Saturday, March 12, 2011
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:(ETHNIC GROUP AGAINST ETHNIC GROUP) and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
WELL NOW WE MIGHT HAVE ANOTHER CHERNOBOL ON OUR HANDS.ITS 10:20AM MAR 12,11 AND I JUST WOKE UP AND HEARD THERE WAS A EXPLOSION AT ONE OF THE REACTOR SITES BUT THE LEAK ITSELF IS CONTAINED SO FAR.THEY ARE STILL EVACUATING A 12-13 MILE RADIOUS OF THE PLANT THOUGH.SO THERE IS OVIOUSLY A MIST LEAK SINCE THEY CHANGED THE EVACUATION AREA FROM 6 MILES TO NOW 12 OR 13 MILE RADIOUS.
AND NOW I JUST HEARD THAT SOME EUROPEAN OFFICIALS ARE BLAMING THIS JAPAN QUAKE ON GLOBAL WARMING.THE USUAL SCAM SO WE ARE FORCED TO HAVE SCAM WIND MILLS AND PAY TRILLIONS TO THE ELITE NWO CONTROL FREAKS IN CARBON TAXES TO PAY FOR THE ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT THEY WANT OVER US TO CONTROL OUR EVERY MOVES.THIS CARBON TAX SCAM FOR GIGANTIC TAXES WILL THE GOVERNMENTS NEVER STOP IT.
ITS 2:08PM AND THE JAPAN QUAKE HAS SPAWNED OVER 200 AFTERSHOCKS.AND REPORTS ALSO SAY THAT THERE IS A RED ALERT ON A POSSIBLE 2ND AND 3RD REACTORS THAT MIGHT BE STARTING TO LEAK.AND THE GOVERNMENT IS GIVING OUT POTTASIUM IODINE TO PEOPLE NEAR THE SITE.THIS IS REALLY STARTING TO GET SERIOUS NOW.1,300 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED DEAD IN THE QUAKE-TSUNAMI SO FAR.SCIENTIST SAY THE QUAKE WAS SO POWERFULL IT MADE THE MAIN ISLAND OF JAPAN SHIFT 8 FEET.EARTHS AXIS SHIFTED 10 INCHES.AND NOW THIS CHANGES THE SPEED THAT THE EARTHS PLANET ROTATES.IT AFFECTS THE LENGTH OF OUR DAYS AND THE CHANGES OF SEASONS.BUT THIS IS A SLIGHT CHANGE,ITS IMPOSSIBLE TO NOTICE IN OUR EVERY DAY LIVES.WELL THIS JUST CONFIRMS BIBLE PROPHECY THAT THE POWER OF THE HEAVENS WILL BE SHAKIN.MY COMMENTS YESTERDAY WERE RIGHT ON.
DO ALL THESE COUNTRIES LOOK FAMILIAR FROM YESTERDAYS TSUNAMI-YES THE EXACT ONES.
ANGEL OF THE LORD TO DR DOCTORIAN
The first angel said: I have a message for all of Asia. When he said that, in a split few seconds, I could see all of China, India, the Asian countries like Vietnam, Laos - I've never been to those countries. I saw the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. And then the angel showed me all of Papua New Guinea, Irian Jaya and down to Australia and New Zealand.I am the angel of Asia, he said. And in his hand I saw a tremendous trumpet that he is going to blow all over Asia. Whatever the angel said, it's going to happen with the trumpet of the Lord all over Asia. Millions are going to hear the mighty voice of the Lord. Then the angel said, There shall be disaster, starvation - many will die from hunger. Strong winds will be looked like has never happened before. A great part shall be shaken and destroyed.Earthquakes will take place all over Asia and the sea will cover the earth.
NUCLEAR WEAPONS WILL BE USED.
3 A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.
2 TIMOTHY 3:1
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous (DANGEROUS) times shall come.
3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)
3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.(enviromentalists won't like this result)
4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
6 For they(False World Church and Dictator) have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
Boron is used in pyrotechnics and flares to produce a green color. Boron has also been used in some rockets as an ignition source. Boron-10, one of the naturally occurring isotopes of boron, is a good absorber of neutrons and is used in the control of rods of nuclear reactors, as a radiation shield and as a neutron detector. Boron filaments are used in the aerospace industry because of their high-strength and lightweight.jjnorman, Answers Expert.
7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse:(CHLORES GREEN-SICKLY) and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword,(WEAPONS) and with hunger,(FAMINE) and with death,(INCURABLE DISEASES) and with the beasts of the earth.(ANIMAL TO HUMAN DISEASE).
Small amounts of cesium-134 and caesium-137 were released into the environment during nearly all nuclear weapon tests and some nuclear accidents, most notably the Chernobyl disaster. As of 2005, caesium-137 is the principal source of radiation in the zone of alienation around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Together with cesium-134, iodine-131, and strontium-90, caesium-137 was among the isotopes with greatest health impact distributed by the reactor explosion.
The mean contamination of caesium-137 in Germany following the Chernobyl disaster was 2000 to 4000 Bq/m2. This corresponds to a contamination of 1 mg/km2 of caesium-137, totaling about 500 grams deposited over all of Germany.
Due to caesium-137 mostly being a product of artificial nuclear fission, it did not occur in nature to any significant degree before nuclear weapons testing began. By observing the characteristic gamma rays emitted by this isotope, it is possible to determine whether the contents of a given sealed container were made before or after the advent of atomic bomb explosions. This procedure has been used by researchers to check the authenticity of certain rare wines, most notably the purported Jefferson bottles.
NUCLEAR STATE OF EMERGENCY IN JAPAN-VIDEO
For battered Japan, a new threat: nuclear meltdown
By ERIC TALMADGE and YURI KAGEYAMA, Associated Press 6:25PM
Eric Talmadge And Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press – 19 mins ago
IWAKI, Japan – Cooling systems failed at another nuclear reactor on Japan's devastated coast Sunday, hours after an explosion at a nearby unit made leaking radiation, or even outright meltdown, the central threat to the country following a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.The Japanese government said radiation emanating from the plant appeared to have decreased after Saturday's blast, which produced a cloud of white smoke that obscured the complex. But the danger was grave enough that officials pumped seawater into the reactor to avoid disaster and moved 170,000 people from the area.Japan's nuclear safety agency then reported an emergency at another reactor unit, the third in the complex to have its cooling systems malfunction.Japan dealt with the nuclear threat as it struggled to determine the scope of the earthquake, the most powerful in its recorded history, and the tsunami that ravaged its northeast Friday with breathtaking speed and power. The official count of the dead was 686, but the government said the figure could far exceed 1,000.
