so deeply for these people at the reactor. Whatever the fallout from this nuclear crisis will be to the general surrounding population, it seems almost certain that these folks fighting to prevent the meltdown are already exposed to extremely high levels of radiation and may deal with the consequences long after the country recovers.

Maxios
2011-03-16, 09:38 PM
I heard the guy who made Pokemon got killed in the tsunami :smallfrown:

Edit: JUst heard they found him alive a couple days ago

Erloas
2011-03-16, 10:17 PM
it seems almost certain that these folks fighting to prevent the meltdown are already exposed to extremely high levels of radiation and may deal with the consequences long after the country recovers.

From everything I've read, that simply is not the case. They have monitors checking constantly and they pull people out if the levels get too high. And if I remember right, most of the levels are noticeably higher then background radiation, its still not levels anywhere near causing acute issues and a day might be the equivalent of a months worth of background radiation which is only an issue if it takes them weeks to get this under control.

I can't find the article at the moment, but it was putting into perspective the safety risks of nuclear power compared to more traditional sources of power. I think it was something like 19 to 1 for serious injuries in coal production to nuclear production after factoring in the respective sizes of the industries. I think they said the only person to die at the nuclear plant so far was caused by a crane falling on them. And while a radiation exposure, while being very rare, could potentially cause long term harm to many people, most other forms of energy do actually constantly release particles that cause long term harm to many people.

Serpentine
2011-03-16, 10:59 PM
The nineMSN news page always has some dodgy little poll going, with a "Yes/No" answer. Today's my answer is too complicated for me to answer with either of those, so I'm answering it here, instead :smalltongue:

Should all Australians leave Japan?
I think it depends. If they can help, with the clean-up and everything, then no, I think they should stay if they want to. If they can't help in any meaningful way then it might be more useful for them to leave and thus relieve Japan of a little bit of resource drain and people to worry about. Especially if they're just visiting, anyway. But mostly, it's purely a case-by-case issue.

Zeb The Troll
2011-03-16, 11:15 PM
The nineMSN news page always has some dodgy little poll going, with a "Yes/No" answer. Today's my answer is too complicated for me to answer with either of those, so I'm answering it here, instead :smalltongue:

Should all Australians leave Japan?
I think it depends. If they can help, with the clean-up and everything, then no, I think they should stay if they want to. If they can't help in any meaningful way then it might be more useful for them to leave and thus relieve Japan of a little bit of resource drain and people to worry about. Especially if they're just visiting, anyway. But mostly, it's purely a case-by-case issue.Seems to me, then, that the answer is "no". Not all Australians should leave. :smallcool:

Haruki-kun
2011-03-16, 11:19 PM
Seems to me, then, that the answer is "no". Not all Australians should leave. :smallcool:

Ah. Discrete mathematics and logical thinking. I like that. :smallwink:

St.Sinner
2011-03-16, 11:59 PM
From everything I've read, that simply is not the case. They have monitors checking constantly and they pull people out if the levels get too high. And if I remember right, most of the levels are noticeably higher then background radiation, its still not levels anywhere near causing acute issues and a day might be the equivalent of a months worth of background radiation which is only an issue if it takes them weeks to get this under control.

I can't find the article at the moment, but it was putting into perspective the safety risks of nuclear power compared to more traditional sources of power. I think it was something like 19 to 1 for serious injuries in coal production to nuclear production after factoring in the respective sizes of the industries. I think they said the only person to die at the nuclear plant so far was caused by a crane falling on them. And while a radiation exposure, while being very rare, could potentially cause long term harm to many people, most other forms of energy do actually constantly release particles that cause long term harm to many people.

You reckon? I do hope that's right. As one not well-versed in nuclear physics, I am trying to piece together some understanding of the situation through reading various reports and expert opinions. The reports were saying the levels at the plant were "dangerously high", apparently high enough that they found it necessary to pull everybody out for a while a few hours ago. As I understand, the reason they didn't start the water dumping earlier was due to the radiation levels being deemed too dangerous. Now they're back in, so one can only hope that the levels could have dropped pretty significantly in those intervening hours.

Hearing that the news media are pulling back from Tokyo spooked me a bit. After all, these are the same people who run into war zones and the like, and Tokyo is still 250 km away from the Fukushima site. The emergency crew at the reactor I'm sure have equipment and protective gear that the general public don't, but still, it's highly unnerving. I desperately, desperately hope that you're right.


Seems to me, then, that the answer is "no". Not all Australians should leave. :smallcool:

Not to mention, some Australians are only there as part of the rescue effort to begin with. Poll resolved! Although yeah, I reckon tourists and visitors are probably better off leaving if they can, unless they have particular expertise in dealing with earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown combos.

Brother Oni
2011-03-17, 07:25 AM
As I understand, the reason they didn't start the water dumping earlier was due to the radiation levels being deemed too dangerous. Now they're back in, so one can only hope that the levels could have dropped pretty significantly in those intervening hours.


Well the local radiation count is apparently low and it only spikes every now and again, due to emergency venting, something leaking, etc.
As a safety precaution, they just pull the workers back whenever it spikes, but as I understand it, 'dangerous levels' is still far below the instantly lethal level, but a little too close to fatal for their liking.

Given their definition of 'little too close' is '10 hours of exposure to this level of radiation will result in (treatable) radiation sickness', it's not as worrying as the media makes it out to be, but I don't blame them for being very cautious.



Hearing that the news media are pulling back from Tokyo spooked me a bit. After all, these are the same people who run into war zones and the like, and Tokyo is still 250 km away from the Fukushima site.

That's because radiation is indiscriminate.

News crews who 'run into war zones' are often relatively safe - they're clearly unarmed and provided they don't run into the middle of firefights or go stomping around uncleared areas with mines/IEDs, they won't get intentionally shot at.

It'd be better to compare a radiation leak to a hurricane or other natural disaster - their press pass won't protect them from that, so it's sensible to just get out of the way.


In more promising news, they're apparently going to try and connect the plant's coolant systems to the main electricty grid today - if that works and the coolant systems are still intact, then the situation is going to improve rapidly.

banthesun
2011-03-17, 09:45 AM
That's because radiation is indiscriminate.

News crews who 'run into war zones' are often relatively safe - they're clearly unarmed and provided they don't run into the middle of firefights or go stomping around uncleared areas with mines/IEDs, they won't get intentionally shot at.