Teams searched for the missing along hundreds of miles (kilometers) of the Japanese coast, and thousands of hungry survivors huddled in darkened emergency centers that were cut off from rescuers and aid. At least a million households had gone without water since the quake struck. Large areas of the countryside were surrounded by water and unreachable.The explosion at the nuclear plant, Fukushima Dai-ichi, 170 miles (274 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo, appeared to be a consequence of steps taken to prevent a meltdown after the quake and tsunami knocked out power to the plant, crippling the system used to cool fuel rods there.The blast destroyed the building housing the reactor, but not the reactor itself, which is enveloped by stainless steel 6 inches (15 centimeters) thick.Inside that superheated steel vessel, water being poured over the fuel rods to cool them formed hydrogen. When officials released some of the hydrogen gas to relieve pressure inside the reactor, the hydrogen apparently reacted with oxygen, either in the air or the cooling water, and caused the explosion.They are working furiously to find a solution to cool the core, said Mark Hibbs, a senior associate at the Nuclear Policy Program for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Nuclear agency officials said Japan was injecting seawater into the core — an indication, Hibbs said, of how serious the problem is and how the Japanese had to resort to unusual and improvised solutions to cool the reactor core.Officials declined to say what the temperature was inside the troubled reactor, Unit 1. At 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit (1,200 degrees Celsius), the zirconium casings of the fuel rods can react with the cooling water and create hydrogen. At 4,000 F (2,200 C), the uranium fuel pellets inside the rods start to melt, the beginning of a meltdown.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said radiation around the plant had fallen, not risen, after the blast but did not offer an explanation. Virtually any increase in dispersed radiation can raise the risk of cancer, and authorities were planning to distribute iodine, which helps protect against thyroid cancer. Authorities ordered 210,000 people out of the area within 12 miles (20 kilometers) of the reactor.It was the first time Japan had confronted the threat of a significant spread of radiation since the greatest nightmare in its history, a catastrophe exponentially worse: the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States, which resulted in more than 200,000 deaths from the explosions, fallout and radiation sickness.
Officials have said that radiation levels at Fukushima were elevated before the blast: At one point, the plant was releasing each hour the amount of radiation a person normally absorbs from the environment each year.The Japanese utility that runs the plant said four workers suffered fractures and bruises and were being treated at a hospital. Nine residents of a town near the plant who later evacuated the area tested positive for radiation exposure, though officials said they showed no health problems.As Japan entered its second night since the magnitude-8.9 quake, there were grim signs that the death toll could soar. One report said no one could find four whole trains. Others said 9,500 people in one coastal town were unaccounted for and that at least 200 bodies had washed ashore elsewhere.The government said 642 people were missing and 1,426 injured.Atsushi Ito, an official in Miyagi prefecture, among the worst-hit states, could not confirm the figures, noting that with so little access to the area, thousands of people in scores of towns could not yet be reached. Our estimates based on reported cases alone suggest that more than 1,000 people have lost their lives in the disaster, Edano said. Unfortunately, the actual damage could far exceed that number considering the difficulty assessing the full extent of damage.Japan, among the most technologically advanced countries in the world, is well-prepared for earthquakes. Its buildings are made to withstand strong jolts — even Friday's, the strongest in Japan since official records began in the late 1800s. The tsunami that followed was beyond human control.With waves 23 feet (7 meters) high and the speed of a jumbo jet, it raced inland as far as six miles (10 kilometers), swallowing homes, cars, trees, people and anything else in its path.The tsunami was unbelievably fast, said Koichi Takairin, a 34-year-old truck driver who was inside his sturdy, four-ton rig when the wave hit the port town of Sendai. Smaller cars were being swept around me. All I could do was sit in my truck.
His rig ruined, he joined the steady flow of survivors who walked along the road away from the sea and back into the city Saturday.Smashed cars and small airplanes were jumbled against buildings near the local airport, several miles (kilometers) from the shore. Felled trees and wooden debris lay everywhere as rescue workers in boats nosed through murky waters and around flooded structures.The tsunami set off warnings across the Pacific Ocean, and waves sent boats crashing into one another and demolished docks on the U.S. West Coast. In Crescent City, California, near the Oregon state line, one person was swept out to sea and had not been found Saturday.
In Japan early Sunday, firefighters had yet to contain a large blaze at the Cosmo Oil refinery in the city of Ichihara. Four million households remained without power. The Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that Japan had asked for additional energy supplies from Russia.Prime Minister Naoto Kan said 50,000 troops had joined the rescue and recovery efforts, helped by boats and helicopters. Dozens of countries offered to pitch in. President Barack Obama said one American aircraft carrier was already off Japan and a second on its way.Aid had just begun to trickle into many areas. More than 215,000 people were living in 1,350 temporary shelters in five prefectures, the Japanese national police agency said.All we have to eat are biscuits and rice balls, said Noboru Uehara, 24, a delivery truck driver who was wrapped in a blanket against the cold at a shelter in Iwake. I'm worried that we will run out of food.The transport ministry said all highways from Tokyo leading to quake-stricken areas were closed, except for emergency vehicles. Mobile communications were spotty and calls to the devastated areas were going unanswered.
One hospital in Miyagi prefecture was seen surrounded by water, and the staff had painted SOS, in English, on its rooftop and were waving white flags.Around the nuclear plant, where 51,000 people had previously been urged to leave, others struggled to get away.Everyone wants to get out of the town. But the roads are terrible, said Reiko Takagi, a middle-aged woman, standing outside a taxi company. It is too dangerous to go anywhere. But we are afraid that winds may change and bring radiation toward us.Although the government played down fears of radiation leak, Japanese nuclear agency spokesman Shinji Kinjo acknowledged there were still fears of a meltdown — the collapse of a power plant's systems, rendering it unable regulate temperatures and keep the reactor fuel cool.Yaroslov Shtrombakh, a Russian nuclear expert, said it was unlikely that the Japanese plant would suffer a meltdown like the one in 1986 at Chernobyl, when a reactor exploded and sent a cloud of radiation over much of Europe. That reactor, unlike the reactor at Fukushima, was not housed in a sealed container.Kageyama reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writers Malcolm J. Foster, Mari Yamaguchi, Tomoko A. Hosaka and Shino Yuasa in Tokyo, Jay Alabaster in Sendai, Sylvia Hui in London, David Nowak in Moscow, and Margie Mason in Hanoi also contributed.
HERES WHAT TO EXPECT IF ITS ANOTHER CHERNOBOL
Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Revisited Part one of a series
By Roberta C. Barbalace
A Human Face
In May 1996 a colleague sent me an article from Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN) about the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident. I set it aside, thoroughly intending to write about it at a later time. I might have totally forgotten about it had I not unexpectedly encountered a young man from Belarus who provided a real face and a real personality that I needed to identify with the catastrophe. Blasa was a round faced lad probably about eleven years old visiting from Belarus. His English was about as fluent as my Russian was. Between us there were perhaps a couple of dozen words that we both understood. His host family explained that he was a survivor of Chernobyl and was visiting the United States through a project sponsored by a group of business men who wanted to give the children some relief from the stress that they experience daily as a result of the Chernobyl disaster. I had thought about possible increase in cancer and birth defects. Somehow, stress ten years after the accident never entered my mind. I started shuffling through my pile of potential articles and found the one that Jim Bley had sent. The facts were mind-boggling.
Chernobyl Disaster Recalled
At 1:23 AM on April 26, 1986, two explosions ripped through the Unit 4 reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine. The reactor block and adjacent structure were wrecked by the initial explosion. Nearby buildings were ignited by burning graphite projectiles. Radioactive particles swept across the Ukraine, Belarus, the western portion of Russia and eventually spread across Europe and the whole Northern Hemisphere. The accident followed a safety experiment in which the plant was operated outside of its designed parameters at very low power and unfavorable cooling conditions.The graphite fires continued to burn for several days despite the fact that thousands of tons of boron carbide, lead, sand and clay were dumped over the core reactor by helicopter. The fire eventually extinguished itself when the core melted, flowed into the lower part of the building and then solidified, sealing off the entry. About 71% of the radioactive fuel in the core (about 135 metric tons) remained uncovered for about 10 days until cooling and solidification took place. 135,000 people were evacuated from a 30-km radius exclusion zone. Clean up involved some 800,000 people. The radioactivity released was estimated to be about two hundred times that of the combined releases in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Millions of people were exposed to the radiation in varying doses.
Health Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster
Compulsory health monitoring was provided to those who lived and worked in the heavily contaminated area. Health monitoring was also provided for more than 4.5 million people who were exposed to lower levels of radiation. Still, the available information on the direct health effects of the catastrophe are sketchy at best.
Twenty different radionuclides with half-lives varying from 8 days to 24,400 years were released into the atmosphere during the ten day period following the explosion. The contaminants include idiodine-131, cesium-134 and -137 and several plutonium isotopes. There were 444 workers at the site at the time of the accident. Of the 300 admitted to hospitals, 134 were diagnosed with acute radiation syndrome (ARS). Only 45 of these individuals have died to date, though the survivors still suffer with emotional and sleep disturbances and 30% have gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and immuno-function disorders. In Belarus alone 2.2 million people including 600,000 juveniles and children have been exposed to the prolonged impact of long-lived radionuclides. A total of 415 settlements have been evacuated, and the 130,000 residents resettled, making monitoring of them difficult.
The actual death toll due to this catastrophe is hard to determine. Greenpeace Ukraine estimates the total number to be about 32,000. Some estimates are higher, many are much lower. The rate of thyroid cancer in children up to the age of 15 has increased 200 fold in Gomel Oblast, Belarus since the accident. At least 90% of these are curable, but the number of cases is expected to increase, especially in children like Blasa who were younger than three at the time of the release. Thyroid cancer is due to inhalation of radioactive iodine or ingestion from drinking milk from cows that have eaten grass that is contaminated with radioactive particles. Iodine-134 is absorbed and concentrated (biointensified) in the milk. When humans drink the milk, the iodine-134 becomes incorporated almost exclusively in the thyroid gland. Many diets in the fall-out affected area of the former Soviet Union are typically deficient in iodine. Individuals who had low levels of iodine in their diet incorporated large quantities of the radioactive iodine into their system as their bodies attempted to compensate for the deficiency. At the moment few republics are reporting a rise in leukemia, a condition which would have been expected to increase. It is possible that the actual rise in incidents of the disease is masked by the mass resettlement into other unaffected areas after the accident. This may have resulted in skewed results since any increase in the rate of leukemia would be averaged over a larger population of individuals, many of whom had not been exposed.
The incidences of birth defects have increased in heavily contaminated areas. A condition known as minisatellite mutation in the Mogilev district of Belarus is unusually high.Most genetic mutations resulting from exposure to radiation are recessive and are not likely to be expressed until the individuals affected have grandchildren. The mutation will be fully manifested when two people carrying the same mutant gene marry and produce a child who receives the identical mutant gene from each parent (a one-in-four chance for each child they produce). Radiation effects are dependent upon both level and time of exposure and some individuals continue to be exposed. As a result many effects of radiation on an exposed individual may not be manifested for years to come. Madame Curie reportedly worked with radioactive materials for years before she finally succumbed to its effects. Cancer may take many years to develop after exposure to a carcinogen.The secondary effects of the accident are readily obvious. Millions of people are suffering from mental and emotional illness and these conditions lead to disturbances of the physical kind, including digestive disorders, high blood pressure, heart conditions and more generally sleeplessness and alcoholism. General living conditions in the three affected republics are substandard. The economy is deteriorating and health services are experiencing total collapse. People are malnourished, and diseases like tuberculosis are on the increase. Some of this economic depression is due to the accident, and some is a result of the general economic situation in the former Soviet Union as a whole. The immediate problems are more important to them than diseases that will not have a major impact until some time in the future. As a result, leukemia, thyroid cancer and birth defects must take a back seat to more pressing issues, such as basic survival. Extensive studies will be necessary in order to determine the total impact of the Chernobyl disaster and approach a solution intelligently.
Could it be that human invasion has a greater impact on the environment than the most catastrophic nuclear accident in the 20th century?
In 1986 the Chernobyl accident contaminated 125,000 square miles of land in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine with radionucleotides including cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium-239. It is too early to determine the long-term effects of the radioactive contaminants on the various affected habitats, because genetic changes are often not expressed in a general population for two or three generations. From early observations, however, the prognosis is much more promising than had originally been expected.About 40% of the contaminated area was used for agriculture. The remainder was forest, bodies of water and urban centers. Plants and animals living in the 30-km exclusion zone received the highest level of radiation. Since radionucleotides migrate very slowly in soil, the radiation level in this region remains high. In Belrus 2,640 sq. km of farmland and 1,900 sq. km of forest have been taken out of use by humans forever; so predicted Igor V. Rolevich, Belarus first deputy minister for emergencies.The Chernobyl accident took place during the growing season. It took only two weeks for the conifers to suffer significant damage from exposure. Initially many trees suffered sever damage to reproductive tissue.Within three years of the accident, the trees had regained their reproductive functions. The forests have begun to thrive. Areas within the heart of the exclusion zone have the largest density of animals as well as the greatest diversity. Since people and their livestock do not enter the exclusion zone, there is not much overgrazing, no fires and no destruction. The grass is very deep and the habitat is doing very well. The area outside the exclusion zone has been so severely overgrazed by cattle that there is little grass. In addition, the trees have been cut for firewood, a stress factor that has not affected the exclusion zone.
One must avoid the temptation to become too overly optimistic about the rapid recovery of the contaminated area. Currently there is no standard by which to predict the long-term effects on populations, species or ecosystems.Contamination of the soil by radionucleotides with long half-lives such as cesium-137 is a particular problem for the local residents near the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor. These radionucleotides remain in the soil for a long while, is taken up by plants and transferred to the milk and meat products of cattle that graze the area. Human exposure could have been reduced by imposing strict countermeasures immediately following the release. Had local residents not worked in the field, or eaten fresh vegetables, and had they kept their livestock from eating the contaminated forage. Such measures need to be taken immediately, however, and they were not. Very specific countermeasures applied immediately can have a great bearing on the long term effects of a radioactive release. Changing the type of crop planted (each species has a different rate at which it absorbs specific chemical elements or compounds) or adding chemicals such as lime or potassium fertilizers can protect the population. In order for this to happen, residents have to be trained to respond, and the needed supplies must be readily available. No emergency procedure was in place for dealing with the catastrophe.It is interesting that the water supply is not nearly as contaminated as the soil. The radionucleotides tend to settle out with time. Aquatic habitats also tend to be more tolerant of radioactive contamination. There is no evidence of any long term effects to the populations in the water near the nuclear reactor's cooling pond, which was the most contaminated body of water in the exclusion zone.While the groundwater has not been contaminated to date, the Sarcophagus, which was built around Reactor Unit 4 is crumbling and there are many sites where radiation contaminated equipment were dumped.While the environment in the exclusion zone seems to have recovered, it still has to deal with long term effects (such as genetic mutations, which may not surface for a few generations) and the real threat of another release of radioactivity should the integrity of the sarcophagus continue to disintegrate.
If societies worldwide want to continue using nuclear power, the benefits must be balanced against the risks!