It'd be better to compare a radiation leak to a hurricane or other natural disaster - their press pass won't protect them from that, so it's sensible to just get out of the way.

Also, becoming a Tokyo correspondent has different connotations to being say, a Baghdad correspondent I doubt most of the reporters there are the type to become war correspondents.

Or to take the snarkier route, radiation doesn't really give good footage.
(Note, snark may be influenced by a journalist I saw talking about how he didn't want to go reporting in Tokyo because he was scared of the radiation three days ago when I wanted new reports.)

Miklus
2011-03-17, 01:19 PM
Regarding radiation levels, note that the first helicopters turned back because the levels where too high.

The next day (today), the helicopters where equipped with lead plates in the bottom and still they did not stop to hover before dumping the water.

They would probably allow the previously unexposed helicopter pilot to take a dose if it meant that the water was delivered correctly. But instead the helicopters just swooped by. My fear is that letting the helicopter hover for even a short while might leave the pilot unable to complete the mission.

I can find no other explanation for the helicopter behavior. Even at chernobyl, the helicopters hovered.

But of cause that is only the radiation levels just above the reactors. Hopefully the radioactive particles is not escaping into the air. I hope we get some close-up photos soon.

AslanCross
2011-03-17, 06:56 PM
Even at chernobyl, the helicopters hovered.


I'm not sure comparing the handling of Chernobyl to the handling of Fukushima is a good idea. There were testimonies of firefighters at the Chernobyl plant handling graphite bricks that came straight out of the reactor core because they didn't know they were dangerously radioactive. That doesn't mean the Fukushima crew should go in and try to put out the fire by hand.

By analogy, just because helicopters hovered at Chernobyl doesn't mean they should at Fukushima.

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-17, 07:12 PM
So, my dad has worked in energy for a long time. He said that dumping water from helicopters would be just about as effective as me getting up on a ladder and peeing to put out a house fire...

Miklus
2011-03-17, 07:50 PM
My newspaper says that the helicopter pilots got 100 milliSievert. I don't know if that is true. Journalists and math don't mix.

But if it is true, it is a large dose for only speeding over the reactor. I think symptoms like nausia sets in at 1 Sievert. Without the lead plates, the pilots could have trouble controling the helicopter if they had to stay there any length of time.

This also indicates that the situation is pretty bad. It is at least a six on the screw-up scale.

Shalist
2011-03-18, 12:55 AM
http://mitnse.com/ (this site answers all the common questions!)

I read about one worker getting 100 rem (1 sievert) early on, but for the most part their exposure is capped at 25 rem, which is the minimum threshold for acute affects:

There have been about 50 staff engaged in pumping seawater into the reactor cores and primary containment vessels of units 1, 2 and 3. From time to time these need to vent steam, which causes radiation to rise across the site and required the workers to move to a safer location.

Another 130 were also on site, according to reports, including soldiers from the Japan Self Defence Force.

Normally nuclear workers are allowed to receive a dose of 20 millisieverts per year, although in practice they often receive very much less. If that limit is exceeded in any year, the worker cannot undertake nuclear duties for the remainder

In emergency circumstances safety regulators allow workers to receive up to 100 millisieverts with the same conditions applying, that they must leave the site should that limit be reached. The 100 millisievert level is roughly the point at which health effects from radiation become more likely. Below this it is statistically difficult to connect radiation dose to cancer rates, but above this the relationship starts to become apparent.

Under a special allowance from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, workers at Fukushima were permitted doses of up to 250 millisieverts (up to 25 rem). Managers must be careful to make the best use of those experienced workers with the most detailed knowledge and experience of the plant.

...For radiation exposure of less than 50 Rem there is the potential for delayed effects such as non-specific life shortening, genetic effects, fetal effects, and cancer, but little is known about the long term consequences of exposures in this range. For doses less than 25 Rem there is not enough data to determine if such an exposure can cause any long-term effects on human health at all.



As for long-term troubles:
http://www.boingboing.net/dose%20table.png


note 1: normal lifetime incidence in U.S. is about 42% (of developing any cancer). The increase in risk, i.e. 1 in 30 for 3,000 mSv (300 rem), changes the 42% to 42.03% chance of getting cancer in the exposed individual's lifetime.

edit: A table with more details (http://www.pimahealth.org/emergency/dmat/dmat_radiationchart.pdf) on specific affects for large doses.

---

Radiation does two things of consequence. It either messes up DNA (without killing the cell), or it kills the cell. You only see stuff from that list--radiation sickness, etc--with a large, sudden dose, since they're caused by a lot of cells dying in one shot.

Separately, long term affects--ie, cancer / genetic risks--are cumulative over a lifetime, since there's no lower threshold for turning the cancer switch in an individual cell's DNA on, so presumably any amount of radiation, no matter how small, increases your lifetime risk of cancer. (Incidentally, this means that radiation affects cells that divide more frequently--ie, younger/growing people, reproductive organs, bone marrow, hair follicles, etc--than cells that seldom divide, like muscle tissue or nerve cells).

More info on how radiation affects people (http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/basic-ref/teachers/09.pdf).

And radiation you get from natural and/or non-nuclear stuf (http://www.deq.idaho.gov/inl_oversight/radiation/radiation_guide.cfm)f (ie, 8 rem/yr to the lungs from smoking, coal plants giving people 100x the radiation of nuclear plants of similar capacity, how much radiation you get from bananas, planes, playing WoW, etc).

Killer Angel
2011-03-18, 03:19 AM
This also indicates that the situation is pretty bad. It is at least a six on the screw-up scale.

Now, they're using water cannons to try to somehow cool the reactor.
If this isn't a desperate measure, I don't know what else is.

Keveak
2011-03-18, 03:22 AM
Now, they're using water cannons to try to somehow cool the reactor.
If this isn't a desperate measure, I don't know what else is.

Sounds like they just want to be safe from Hydrogen explosions and short-lived radioactivity to me.

Don't know much about it, though. But since they are also restarting the coolant system it doesn't look like this is too desperate.

Brother Oni
2011-03-18, 03:30 AM
This also indicates that the situation is pretty bad. It is at least a six on the screw-up scale.

The situation is serious but stable and has been since yesterday. They've connected up a powerline to the rest of the electricty grid and hope to power up the reactors' coolant systems soon.