Chernobyl's accident was a turning point for the nuclear power industry worldwide. According to World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), It demonstrated clearly that nuclear power in some parts of the world was not safe enough.The association points out that the accident caused such a negative opinion of nuclear energy that, should such an accident occur again, the existence and future of nuclear energy all over the world would be compromised.On the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), the Chernobyl nuclear accident rates the highest classification, which is level seven. The worst nuclear accident in the West, which was rated a level five by the INES, occurred in the pressurized water reactor at the Three Mile Island facility in Pennsylvania in 1979.Chernobyl incidents are still happening but now are relatively minor compared to the two explosions occurred on April 26, 1986. For example, on Nov, 1995, a small amount of nuclear fuel leaked from the Unit 1 reactor and exposed a worker to about one year's permitted radiation dose.Past experience indicates that there will be another Chernobyl-scale accident, World Health Organization (WHO) scientist Keith F. Baverstock suggests. The increasing number of older reactors is especially a cause for concern.
According to David R. Kyd, director of the Division of Public Information at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, Austria, There are more than 430 nuclear reactors in the world, with more being built. More significantly, the number of reactors that are aging is inevitably increasing. The first nuclear reactor went on-line about 40 years ago.The huge 300,000-metric-ton concrete and steel sarcophagus that was built at Chernobyl to entomb the destroyed reactor still contains uranium fuel. It is thought to include pellets and hot particles of enriched uranium dioxide, and three streams of solidified lava of fuel mixed with sand and concrete. The long-term stability of the sarcophagus is causing concern. It is now generally accepted that the Chernobyl accident occurred, as WANO puts it, because of a combination of the physics characteristics of the reactor, the design of the control rods, human error, and management shortcomings in the design and implementation of the [safety] experiment. The theory that accidents are rarely due to a single cause is well demonstrated here. Chernobyl was an accident waiting to happen. Changes to the design on nuclear plants along with the implementation of administrative measures have improved safety conditions of operations. There have been other safety improvements since the accident, including the installation of emergency core-cooling systems and remote-control rooms in the first-generation Chernobyl-type, and better operation rules and procedures.The nuclear industry has learned a number of things from Chernobyl. The most important is that it led to the formation of the World Association of Nuclear Operators, an organization that brougth together operators to look at safety and coordination of safety on a world scale.
Professor Sir Dillwyn Williams at the University of Cambridge said that, If societies want to continue using nuclear power, the benefits must be balanced against the risks. Precautions must be taken to prevent those types of disasters from happening again. Although the environment seems to have recovered, right now we don't have a really good overview of the long-term effects on populations, species, or ecosystems.
Chernobyl Disaster From the Mouths of Children
From Footprint of the Black Wind - written by children - Chernobyl in my destiny (Minsk 1995)
Irina Prokopenko - 9th grade
In the days after the accident we were light-hearted and trusting, we inhabitants of the contamination zone. We lived the same lives as before. Children played out in the radioactive rain; we ate pies off open stalls, went to the woods; the grown-ups worked in the fields... I am now 17, and for seven years have lived with thyroid disease...
Natalla Jarmolenko - 11th grade
...Last year one of my classmates, my friend Maja Kasajed, died. The whole school gave her a send-off like a bride. We all stood outside the schoolhouse, and the head-mistress rang the bell for Maja, for the end of the last lesson of her short life...
Yelena Kulazhenko - 10th grade
Chernobyl called my dad too. He worked for the Department of Internal Affairs...in the 30 km (exclusion) zone...He came home with a voice that was strange and dry. He drank lots of mineral water; that's what the doctors prescribed. He told us about empty villages of Palessia, the domestic animals howling crazily in the roads... In 1989 they gave Dad a terrible diagnosis: cancer of spinal marrow... Doctors in Minsk refused to operate... Soviet people in Moscow refused to treat him...Dad was two months in a hospital in Michigan. Dad came back full of hope. Enchanted, we listened to his tales about the strange but sympathetic and kind people he had met in that far-off land... (Moscow) refused follow up treatment. He began to get worse... On March 28th (1993) he died... That's how (Chernobyl) took away my Dad. And it took away my birthday too; Dad died exactly on the day I reached 14.
FACT SHEET: Fukushima Nuclear Plant
Published March 12, 2011| FoxNews.com
March 11: Fukushima Daiichi power plant's Unit 1 is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture, Japan. The nuclear power plant affected by a massive earthquake is facing a possible meltdown, an official with Japan's nuclear safety commission said Saturday. (AP/The Yomiuri Shimbun)IWAKI, Japan – The Fukushima plant is located 150 miles away from Tokyo, 40 miles from the earthquake's epicenter.
- About 30% of electricity in Japan is produced by 55 nuclear power units in 17 plants
Japan is the world's third largest producer of nuclear power.
- The earthquake has led to the shutdown of 11 of the Japan's 55 nuclear power plants, representing nearly 20% of the country's capacity.
- The Fukushima Daiichi unit is just one of five reactors severely imperiled by the earthquake.
- The Fukushima plant covers about 865 acres and it is built on solid bedrock.
- Opened in 1971 -- the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (No.1) would be marking its 40th anniversary on March 26.
- Some 40,000 people had evacuated from the areas around two Fukushima plants as of Saturday afternoon, according to reports.
- Authorities evacuated a 12.5 mile radius around the reactor, and told residents within 16.5 miles to remain indoors.
- Virtually any increase in ambient radiation can raise long-term cancer rates.
- A partial meltdown in one of the light water reactors at Three Mile Island in 1979 resulted in the release of radioactive gases in the most serious incident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry.
(Source: Japan Officials Probe Nuclear Plant Collapse, The Wall Street Journal: 12 March 2011)
(Source: Damage to cooling system had sparked warning of meltdown, MarketWatch: 12 March 2011)
(Source: Japan Officials Probe Nuclear Plant Collapse, The Wall Street Journal: 12 March 2011)
(Source: IAEA, http://www.iaea.org/cgi-bin/db.page.pl/pris.powrea.htm?country=JP&sort=&sortlong=Alphabetic)
(Source: Explosion at Japan nuke plant, disaster toll rises, Associated Press: 12 Mar 2011)
(Source: Explosion rocks Japanese power plant, The Washington Post: 12 Mar 2011. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/11/AR2011031103673_4.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2011031100651)
(Source: Fukushima nuclear plant blast puts Japan on high alert, Guardian Unlimited: 13 March 2011)
Dr. Manny: Potential Danger as Radiation Levels Surge in Japan
By Dr. Manny Alvarez Published March 11, 2011| FoxNews.com
As I watch the tragedy unfolding in Japan since an 8.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the nation this morning, triggering a deadly tsunami, I am realizing just how much devastation this small country is potentially facing – and it’s scary.Hundreds of people have already died, and I’m sure the number will continue to rise as the clean-up efforts kick into high gear.But new concerns are growing. The massive earthquake caused a power outage that disabled a nuclear power plant’s cooling system in the Onahoma city, about 170 miles north of Tokyo.Surging radiation levels of 1,000 times more than normal have caused an evacuation of 3,000 people near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant—making it the first-ever state of emergency declared at a nuclear plant in Japan.Soon after the evacuation order, the government announced that the plant will release slightly radioactive vapor from the unit to lower the pressure in an effort to protect it from a possible meltdown.