Calling it the 'screw-up scale' is unfair on the workers - they didn't ask to be hit by the 5th largest earthquake in recorded history and while mistakes have been made during the handling, all reports currently indicate that everything was done by the book, including the lessons learnt from Chernobyl.


Now, they're using water cannons to try to somehow cool the reactor.
If this isn't a desperate measure, I don't know what else is.

They've been using firetrucks to pump in seawater since the disaster hit as their backup generators failed.

Water cannons (at least the military ones since those are completely enclosed unlike the police ones) were used as it was too dangerous for the workers to get close due to radiation spikes.

The issue is, that there's nothing in standard operating procedure to cover such a contingency at Fukushima. As I understand it, the workers have been innovating non-standard solutions since Monday or Tuesday.

Killer Angel
2011-03-18, 04:06 AM
Water cannons (at least the military ones since those are completely enclosed unlike the police ones) were used as it was too dangerous for the workers to get close due to radiation spikes.


I understand that. I'm worried 'cause, if we're at the point that they cannot work on it, how can they repair it?



The issue is, that there's nothing in standard operating procedure to cover such a contingency at Fukushima.

You have a point, here.

Frozen_Feet
2011-03-18, 04:47 AM
In my opinion, if it's anything that would be used on a normal fire, it doesn't count as "desperate". Shooting gallons and gallons of water from a distance to cool down something is nothing to bat an eyelid at.

In any case, while terrifying due to its nuclear aspect, the reactor is much less of a disaster than countless oil fires and what not that have been caused in the aftermath.

In any case, calling this a "screw-up" is a misnomer. The only real counter to a disaster of this magnitude would be to never build anything near a coast or a continental line. Following this strategy, most of the world's biggest cities would have to be abandoned.

Human error has played very little part in this catastrophe. Indeed, as has been said several times since the beginning of this thread, it's the opposite; the fact that nothing worse has happened is a testament to remarkable resourcefulness and level of preparation on part of Japanese people.

This is no reason to fear nuclear power. It's a reason to fear earthquakes, period.

Serpentine
2011-03-18, 05:34 AM
In my opinion, if it's anything that would be used on a normal fire, it doesn't count as "desperate". Shooting gallons and gallons of water from a distance to cool down something is nothing to bat an eyelid at.At what point would it be "desperate", then? :smallconfused: I mean, specifically, what else could they do, aside from shoot gallons and gallons of water from a distance to cool something down?

Innis Cabal
2011-03-18, 05:39 AM
At what point would it be "desperate", then? :smallconfused: I mean, specifically, what else could they do, aside from shoot gallons and gallons of water from a distance to cool something down?

Dumping concrete on top of it like they did at Chernobyl would rank up on "Desperate" for me. They're not of course, so I'd suspect we've not yet hit real desperation here.

Serpentine
2011-03-18, 05:41 AM
Would that be doable? Is it actually an option in this case?

Eldan
2011-03-18, 05:44 AM
It's probably more of a scale question.

I mean, garden hoses would certainly be desperate. These things can put out large fires, that's quite a bit more water, then.

And yes, Concrete can be done. Unless I'm mistaken, they used helicopters for that, too.

Innis Cabal
2011-03-18, 05:44 AM
It is doable yes, again they literally dumped concrete into the reactors in Chernobyl by hand. Is it an option? Yes it's an option, it's an option not to do anything. Something doesn't become a non-option just because it's out and out insane. Will they do it? No...because it's quite honestly out and out insane. But that's the kicker and that's why it's desperate. Using a perfectly viable solution of cooling something down by throwing tons of water at it from a long distance away isn't desperate if it's used every day to put out far less worrying problems. It's just a last ditch problem and unconventional. "Desperate" is when you know it's insane and you do it anyway because there are no other options not insane left on the table.

Eldan
2011-03-18, 05:45 AM
By hand too?

Wow. I knew they did some pretty brutal things to the workers at Chernobyl (including removing radioactive debris by hand), but that's a new one.

Serpentine
2011-03-18, 05:50 AM
Something doesn't become a non-option just because it's out and out insane.I'm not interested in "will they?", I'm interested in "could they?", in what options they have if water-dumping fails. The further down the alphabet their secondary plans go, the less desperate I'll consider the situation. If the only thing they can practically do is hose it, then yeah, I'd think that's pretty desperate. If that's just Plan B, and they have Plans C-W in reserve, not so much. That's what I want to know.

Killer Angel
2011-03-18, 05:51 AM
In my opinion, if it's anything that would be used on a normal fire, it doesn't count as "desperate". Shooting gallons and gallons of water from a distance to cool down something is nothing to bat an eyelid at.


Shooting water at a nuclear reactor to cool down the overheating, is not exactly the same as "treat a normal fire". It cannot absolutely substitute the plant's cooling system.
At best, they're only hoping to cool it down a little, and gain some time to fix the situation in some other way.


Dumping concrete on top of it like they did at Chernobyl would rank up on "Desperate" for me.

For me, that would rank on "we cannot do nothing more. It's game over".
Desperation, comes a little before that point, it's "We're losing... let's try everything, even if unlikely, before surrender, and hope in some big luck"

EDIT:

"Desperate" is when you know it's insane and you do it anyway because there are no other options not insane left on the table.

Yes, now I agree.

Innis Cabal
2011-03-18, 05:55 AM
The answer is yes they can. Unfortunately when you ask "Can they" the next question has to be "Will they" or else it really doesn't matter if they -can-. And then comes the reasons why they will or will not. Simply asking "Can they" doesn't answer anything beyond the ability to do something. And when it comes to...anything...that doesn't do you a lick of good.

It would be "Option: We've lost total control of the situation and anything resembling human sanity" but it is an option they very well can undertake. Which would put Option C or "God I sure hope we can dump enough water on these things before we manage to get the power online to take over" far less desperate then anyone is making it out to be.

paddyfool
2011-03-18, 06:00 AM
Japan have now raised the INES level of the alert for the Fukushima Daiichi reactors 2 and 3 from level 4 to level 5 (http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html), the same as Three Mile Island (Chernobyl was a 7). (The stages on the scale are described in this document (http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/INES-2009_web.pdf), with a particularly handy graphic on page 3).