Dr. Manny Alvarez
Government officials said the amount of radioactive elements leaking from the plant would be very small and would not affect the environment or human health—if the leak is kept under control.However, if they cannot continue to restore cooling of the plant, it could become a very dangerous situation to those living in close range of the plant, and the fallout would only spread.If the reactor does indeed melt down, the results could be similar – if not worse – than that of Chernobyl.When a reactor at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine went out of control in April of 1986 during a low-power test that led to an explosion and subsequent meltdown, it contaminated 58,000 square miles of land between Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine, and prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents.The reactor meltdown released a hundred radioactive elements into the atmosphere including dangerous iodine, strontium and caesium, which are the most dangerous, and can still be found in the affected areas today.In the years since this devastating accident, studies on groups of emergency workers and individuals with the highest exposure rates have linked the radioactive fallout to several health consequences like certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and death.
Radiation is predicated on three factors: total exposure, how close you were to the accident and how much time you were exposed to it.The human body is very resilient and has mechanisms in place to repair damage to cells from radiation and chemical carcinogens. But exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation can lead to radiation sickness, and sometimes, permanent biophysical changes to the cells.The severity of radiation sickness depends on the amount of radiation the person encounters and the amount of time he or she is exposed.Symptoms can arise at any point after exposure. It can be immediate or occur over days, weeks or months.Early exposure symptoms can include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and fever.Signs that may appear in the days following exposure include: dizziness, disorientation, weakness, fatigue, hair loss, bloody vomit and stools, infections, poor wound healing and low blood pressure.
But radioactive fallout traveling through the environment can pose long-term health consequences depending on the amount of exposure — and chronic exposure to these high levels of radiation can cause more serious conditions like cancer and premature aging.From the time a person becomes contaminated to the time when he or she starts developing symptoms is a good indicator of just how significant the radiation exposure is. The earlier the signs show up, the more concentrated the exposure.The most important thing to remember is if someone experiences any of these issues he or she should not remain in that area. They should seek emergency treatment immediately and destroy their contaminated clothing.Right now, it seems the Japanese government is controlling the situation. And we can only pray that it stays that way.
Factbox: Experts on explosion at Japan nuclear plant
– Sat Mar 12, 8:23 am ET
(Reuters) – Radiation was leaking from an unstable nuclear reactor north of Tokyo on Saturday, the Japanese government said, after an explosion blew the roof off the facility following a massive earthquake.The development has led to fears of a disastrous meltdown. Here are comments from experts about what might have happened.
PROF PADDY REGAN, PROFESSOR OF NUCLEAR PHYSICS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF SURREY
It looks as if the coolant pumps had initially stopped working. They shut down automatically when the reactor shuts down, but there is a backup system running off a diesel generator -- it looks as though that's the bit that failed.As a result there is no way of pumping heat out of the reactor, so it has to cool naturally. If the reactor gets too hot, in principle this means the fuel rods can melt - but it looks unlikely this has happened to any great extent in this case.To reduce the pressure, you would have to release some steam into the atmosphere from the system. In that steam, there will be small but measurable amounts of radioactive nitrogen - nitrogen 16 (produced when neutrons hit water). This remains radioactive for only about 5 seconds, after which it decays to natural oxygen.But if any of the fuel rods have been compromised, there would be evidence of a small amount of other radioisotopes in the atmosphere called fission fragments (radio-caesium and radio-iodine).The amount that you measure would tell you to what degree the fuel rods have been compromised. Scientists in Japan should be able to establish this very quickly using gamma ray spectroscopy as the isotopes have characteristic decay signatures. Current reports seem consistent with a small leak to relieve pressure.But we still need to establish the cause and exact location of the explosion, which is a separate issue. So far it looks like it's not the reactor core that's affected which would be good news.We must remember that there are 55 reactors in Japan and this was a huge earthquake, and as a test of the resilience and robustness of nuclear plants it seems they have withstood the effects very well.
TIMOTHY ABRAM, PROFESSOR OF NUCLEAR FUEL TECHNOLOGY AT
BRITAIN'S MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY
By sampling the air around the station, you'd be able to tell how much radioactivity has been released. The thing they'll be looking for more than anything is whether there's any evidence of the fuel actually degrading, he told Reuters.If the fuel is substantially intact, then there'll be a much, much lower release of radioactivity and the explosion that's happened might be just due to a build-up of steam in the reactor circuit.The most probable (cause of the explosion) is the coolant, particularly if it's water, can overheat and turn to steam more rapidly than it was designed to cope with.He said it was unlikely it would develop into anything more serious, but this would depend on the integrity of the fuel, which contains nearly all the radioactivity of the plant. He said he thought it would be pretty unlikely that the fuel itself had been significantly damaged.He said if this did occur, some radioactive material might be released into the primary circuit, which in turn might be vented into the containment building to release the pressure. Even the worse case scenario from there is the pressure in the containment building itself builds up to dangerous levels and has to be released, he said.Consequently you are releasing pressure from in the containment building, some of which contains radioactivity, out into the environment. There are a lot of ifs in that chain of events.
VALERIY HLYHALO, DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE CHERNOBYL
NUCLEAR SAFETY Center
The explosion at No. 1 generating set of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, which took place today, will not be a repetition of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Interfax quoted the Ukrainian expert as saying.He said that the Japanese nuclear power plants use reactors of a totally different design to Chernobyl's.Japan has modern-type reactors. All fission products should be isolated by the confinement (the reactor's protection shell). Only gas emission is possible.Hlyhalo said that Japanese nuclear power plants are earthquake resistant.Apart from that, these reactors are designed to work at a high seismicity zone, although what has happened is beyond the impact the plants were designed to withstand. Therefore, the consequences should not be as serious as after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
IAN HORE-LACY OF THE WORLD NUCLEAR ASSOCIATION, AN INDUSTRY
BODY REPRESENTING 180 COMPANIES IN THE NUCLEAR SECTOR
It is obviously an hydrogen explosion ... due to hydrogen igniting. If the hydrogen has ignited, then it is gone, it doesn't pose any further threat.The whole situation is quite serious but the actual hydrogen explosion doesn't add a great deal to it.He said it was most unlikely to be a major disaster and he also did not believe there would be a full fuel meltdown.That would have been much more likely early yesterday in the European time. We are now 24 hours into the situation and the fuel has cooled a lot in that time and the likelihood of meltdown at this stage I would think would be very, very small.
ROBIN GRIMES, PROFESSOR OF MATERIALS PHYSICS AT IMPERIAL
It does seem as if the back-up generators although they started initially to work, then failed, Grimes, an expert in radiation damage told BBC TV.So it means slowly the heat and the pressure built up in this reactor. One of the things that might just have happened is a large release of that pressure. If it's that then we're not in such bad circumstances.Despite the damage to the outer structure, as long as that steel inner vessel remains intact, then the vast majority of the radiation will be contained.At the moment it does seem that they are still contained and it's a release of significant steam pressure that's caused this explosion. The key will be the monitoring of those radiation levels.