So this does indeed look to be a problem with a wider impact than previously reported. Which is going to be a major worry for those living close by, on top of the wider critical issues for areas of Japan hit by this quake and tsunami of simply getting food (after destruction of ports and roads), staying warm (half a million in temporary accomodation, plus power cuts and disruption of gas supplies), and determining whether their loved ones lived or died.

BTW, if anyone's still confused about just what went wrong at the reactors, this BBC graphic (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12726591) is actually quite helpful.

Themrys
2011-03-18, 06:19 AM
I'm not sure nuclear power plants are something that can be changed though. Fossil fuel power stations create nasty pollutants that are affecting the planet as a whole and acting as a bigger ticking time bomb than nuclear power plants are. Renewable power sources generally rely on locations with some places in the world being unable to do much with them (I doubt a solar plant would generate much power in England) and even then they are very expensive for the amount of power they actually produce. Then you get to a densely populated country like Japan where they don't have a lot space to build power plants but need a lot of power. What choices do we have apart from nuclear power in these situations?

I don't know about Japan, but other countries have other options and could export electricity to Japan.

I won't dwell on why those dangers are risked unnecessarily (as I believe they are in many countries) because that would concern politics...let it suffice to say that most countries use a lot more energy than necessary and only about 20 percent or less of energy comes from nuclear plants.


Fossil fuel power stations are not a ticking time bomb as dangerous as nuclear power plants are. As much as I fear the global climate change, it doesn't really affect life in general. Sea creatures used to warm temperatures would be fine with it.
Humans not so much, obviously, which is why I prefer regenerative energy sources. But you can't really say the climate change is more dangerous.

Lord of the Helms
2011-03-18, 06:22 AM
In my opinion, if it's anything that would be used on a normal fire, it doesn't count as "desperate". Shooting gallons and gallons of water from a distance to cool down something is nothing to bat an eyelid at.

In any case, while terrifying due to its nuclear aspect, the reactor is much less of a disaster than countless oil fires and what not that have been caused in the aftermath.

In any case, calling this a "screw-up" is a misnomer. The only real counter to a disaster of this magnitude would be to never build anything near a coast or a continental line. Following this strategy, most of the world's biggest cities would have to be abandoned.

I think it can be called a screw-up, since the plant apparently withstood the earthquake quite fine - but could not deal with the power failing (among other things, the first set of emergency generators failed due to the tsumani even though they should have been prepared for just that case, and while they had additional emergency generators on hand, they lacked the right cables to connect them). Add in the fact that the reactor with the worst troubles should have been shut down for good at the beginning of this year but had his lifetime extended just last month, and it doesn't look like only mother nature is at fault here.

On the plus side, we can be happy that three of the six reactors had been shut down for maintenance for a longer period of time already when the Earthquake hit. I can only hope they can contain the fallout as well as possible, what with Japan's extremely high population density leaving so many people at risk if any higher quantities get in-land via air or water.

Killer Angel
2011-03-18, 06:45 AM
Fossil fuel power stations are not a ticking time bomb as dangerous as nuclear power plants are.

For power stations, I could agree (of course, if you're talking 'bout incidents, and not constant pollution... :smallamused:), but oil tankers and oil sea platforms, aren't exactly safe...

Serpentine
2011-03-18, 07:08 AM
The answer is yes they can. Unfortunately when you ask "Can they" the next question has to be "Will they" or else it really doesn't matter if they -can-. And then comes the reasons why they will or will not. Simply asking "Can they" doesn't answer anything beyond the ability to do something. And when it comes to...anything...that doesn't do you a lick of good.

It would be "Option: We've lost total control of the situation and anything resembling human sanity" but it is an option they very well can undertake. Which would put Option C or "God I sure hope we can dump enough water on these things before we manage to get the power online to take over" far less desperate then anyone is making it out to be.None of this answers my question. At all.
If water pumping fails, what other options are there that they can take? Don't keep quibbling over the exact meaning of "can", please. Just tell me what options they still have left. "I don't know" is acceptable, or even "I don't know, but I'm sure there's more".

AslanCross
2011-03-18, 07:24 AM
In any case, calling this a "screw-up" is a misnomer. The only real counter to a disaster of this magnitude would be to never build anything near a coast or a continental line. Following this strategy, most of the world's biggest cities would have to be abandoned.


I completely agree. Had this happened to say, Manila, where I live, the tsunami would have bulldozed hundreds of thousands of homes in slums, swamped our major fuel depot, major cultural heritage sites, and our seat of government (which is conveniently located along the city's major river). The major river is clogged with trash and industrial waste, which will only aggravate the problem. It would probably mean the wave would fill the city with trash-filled muck.

Disturbingly enough, my place of work is roughly ten kilometers from the coastline. The tsunami went inland as far as ten kilometers, and most of Manila is low-lying.

Brother Oni
2011-03-18, 07:56 AM
Things are starting to look up - they think they can power up the coolant systems for reactor 4 by Saturday.


I understand that. I'm worried 'cause, if we're at the point that they cannot work on it, how can they repair it?

We're not yet at the point where they cannot work at it. Personnel were pulled back because of radiation spikes, not general radiation levels.

Shalist has given a very comprehensive overview of what the levels of acceptable radiation are and how much they're being currently exposed to. Note that the exposure levels are inclusive of protective gear - 250 milisiverts would be unacceptable for unprotected people, but is currently acceptable in this disaster for the operators to function in.


Wow. I knew they did some pretty brutal things to the workers at Chernobyl (including removing radioactive debris by hand), but that's a new one.

Apparently the firemen removing the debris were not aware of the dangers involved, so it wasn't intentional to subject them to that level of exposure.

Thanks to their actions though, they prevented a much greater catastrophe from happening.

I have no doubt that if it came down to it, the workers at Fukushima would probably do the same - it'd be a matter of whether the government or the company would let them.


I can only hope they can contain the fallout as well as possible, what with Japan's extremely high population density leaving so many people at risk if any higher quantities get in-land via air or water.

According to most of the information I've read, most of the fall out will be extremely localised. Only in the absolute worst case (the rods break and start burning plus the reactor housing breaks wide open and start spewing radioactive dust into the air) could it possibly be more widespread, but it looks like they have a contingency plan for that too (dumping the concrete).


None of this answers my question. At all.
If water pumping fails, what other options are there that they can take? Don't keep quibbling over the exact meaning of "can", please. Just tell me what options they still have left. "I don't know" is acceptable, or even "I don't know, but I'm sure there's more".