NUCLEAR EXPERT MARK HIBBS OF THE CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR
We don't have any information from inside the plant. That is the problem in this case.If it melts down the probability that there would be a breach or that radiation would get outside of the plant because of weakness of the structure of the plant ... is much greater.(Reporting by Michael Holden and Fredrik Dahl in Vienna)
Explosion at Japan nuke plant, disaster toll rises By ERIC TALMADGE and YURI KAGEYAMA, Associated Press - MAR 12,11
IWAKI, Japan – An explosion at a nuclear power station Saturday destroyed a building housing the reactor, but a radiation leak was decreasing despite fears of a meltdown from damage caused by a powerful earthquake and tsunami, officials said.Government spokesman Yukio Edano said the explosion destroyed the exterior walls of the building where the reactor is placed, but not the actual metal housing enveloping the reactor.That was welcome news for a country suffering from Friday's double disaster that pulverized the northeastern coast, leaving at least 574 people dead by official count.The scale of destruction was not yet known, but there were grim signs that the death toll could soar. One report said four whole trains had disappeared Friday and still not been located. Local media reports said at least 1,300 people may have been killed.Edano said the radiation around the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant had not risen after the blast, but had in fact decreased. He did not say why that was so.Officials have not given specific radiation readings for the area, though they said they were elevated before the blast: At one point, the plant was releasing each hour the amount of radiation a person normally absorbs from the environment each year.Virtually any increase in ambient radiation can raise long-term cancer rates, and authorities were planning to distribute iodine to residents in the area, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iodine counteracts the effects of radiation.The pressure in the reactor was also decreasing after the blast, according to Edano.
The explosion was preceded by puff of white smoke that gathered intensity until it became a huge cloud enveloping the entire facility, located in Fukushima, 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Iwaki. After the explosion, the walls of the building crumbled, leaving only a skeletal metal frame.Tokyo Power Electric Co., the utility that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, said four workers suffered fractures and bruises and were being treated at a hospital.We have confirmed that the walls of this building were what exploded, and it was not the reactor's container that exploded, said Edano.
The trouble began at the plant's Unit 1 after the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami it spawned knocked out power there, depriving it of its cooling system.The concerns about a radiation leak at the nuclear power plant overshadowed the massive tragedy laid out along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of the coastline where scores of villages, towns and cities were battered by the tsunami, packing 23-feet (7-meter) high waves.It swept inland about six miles (10 kilometers) in some areas, swallowing boats, homes, cars, trees and everything else.The tsunami was unbelievably fast, said Koichi Takairin, a 34-year-old truck driver who was inside his sturdy four-ton rig when the wave hit the port town of Sendai.Smaller cars were being swept around me, he said. All I could do was sit in my truck.His rig ruined, he joined the steady flow of survivors who walked along the road away from the sea and back into the city on Saturday.Smashed cars and small airplanes were jumbled up against buildings near the local airport, several miles (kilometers) from the shore. Felled trees and wooden debris lay everywhere as rescue workers coasted on boats through murky waters around flooded structures, nosing their way through a sea of debris.According to official figures, 586 people are missing and 1,105 injured. In addition, police said between 200 and 300 bodies were found along the coast in Sendai, the biggest city in the area near the quake's epicenter.The true scale of the destruction was still not known more than 24 hours after the quake since washed-out roads and shut airports have hindered access to the area. An untold number of bodies were believed to be buried in the rubble and debris.
Meanwhile, the first wave of military rescuers began arriving by boats and helicopters.Prime Minister Naoto Kan said 50,000 troops joined rescue and recovery efforts, aided by boats and helicopters. Dozens of countries also offered help. President Barack Obama pledged U.S. assistance following what he called a potentially catastrophic disaster. He said one U.S. aircraft carrier was already in Japan and a second was on its way. Washington has also dispatched urban search and rescue teams, according to U.S. Ambassador John Roos.More than 215,000 people were living in 1,350 temporary shelters in five prefectures, or states, the national police agency said. Since the quake, more than 1 million households have not had water, mostly concentrated in northeast. Some 4 million buildings were without power.About 24 percent of electricity in Japan is produced by 55 nuclear power units in 17 plants and some were in trouble after the quake.Japan declared states of emergency at two power plants after their units lost cooling ability.Although the government spokesman played down fears of radiation leak, the Japanese nuclear agency spokesman Shinji Kinjo acknowledged there were still fears of a meltdown. A meltdown is not a technical term. Rather, it is an informal way of referring to a very serious collapse of a power plant's systems and its ability to manage temperatures.Yaroslov Shtrombakh, a Russian nuclear expert, said a Chernobyl-style meltdown was unlikely.It's not a fast reaction like at Chernobyl, he said. I think that everything will be contained within the grounds, and there will be no big catastrophe.
In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded and caught fire, sending a cloud of radiation over much of Europe. That reactor — unlike the Fukushima one — was not housed in a sealed container, so there was no way to contain the radiation once the reactor exploded.The reactor in trouble has already leaked some radiation: Before the explosion, operators had detected eight times the normal radiation levels outside the facility and 1,000 times normal inside Unit 1's control room.An evacuation area around the plant was expanded to a radius of 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the six miles (10 kilometers) before. People in the expanded area were advised to leave quickly; 51,000 residents were previously evacuated.Everyone wants to get out of the town. But the roads are terrible, said Reiko Takagi, a middle-aged woman, standing outside a taxi company. It is too dangerous to go anywhere. But we are afraid that winds may change and bring radiation toward us.
The transport ministry said all highways from Tokyo leading to quake-hit areas were closed, except for emergency vehicles. Mobile communications were spotty and calls to the devastated areas were going unanswered.Local TV stations broadcast footage of people lining up for water and food such as rice balls. In Fukushima, city officials were handing out bottled drinks, snacks and blankets. But there were large areas that were surrounded by water and were unreachable.One hospital in Miyagi prefecture was seen surrounded by water. The staff had painted an SOS on its rooftop and were waving white flags.Technologically advanced Japan is well prepared for quakes and its buildings can withstand strong jolts, even a temblor like Friday's, which was the strongest the country has experienced since official records started in the late 1800s. What was beyond human control was the killer tsunami that followed.Japan's worst previous quake was a magnitude 8.3 temblor in Kanto that killed 143,000 people in 1923, according to the USGS. A magnitude 7.2 quake in Kobe killed 6,400 people in 1995.Japan lies on the Ring of Fire — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching around the Pacific where about 90 percent of the world's quakes occur, including the one that triggered the Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami that killed an estimated 230,000 people in 12 countries. A magnitude-8.8 quake that shook central Chile in February 2010 also generated a tsunami and killed 524 people.
Kageyama reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writers Malcolm J. Foster, Mari Yamaguchi, Tomoko A. Hosaka and Shino Yuasa in Tokyo, Jay Alabaster in Sendai, and Sylvia Hui in London also contributed.
Why America Isn't Ready for a Disaster
Irwin Redlener – Fri Mar 11, 10:14 pm ET
NEW YORK – Japan’s tradition of emergency planning and strict building codes saved countless lives this week—but what would happen here? Disaster-preparation expert Irwin Redlener on America’s shocking lack of readiness—and our history of ignoring wakeup calls. Plus, full coverage of Japan’s quake.On Friday morning, Americans awoke to news of an unfolding catastrophe in Japan. This latest disaster will certainly fall among the more serious natural calamities in modern times.
Unfortunately, fatalities and damages will most certainly dwarf early estimates. The need for bolstering initial rescue efforts and preventing secondary calamities is rising by the hour, with the most serious threat ahead being damage to a nuclear-power plant located in the disaster impact area. A meltdown at the plant could imperil tens of thousands of citizens, especially children and pregnant women.But unlike Haiti, for example, Japan is a highly developed nation that was motivated to develop and invest in a national plan to protect its citizens and vital systems in the event of precisely this kind of catastrophe. Strict earthquake-resistant standards apply to building codes, tsunami early-warning systems are in place, and Japanese citizens have a high level of awareness with respect to emergency planning and response. This means that the consequences of this kind of “megadisaster” will be less than would otherwise be the case.