There are a couple other options I believe - dumping boronic acid into the storage pools will slow down the nuclear reactions. As for the reactors, dowsing them in concrete or getting the coolant systems working.

I believe they're sending up additional firetrucks to help with their current plan of pumping seawater, plus the water cannons are still on hand.

The situation is serious, but currently stable. The longer it stays stable, the better things get as more help and aid get into the country.

Killer Angel
2011-03-18, 08:35 AM
We're not yet at the point where they cannot work at it. Personnel were pulled back because of radiation spikes, not general radiation levels.

mmm... yes, that's true, I suppose they're still not screwed.
Let's cross some fingers.

Haruki-kun
2011-03-18, 10:23 AM
None of this answers my question. At all.
If water pumping fails, what other options are there that they can take? Don't keep quibbling over the exact meaning of "can", please. Just tell me what options they still have left. "I don't know" is acceptable, or even "I don't know, but I'm sure there's more".

In the worst case scenario, the Fukushima prefecture has to be fully evacuated and everyone living there has to move away. This is the single worst case scenario.

EDIT: That's all I have, really. =/

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-18, 03:27 PM
So, now they're going to try and bury the Power Plant. What?

AslanCross
2011-03-18, 07:27 PM
So, now they're going to try and bury the Power Plant. What?

Have you got a source on that? I haven't seen it yet.

Shalist
2011-03-18, 07:57 PM
They're using hoses to refill/cool the spent fuel pools, not the reactors (which are tucked away inside the primary containment).


Spent fuel factsheet (http://resources.nei.org/documents/japan/Used_Fuel_Pools_Key_Facts.pdf)

Update as of 10:00 A.M. EDT, Friday, March 18 (http://mitnse.com/2011/03/18/news-update-318/):

News Brief, 3/18/11, 10 AM EDT

...Spraying of spent fuel pools at Units 3 and 4 is still underway. Visual inspection of Unit 4’s pool showed water in the pool, and so efforts have been temporarily focused upon Unit 3. While efforts at using helicopters to dump water onto the pools had been largely unsuccessful , army firetrucks used in putting out aircraft fires have been employed with some success. The elite Tokyo Hyper Rescue component of the Tokyo fire department has arrived on scene and is conducting missions of roughly two hours in length, during which they spray the pools for 7-8 minutes, wait for steam to dissipate, and spray again...

More updates (http://nei.cachefly.net/newsandevents/information-on-the-japanese-earthquake-and-reactors-in-that-region/).

...Reactors 1, 2 and 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are in stable condition, with workers continuing to provide seawater cooling into the reactors. Containment integrity is believed to be intact on reactors 1, 2 and 3, and containment building pressures are elevated but are within design limits...

@ Serp:

BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12783832):


...The Fukushima plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said it was not ruling out the option of entombing the plant in concrete to prevent a radiation leak; a similar method was used at Chernobyl.

While the worse seems to have passed, here's the worst case scenario (The anatomy of a meltdown) (http://mitnse.com/2011/03/17/on-worst-case-scenarios/):

Meltdown

The term meltdown describes melting of the zirconium alloy cladding, and uranium oxide (or mixed oxide, in the case of Unit 3) fuel pellets. These two structures are the first two barriers to fission release, since radioactive fission products normally exist as either solids within the fuel pellet, gases within pores in the fuel pellet, or gases that escape the pellet but remain in the cladding. When a reactor is shut down, these fission products continue to decay, generating heat. This amount of heat is produced at first at 7% of its initial rate, and then decreases as the isotopes responsible for generating it decay away. If this decay heat is not removed by cooling water, the fuel and cladding increase in temperature...


Quick note on one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, Three Mile Island (http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf36.html)...though there was a small release of radioactivity, 75,000 people were evacuated, and the entire nation was terrified (largely by poor communication and misinformation), ultimately no one was killed, the exposure to people nearby was on par with being a smoker for a month or being a frequent flyer, and the whole incident 'only' cost around $973 million to clean up. Even now, Three Mile Island continues to produce electricity, and will up through 2034 or so.

edit:

Protective gear:

Radiation comes from radioactive stuff, and protective gear just keeps people from getting radioactive stuff on their skin / in their bodies (ie, inhaled), which would increase their radiation exposure as it decayed inside them. It doesn't actually help against energy that's already being emitted, ie from from uncovered fuel rods. For that, you need heavy shielding--every 2" of lead, or 10" of water, will reduce the radiation levels by 10x (4" of lead => 100x, etc). Or distance--double the distance from the source results in the radiation level decreasing by 4x.

Regarding boron:



In other systems, such as a spent fuel pool, mechanisms are in place to prevent criticality. If such a system still achieves criticality, it is called “re-criticality”. Boron and other materials, which absorb neutrons, are in place to make sure that this re-criticality does not occur. The added neutron absorbers substantially increase the rate of loss of neutrons, to ensure a subcritical system.

That is, the 'at power' nuclear chain reaction is fueled by neutrons, and in unusual circumstances (ie, control rods melted, or fuel rods melting and puddling in the bottom of their containment, etc), the boron would ensure a sufficient 'shutdown margin' to ensure that reaction still didn't occur.

Decay heat comes from various longer-lived radionuclides that are created by the chain reaction (fission products, stuff that's irradiated by the neutrons, etc), which continually produce heat/radiation as they decay away. After a few years, they've cooled off enough that they don't need the water anymore.

edit 2: Meant to edit that, not double-post it.

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-18, 08:06 PM
Have you got a source on that? I haven't seen it yet.

Source (http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC110319-0000415/Nuclear-plant-may-have-to-be-buried). I think I saw it somewhere more reliable somewhere earlier...

KnightDisciple
2011-03-18, 08:31 PM
Source (http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC110319-0000415/Nuclear-plant-may-have-to-be-buried). I think I saw it somewhere more reliable somewhere earlier...Let's step back and take a look at the first couple of sentences on that article.


Japanese engineers conceded on Friday that they may have to bury the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in sand and concrete as a last resort, as officials raised the severity rating of the nuclear crisis.

Please note the parts bolded and underlined. Them reaching the point of burying the reactors like that is by no means a certainty.

As well, Shalist's links show us that comparing something to Three Mile Island should not cause mass panic.

AslanCross
2011-03-18, 08:34 PM
Source (http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC110319-0000415/Nuclear-plant-may-have-to-be-buried). I think I saw it somewhere more reliable somewhere earlier...

Well, that is their last resort. I think that was always an option.

factotum
2011-03-19, 02:27 AM
Japan have now raised the INES level of the alert for the Fukushima Daiichi reactors 2 and 3 from level 4 to level 5 (http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html), the same as Three Mile Island (Chernobyl was a 7).

I love the way how the news reports are carefully ignoring that the disaster was actually rated a level 6 a few days ago, so a 5 is still an improvement, even if it's increased again!

THAC0
2011-03-19, 02:34 AM
[QUOTE=paddyfool;10579504 the same as Three Mile Island[/QUOTE]

Which is absolutely no reason to panic, given that no real long-term health risks were associated with TMI.

Will it cost $$$ to clean up? Sure.

Are we all going to die? Probably not.

paddyfool
2011-03-19, 02:43 AM
I love the way how the news reports are carefully ignoring that the disaster was actually rated a level 6 a few days ago, so a 5 is still an improvement, even if it's increased again!

Some outside commentators, such as the French nuclear agency, have and continue to rate it as a 6. I was just passing on what the Japanese authorities are rating it as, although I'd have to admit there's a real risk they'd play it down.

Irbis
2011-03-19, 11:13 AM
First, let me link short anime (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1aH2-MhEko) explaining the situation.


Hearing that the news media are pulling back from Tokyo spooked me a bit. After all, these are the same people who run into war zones and the like, and Tokyo is still 250 km away from the Fukushima site.

They're morons. Simply. Tokyo is 250 km away and the winds are blowing west, not south. All they risk is equivalent of eating 1/8 of a banana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose), to put it in more common terms. It's that dangerous.


Calling it the 'screw-up scale' is unfair on the workers - they didn't ask to be hit by the 5th largest earthquake in recorded history and while mistakes have been made during the handling, all reports currently indicate that everything was done by the book, including the lessons learnt from Chernobyl.

No. The fact is, they learned nothing. After Three Mile Island, USA updated their cooling systems. Europe did, too. Soviets? Sure. Chernobyl had updated cooling systems, that's why they were able to seal it off with a manual valve.

Now, take a guess which country haven't learned any lessons from both Chernobyl and TMI. Hint - the name starts with 'J'. It literally boggles the mind - a simple manual valve instead of all-electronic system and moving backup diesel generators from the first place that would be hit by tsunami to the roof would have averted most of the trouble. The vulnerabilities were so obvious they were discussed in diplomatic cables released recently - still, nothing was done.

Yet, even with such incompetence, the disaster was minimal. It only proves further that services where safety should be put first before profits shouldn't be handled by private companies, especially incompetent ones. Killer Angel has a point in this.


The issue is, that there's nothing in standard operating procedure to cover such a contingency at Fukushima. As I understand it, the workers have been innovating non-standard solutions since Monday or Tuesday.

Innovating? Yes. Because private company that runs the plant is so incompetent. They had outdated reaction schemes and only rarely held drills. Profits first. Also, during first two days, they actively tried to save the plants, before trying to dump them with salt water. I'm not going to comment on the rest of the mistakes they did before they are better documented, but the fact is, during the first 4 days the only ones battling the crisis were Tokyo Power's employees. Had the military been drawn in from the start, almost none of this would have happened.

Part of this stems from Japanese culture - fear of losing face is so strong that workers insist they can handle it, then company insists they can handle it, then Japanese government insists it was a '4' incident when it had been 5-6 all along, all while the situation is steadily becoming worse from inactivity. That's why company operating these plants used to outright falsify records (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_Electric_Power_Company#Scandal) on them.

The fact is that situation isn't that bad, though, for all their incompetence, and 55 year old reactors. This only showcases how safe reactors are.

Compared to this, Soviet operations in Chernobyl were a literal paragon of speed and efficiency, even these unprotected firefighters were sent in because enough suits haven't arrived yet and containing the situation was deemed more important. And it was contained, so effectively that other three reactors next to the destroyed one operated safely for years, there was no two-day delay, no attempts to save the plant, no stupidity, no chain-overload of all 4 plants due to oversights. These things we can laugh on today? They were all attempted to save as much civilians and improve situation as quickly as they could, they hadn't had luxury of sitting on a couch with enough free time to think of better solutions.


I don't know about Japan, but other countries have other options and could export electricity to Japan.

How? Teleport it? :smallconfused:

Russia is the only country that has electrical connection, IIRC, and even theirs is so old/weak it can't supply anywhere near the energy needed.


Fossil fuel power stations are not a ticking time bomb as dangerous as nuclear power plants are.

Really. Australia alone generates 20 times (and that is very optimistic assessment) radioactive waste per year into atmosphere from coal burning than Chernobyl did.

Scientific American: Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste). And, there are tens of thousands of tons of it, not kilograms. Safe?


As much as I fear the global climate change, it doesn't really affect life in general. Sea creatures used to warm temperatures would be fine with it.

Except for 90% that are not used to it, and threatened with extinction.


Humans not so much, obviously, which is why I prefer regenerative energy sources. But you can't really say the climate change is more dangerous.

Regenerative energy sources: cause only 100 to 12.000 more deaths (http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html) than atomic power per energy unit produced. And that is when you include Chernobyl and fallout from all atomic bombs. Before someone protests, it's because they generate as much electricity as rubbing the cat with silk scarf.

Climate change not dangerous? All that extra energy in atmosphere isn't going to disappear. Raising the temperature by 2 degrees might mean 5-15 Katrina-level tornadoes hitting the shores, from Venezuela to Miami. That would be only a dozen to twenty thousand killed, considering most countries there don't have as good rescue services as USA, and a few hundred billion in $ in damages. Nothing dangerous?

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-19, 11:30 AM
Now, take a guess which country haven't learned any lessons from both Chernobyl and TMI. Hint - the name starts with 'J'. It literally boggles the mind - a simple manual valve instead of all-electronic system and moving backup diesel generators from the first place that would be hit by tsunami to the roof would have averted most of the trouble. The vulnerabilities were so obvious they were discussed in diplomatic cables released recently - still, nothing was done.


GE designed the plant, blame them.