But what about the United States? Every major disaster is invariably labeled a wakeup call. Media coverage is intense, rescue efforts rise to the occasion and we are fully focused—until we’re not.Unfortunately, the U.S. has not reached a level of preparedness that we might have expected 10 years after the 9/11 attacks and five years after Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans. Billions of dollars have been spent and progress has been made—but progress has been slow and spotty. Part of the problem is a multiplicity of federal, state and local agencies have a major influence on planning, from decisions about priorities to levels of dedicated funding. One bright spot: FEMA is being upgraded and reorganized and, under the leadership of its director, Craig Fugate, the agency is even more effective than it was in its prime, prior to its serious degradation under the previous administration.
Still, major challenges remain. American citizens are extraordinarily underprepared for disasters. Few of us have the supplies we’d need if we were caught up in a disaster or know how we’d keep ourselves and our families’ safe. Motivating citizen efforts to prepare for any kind of disaster, from earthquakes and hurricanes to pandemics and terrorism, has been essentially unsuccessful over the past decade.And we have only begun to address the disaster-readiness needs of our most vulnerable citizens, particularly our children, who make up nearly 25 percent of the nation’s population. This is an issue that the National Commission on Children and Disasters has been working on for the past two years. But we also need to make sure that other groups, including the elderly, people with disabilities, and economically disenfranchised individuals, are fully accounted for in our disaster-planning efforts.Every major disaster is invariably labeled a wakeup call. Media coverage is intense, rescue efforts rise to the occasion and we are fully focused—until we’re not. The predictable pattern is rapt attention and concern followed by a drift back into a state of complacency. This is hardly a wakeup call; it’s more like a snooze alarm.We have much work to do to make America as disaster-ready as it should be. Our health systems and hospitals are woefully underprepared, our infrastructure is dangerously fragile, and our response systems poorly coordinated.What worries me is that in this time of serious economic distress, we seem have a general lack of capacity to make critical long-term investments for anything, including doing what’s needed to prepare America for the inevitable disasters of the future.Irwin Redlener, MD, is director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. He speaks and writes regularly on disaster preparedness and recovery policy and is the author of Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now (Knopf). He is also president of the Children's Health Fund.
The Science Behind Japan's Deadly Earthquake
Brett Israel,LiveScience.com - MAR 11,11
The fifth largest earthquake ever recorded hit Japan today (March 11), sending huge tsunami waves crashing onshore and reportedly killing at least 300 people.The 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck at 2:46 p.m. local time (12:46 a.m. EST), near Honshu, Japan, an island that is home to about 100 million people. The temblor was the fifth in the past two days to hit the region, and major aftershocks can be expected for months, possibly even a year. Despite the massive foreshocks, there was no way to predict that Japan's biggest-recorded earthquake was looming, said Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Golden, Colo.We have big quakes there all the time, Caruso told OurAmazingPlanet. For all scientists knew at the time, the 6.3-magnitude quake that struck yesterday was the main shock, Caruso said. Not every big earthquake has a foreshock but they all have aftershocks.
The rule of thumb for seismologists is that an earthquake's largest aftershock will be one magnitude smaller than the main shock, Caruso said. That means a 7.9-magnitude earthquake could hit the region even a year from now. Yet aftershocks are already hitting northern Japan now — 35 larger than magnitude 5.0 and 14 larger than magnitude 6 — according to the UGSS.Big aftershocks are not unusual. In February, a 6.6-magnitude aftershock ruptured near Maule, Chile — almost a year after what is now the sixth largest earthquake in recorded history, a magnitude 8.8, hit in the same region.The Japanese earthquake ruptured near the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates — huge, moving slabs of the Earth's crust. The quake was a megathrust earthquake, where the Pacific plate dove underneath Japan at the Japan Trench. The seafloor was pushed away from Japan sending waves roaring toward Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States.The tsunami wave speed in deep water, open ocean, is about the same as a commercial jet's ground speed, said Ken Hudnut, a USGS geologist in Pasadena, Calif.The epicenter of today's quake was about 15.2 miles (24.4 kilometers) deep, according to the USGS, which is near enough to the surface to set off a tsunami.Generally we don't get a tsunami unless we have a shallow quake, and that's exactly what happened, Caruso said.
Foreshocks, not forewarning
Today's earthquake was preceded by a series of large foreshocks over the previous two days, beginning on March 9 with a magnitude 7.2 quake about 25 miles (40 km) away, and continuing with three other earthquakes greater than magnitude 6, according to the USGS.Japan's latest national seismic risk map gave a 99 percent chance of at least a magnitude 7.5 quake hiting the region in the next 30 years, Robert Geller, University of Tokyo geophysicist, told Science Magazine, but today's quake was more than 100 times powerful.Earthquakes in the region are common, because Japan lies along the volatile Pacific Ring of Fire — a narrow zone around the Pacific Ocean where a large chunk of Earth's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Roughly 90 percent of all the world's earthquakes, and 80 percent of the largest ones, strike along the Ring of Fire.The Japan Trench has seen nine events of magnitude 7 or greater since 1973. The largest of these was a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in December 1994, which caused 3 fatalities and almost 700 injuries, approximately 160 miles (260 km) to the north of today's quake. In June of 1978, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake about 22 miles (35 km) to the southwest caused 22 fatalities and over 400 injuries.The epicenter of the earthquake was 231 miles (373 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo and 80 miles (130 km) east of Sendai, Honshu, according to the USGS.Brett Israel is a staff writer for OurAmazingPlanet, a sister site to LiveScience. Email Brett at @btisrael.
Daybreak reveals huge devastation in tsunami-hit Japan By Linda Sieg and Chisa Fujioka - MAR 11,11
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan confronted devastation along its northeastern coast on Saturday, with fires raging and parts of some cities under water after a massive earthquake and tsunami that likely killed at least 1,000 people.Daybreak revealed the full extent of damage from Friday's 8.9 magnitude earthquake -- the strongest in Japan since records began -- and the 10-meter high tsunami it sent surging into cities and villages, sweeping away everything in its path.This is likely to be a humanitarian relief operation of epic proportions, said Japan expert Sheila Smith of the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations.The government warned there could be a radiation leak from nuclear reactors in Fukushima whose cooling system was knocked out by the quake. Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordered an evacuation zone expanded to 10 km (6 miles) from 3 km. Some 3,000 people had earlier been evacuated.It's possible that radioactive material in the reactor vessel could leak outside but the amount is expected to be small, and the wind blowing toward the sea will be considered, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference.As authorities battled to contain rising pressure at the Fukushima facility, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, officials called for calm and said a meltdown remained unlikely.The unfolding natural disaster prompted offers of search and rescue help from 50 countries.