Traab
2011-03-19, 11:33 AM
Personally, the emergency at the power plants makes me feel more secure about nuclear power rather than less. I mean the way I look at it, it took an obscenely massive earthquake AND tsunamis, just to do enough damage that the potential for meltdown is there. Two of the worst natural disasters combined, on a plant that apparently wasnt even the best prepared and it STILL didnt cause a chernobyl level event. Thats.... pretty damn impressive. I mean, how many other countries with nuclear plants are located in areas where events like this could happen? By which I mean a double whammy of epic level natural disasters.

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-19, 11:35 AM
America. We have a few out in Cali., and they could have the same thing happen.

Brother Oni
2011-03-19, 11:37 AM
That's not to mention the 300+ earthquakes above 5.0 they've had since the big one (I think the biggest was 6. something in the past couple days).

Even if all the faults Irbis highlights are true, Japanese buildings can withstand earthquakes.



Yet, even with such incompetence, the disaster was minimal. It only proves further that services where safety should be put first before profits shouldn't be handled by private companies, especially incompetent ones. Killer Angel has a point in this.

It's still unfair on the workers who stayed though. Remonstrate the company all you like, but it's unfair to detract from they've done.

I'll also highlight that I said 'all reports currently indicate that everything was done by the book'. Since you've obviously have had updated information, my comment will be revised.

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-19, 11:39 AM
That's not to mention the 300+ earthquakes above 5.0 they've had since the big one (I think the biggest was 6. something in the past couple days).

Seperate Earthquakes, or after-shocks?

Brother Oni
2011-03-19, 11:46 AM
Seperate Earthquakes, or after-shocks?

I'm not entirely sure - my Japanese isn't that good.

If aftershocks is the more accurate technical term, then go with that.

Edit: My wife says it's daily aftershocks.

Irbis
2011-03-19, 12:30 PM
GE designed the plant, blame them.

And? It was Japan who choose to buy the worst design from GE (also private company - btw, the design, save for having a civilian-regulations extra sarcophagus, was in fact much worse than 15-20 year older Soviet reactors). It was Japan that decided to hand their own nuclear power plants to incompetent company. And, finally, it was Japan who choose to not implement lessons learned from TMI and Chernobyl into the plants.

Heck, they didn't even needed to implement them, all they needed to do was to buy European or Soviet reactor, most of them had these safeguards from the start.

And yet, 55 year old reactor, completely obsolete from the point the construction started, hit by two worst recorded disasters held. Yet, it is somehow used to point nuclear power is unsafe. Never mind it would have been long replaced by new, modern reactor if not for all the anti-nuclear protests that force countries to keep old junk working instead of replacing it with new, safer reactors - talk about blind loop :smallsigh:


It's still unfair on the workers who stayed though. Remonstrate the company all you like, but it's unfair to detract from they've done.

The workers? Yes, they behaved very professionally. They committed a few screw ups, but as far as I can say, these were all fault of the management. Still, the fact that 50 workers had to deal with the crisis all on their own when it would be averted with a help of a few hundred firefighting/military personnel, and a current crisis plan, says something was very wrong.

By the way, I completely agree with respect to people who risk their own lives to save others, which is why I was... rather not pleased by all the comments about Chernobyl disaster, especially one extremely offensive about their level of training :smallannoyed:

It was the same in that case - heroism of the workers, screw-ups by the management, but at least in that case they were dealing with something for the first time, yet the answer was orders of magnitude more competent and faster than current response that had at least two warnings to learn from.

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-19, 12:34 PM
And? It was Japan who choose to buy the worst design from GE (also private company - btw, the design, save for having a civilian-regulations extra sarcophagus, was in fact much worse than 15-20 year older Soviet reactors). It was Japan that decided to hand their own nuclear power plants to incompetent company. And, finally, it was Japan who choose to not implement lessons learned from TMI and Chernobyl into the plants.

The plant was built in 1971, 6 years before Chrenobyl. So, yeah. NO. I agree with bolded bit. I guess.

Miklus
2011-03-19, 07:34 PM
Ok, it seems that the situation is under control now. Note that the reactors where scambled, the control rods are inserted. They don't need to cool the reactors forever, only until the decay heat wears off. It's been over a week, so I guess the rods are cold now.

Now I hope we will get to see how much radiation escaped. The newspaper reports that milk and spinach in the area have been found to have too much radiation in it. I wonder how long they will have to throw food away. Probably for years. There are still sometimes problems with food after Chernobyl, even as far away as Norway. Some norwegian sheep ate too many mushrooms and got too much radioactivity that way. They had to pospone their slaugther.

I wonder if the farmers and homeowners will sue the company for loss of property vaule?



So what have we learned here? We have learned that if a nuclear reactor loses coolant circulation for whatever reason, even up to one hour after it was scambled, it will suffer a partial meltdown and radioactive steam will have to be vented. This may or may not cause a hydrogen explosion and further complications. The radioactive steam will prevent anyone from coming close to fix the reactor and no one knows what the hell is going on.

Likewise for the spent fuel rod pool. It will heat up, boil off and the rods will catch fire. Radioactive smoke is released directly to the atmosphere.

I am...unimpressed.

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-19, 07:42 PM
Source?

And you should be un-impressed, man-made disasters should do that.

EDIT: Hiroshima wasn't suppose to grow grass for years, it did in 1946.

unosarta
2011-03-19, 10:40 PM
The plant was built in 1971, 6 years before Chrenobyl. So, yeah. NO. I agree with bolded bit. I guess.

It was built 6 years before Chernobyl itself was built, but it was actually built 15 years before the accident itself happened.

About the actual earthquakes and such: my Japanese tutor's parents live in Sendai, and she only recently got word that they were okay, since their cell phones weren't working, and they had no power. Her sister lives in Tokyo, and she couldn't get in contact with them for a week.

We are still hoping nothing else bad happens to them. :smallfrown::smalleek:

factotum
2011-03-20, 02:11 AM
The newspaper reports that milk and spinach in the area have been found to have too much radiation in it. I wonder how long they will have to throw food away. Probably for years. There are still sometimes problems with food after Chernobyl, even as far away as Norway. Some norwegian sheep ate too many mushrooms and got too much radioactivity that way. They had to pospone their slaugther.


This plant is not Chernobyl. Chernobyl blew up while running at full power, and the problem was then compounded because the graphite core started to burn, distributing radioactive material over a wide area in the combusion products; this plant shut down properly when the emergency happened, there's no graphite in the core to catch fire, and AFAIK none of the cores has suffered a major containment failure.

The nasty stuff in the radioactive steam has half-lives measured in minutes, so isn't going to stay in the environment long. If there is elevated levels of radioactive material in local foodstuffs, then (a) how far from the plant is that and (b) what sort of half-life does it have? We have no idea what sort of long-term problems there'll be without knowing the answers to those questions.

THAC0
2011-03-20, 02:24 AM
The newspaper reports that milk and spinach in the area have been found to have too much radiation in it.

I'm no expert, but the news reports I read indicated that one would have to eat something like 1 kilogram of spinach every day for a year to have a detrimental health effect.

Brother Oni
2011-03-20, 04:14 AM
By the way, I completely agree with respect to people who risk their own lives to save others, which is why I was... rather not pleased by all the comments about Chernobyl disaster, especially one extremely offensive about their level of training :smallannoyed:

If I ever made such a comment, it was unintentional and I apologise.

I was listening to a report about the Chernobyl accident and the expert there made comment to the firefighters removing radioactive bricks by hand from the core in an effort to prevent fire, as per standard firefighting procedure.

The western expert then made a suggestion that part of the reason they did this was due to the education and knowledge of the time (eastern bloc country, 1986) not properly informing them of the dangers involved in moving such material. He did however note that because of their selfless actions, a much bigger disaster was averted.


I'm no expert, but the news reports I read indicated that one would have to eat something like 1 kilogram of spinach every day for a year to have a detrimental health effect.

Bear in mind that 'safe food limits' are set on the high side of paranoid due to concerns about public safety.

In the UK, the old test was that a foodstuff or additive is determined to be unsafe if consuming 100 times the normal daily amount in a single dose leads to side effects.

This leads to some quite odd things being classified as unsafe, such as water (drinking that much water in a single dose would cause water intoxication, even if you could physically hold it).

Miklus
2011-03-20, 06:15 AM
Source?

Fair enough, but it is in danish:

http://politiken.dk/udland/ECE1229025/japan-konstaterer-radioaktivitet-i-foedevarer/

It says that the milk came from within the 30Km zone and the spinach was picked 80-100Km away.

It then quotes one "Yukio Edane" spokesman for saying that eating these items pose "no immidiate health risk". But then he says that drinking the milk for one year gives the same dose as a CT-scan. Now where is that table someone posted?

EDIT: The table Shalist had lists background radiation as 3.6mSv per year and a CT-scan at 14mSv. It also list this dose as harmless.

But what if both the milk, spinach and any other vegetable is radioactive? It could add up. The article does not says what kind of radioactive particles where found.

Brother Oni
2011-03-20, 07:45 AM
But what if both the milk, spinach and any other vegetable is radioactive? It could add up. The article does not says what kind of radioactive particles where found.

Bear in mind the Japanese diet. While spinach and other green veg are eaten on a regular basis (which is the main worry), milk isn't drunk on anywhere near the same scale as it is in the west.

For starters, a lot of Japanese are dairy intolerant to some degree, reducing the popularity greatly. Secondly, milk sold there is 'altered to the Japanese palate' with the addition of sugar and other sweeteners.

I say 'altered' because my wife's family all think it tastes vile and I agree.

So if you ate a kilogram of affected vegetation from nowhere else except the three affected provinces for a year, you'll have the same dose as a single CT scan. I think that either emphasises how high the safety limits are or how paranoid people are about radiation.

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-20, 08:11 AM
I has milk in Japan, and I didn't notice it being sweeter...


*snip*

Oh... I meant a source for


Ok, it seems that the situation is under control now. Note that the reactors where scambled, the control rods are inserted. They don't need to cool the reactors forever, only until the decay heat wears off. It's been over a week, so I guess the rods are cold now.


American news ha switched interest to... other things.

Bor the Barbarian Monk
2011-03-20, 09:51 AM
A friend linked this article (http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Fukushima-Nuclear-Plant-Workers-Are-Heroes-After-Risking-Own-Lives-To-Avert-Meltdown-In-Japan/Article/201103315954904?lpos=World_News_First_Home_Article _Teaser_Region_1&lid=ARTICLE_15954904_Fukushima_Nuclear_Plant_Worke rs_Are_Heroes_After_Risking_Own_Lives_To_Avert_Mel tdown_In_Japan_) to my FB page. Upon reading it, my heart broke. These people are so incredibly brave, and I pray for them and their families.

Asta Kask
2011-03-20, 10:31 AM
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (http://www.theskepticsguide.org/) has an interview with a nuclear engineer this week.

Shalist
2011-03-20, 07:09 PM
A friend linked this article (http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Fukushima-Nuclear-Plant-Workers-Are-Heroes-After-Risking-Own-Lives-To-Avert-Meltdown-In-Japan/Article/201103315954904?lpos=World_News_First_Home_Article _Teaser_Region_1&lid=ARTICLE_15954904_Fukushima_Nuclear_Plant_Worke rs_Are_Heroes_After_Risking_Own_Lives_To_Avert_Mel tdown_In_Japan_) to my FB page. Upon reading it, my heart broke. These people are so incredibly brave, and I pray for them and their families.

The workers are alight (and that article is complete crap). Their exposure is capped at 25 rem, which is the minimum threshold for any acute symptoms (that they would recover from in a matter of days). 12 times that much would increase the average person's risk of cancer from 42% to 42.03% at some point in their life. See my post a couple pages back for other links, etc.

http://www.boingboing.net/dose%20table.png

And enough nuclear already. There was a chance it could have gone further south, but every day the situation is more stable, and the only mid-long term impact (outside the industry) will be an expensive cleanup at the plant.

Earthquake update
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12798579)


...Police in Japan say 15,000 people may have been killed in a single prefecture, Miyagi, by the huge quake and tsunami which struck nine days ago...

...The authorities have begun building temporary homes for some of the hundreds of thousands of people - including an estimated 100,000 children - still sheltering at emergency evacuation centres.

Many survivors have been enduring freezing temperatures without water, electricity, fuel or enough food...

Asta Kask
2011-03-21, 01:05 PM
XKCD has a more exhaustive chart. (http://xkcd.com/radiation/)