China said rescuers were ready to help with quake relief while President Barack Obama told Kan the United States would assist in any way.In one of the worst-hit residential areas, people buried under rubble could be heard calling out for rescue, Kyodo news agency reported. TV footage showed staff at one hospital waving banners with the words FOOD and HELP from a rooftop.In Tokyo, office workers who were stranded in the city after the quake forced the subway system to close early slept alongside the homeless at one station. Scores of men in suits lay on newspapers, using their briefcases as pillows.Kyodo said at least 116,000 people in Tokyo had been unable to return home on Friday evening due to transport disruption.The northeastern Japanese city of Kesennuma, with a population of 74,000, was hit by widespread fires and one-third of the city was under water, Jiji news agency said on Saturday.The airport in the city of Sendai, home to one million people, was on fire, it added.TV footage from Friday showed a muddy torrent of water carrying cars and wrecked homes at high speed across farmland near Sendai, 300 km (180 miles) northeast of Tokyo. Ships had been flung onto a harbor wharf, where they lay helplessly on their side.Boats, cars and trucks were tossed around like toys in the water after the tsunami hit the town of Kamaishi. Kyodo news agency reported that contact had been lost with four trains in the coastal area. Japanese politicians pushed for an emergency budget to fund relief efforts after Kan asked them to save the country, Kyodo reported. Japan is already the most heavily indebted major economy in the world, meaning any funding efforts would be closely scrutinized by financial markets.Domestic media said the death toll was expected to exceed 1,000, most of whom appeared to have drowned by churning waters.Even in a nation accustomed to earthquakes, the devastation was shocking.A big area of Sendai city near the coast, is flooded. We are hearing that people who were evacuated are stranded, said Rie Sugimoto, a reporter for NHK television in Sendai.About 140 people, including children, were rushed to an elementary school and are on the rooftop but they are surrounded by water and have nowhere else to go.Japan prides itself on its speedy tsunami warning system, which has been upgraded several times since its inception in 1952, including after a 7.8 magnitude quake triggered a 30-meter high wave before a warning was given.
FIRES ACROSS THE COAST
The quake, the most powerful since Japan started keeping records 140 years ago, sparked at least 80 fires in cities and towns along the coast, Kyodo said.I was unable stay on my feet because of the violent shaking. The aftershocks gave us no reprieve. Then the tsunami came when we tried to run for cover. It was the strongest quake I experienced, a woman with a baby on her back told television in northern Japan.Other nuclear power plants and oil refineries were shut down and one refinery was ablaze. Power to millions of homes and businesses was knocked out. Several airports, including Tokyo's Narita, were closed and rail services halted. All ports were shut.The central bank said it would cut short a two-day policy review scheduled for next week to one day on Monday and promised to do its utmost to ensure financial market stability.The disaster struck as the world's third-largest economy had been showing signs of reviving from an economic contraction in the final quarter of last year. It raised the prospect of major disruptions for many key businesses and a massive repair bill running into tens of billions of dollars.The tsunami alerts revived memories of the giant waves that struck Asia in 2004.Warnings were issued for countries to the west of Japan and across the Pacific as far away as Colombia and Peru, but the tsunami dissipated as it sped across the ocean and worst fears in the Americas were not realized.The earthquake was the fifth most powerful to hit the world in the past century. It surpassed the Great Kanto quake of September 1, 1923, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area.
The 1995 Kobe quake caused $100 billion in damage and was the most expensive natural disaster in history. Economic damage from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was estimated at about $10 billion.(Writing by Dean Yates and Andrew Marshall; Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)
Japan warns of radiation leak from quake-hit plants By Osamu Tsukimori and Mayumi Negishi - MAR 11,11
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan warned of a possible radiation leak on Saturday as authorities battled to contain rising pressure at two nuclear plants damaged by a massive earthquake, and were moving tens of thousands of residents in the area out of harm's way.Tokyo Electric Power Co said it has begun steps to release pressure at its two nuclear power plants in Fukushima, located some 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.While some radiation leakage could be expected, Naoto Sekimura, a professor at the University of Tokyo, said a major radioactive disaster was not likely.No Chernobyl is possible at a light water reactor. Loss of coolant means a temperature rise, but it also will stop the reaction, he said.Even in the worst-case scenario, that would mean some radioactive leakage and equipment damage, but not an explosion. If venting is done carefully, there will be little leakage. Certainly not beyond the 3 km radius.Kyodo news agency reported that authorities had begun evacuating about 20,000 people from the vicinity of one of the plants, the Daini plant. Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was flying by helicopter to view the plant by air, had earlier ordered that residents within a 10 km radius to be evacuated from the other plant, the Daiichi plant.Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said amount of leaked radiation would likely be small.
It's possible that radioactive material in the reactor vessel could leak outside but the amount is expected to be small, and the wind blowing toward the sea will be considered, he told a news conference.TEPCO said it had lost ability to control pressure in some of the reactors at its Daini plant as it had with the Daiichi plant. Pressure was stable inside the reactors of the Daini plant but rising in the containment vessels, a spokesman said.Pressure at one Daiichi reactor may have risen to 2.1 times the designed capacity, the trade ministry said.The cooling problems at the Japanese plant raised fears of a repeat of 1979's Three Mile Island accident, the most serious in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry. However, experts said the situation was, so far, less serious.Equipment malfunctions, design problems and human error led to a partial meltdown of the reactor core at the Three Mile Island plant, but only minute amounts of dangerous radioactive gases were released.
The situation is still several stages away from Three Mile Island when the reactor container ceased to function as it should, said Tomoko Murakami, leader of the nuclear energy group at Japan's Institute of Energy Economics.Japan informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the quake and tsunami cut the supply of off-site power to the plant and diesel generators intended to provide back-up electricity to the cooling system.(It's) a sign that the Japanese are pulling out all the stops they can to prevent this accident from developing into a core melt and also prevent it from causing a breach of the containment (system) from the pressure that is building up inside the core because of excess heat, said Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Radiation levels detected at the control unit of the reactors at the Daiichi plant were not ones that would require workers at the plant to evacuate, a trade ministry official said, adding that radiation at the control unit has risen to about 1,000 times the normal level.The Union of Concerned Scientists, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, said this power failure resulted in one of the most serious conditions that can affect a nuclear plant -- a station blackout -- during which off-site power and on-site emergency alternating current (AC) power is lost.
Nuclear plants generally need AC power to operate the motors, valves and instruments that control the systems that provide cooling water to the radioactive core. If all AC power is lost, the options to cool the core are limited. If the core overheats, then the fuel would become damaged and a molten mass could melt through the reactor vessel, releasing a large amount of radioactivity into the containment building surrounding the vessel, the UCS said.It added that it was not clear if the quake had undermined the containment building to contain pressure from any meltdown and allow radioactivity to leak out.Power supply systems that would provide emergency electricity for the plant were being put in place, the World Nuclear Association said, with a source in the organization saying the situation is improving. The reactors shut down due to the earthquake account for 18 percent of Japan's nuclear power generating capacity.Nuclear power produces about 30 percent of the country's electricity. Many reactors are located in earthquake-prone zones such as Fukushima and Fukui on the coast.The IAEA estimates that around 20 percent of nuclear reactors around the world are currently operating in areas of significant seismic activity.
It said the sector began putting more emphasis on external hazards after an earthquake hit TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in July 2007, until then the largest to ever affect a nuclear facility.When the earthquake hit the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, four reactors shut down automatically. Water containing radioactive material was released into the sea, but without an adverse effect on human health or the environment, it said.TEPCO had been operating three out of six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant at the time of the quake, all of which shut down. A spokesman said that there were no concerns of a leak for the remaining three reactors at the plant, which had been shut for planned maintenance.
(Additional reporting by Risa Maeda, Kiyoshi Takenaka and Chikako Mogi in Tokyo and Fredrik Dahl in Vienna; Writing by Edwina Gibbs; Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)
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