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    Friday, March 11, 2011

    ANALYST VIEW 2-Japan hit by massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake

    AIR Worldwide estimates insured losses from the Japan earthquake will be in the range of $14.5 bln to $34.6 bln

    IMPACT ON ECONOMY

    -- Citigroup expects 5-10 trillion yen(122.5 Bilions dollars) in damage to housing and infrastructure, while Barclays Capital estimates economic losses of 15 trillion yen ($183.7 billion) or 3 percent of Japan's GDP.

    UBS expects Japan's economy to grow 1.4 percent this year, compared with its previous forecast of 1.5 percent expansion. But it upgraded its growth forecast for 2012 to 2.5 percent, up from the previous estimate of 2.1 percent.

    - Goldman Sachs expects total economic losses is likely to hit 16 trillion yen=196 Billions Dollars), while it expects real GDP to decline by 0.5-2 percent in the second quarter.




    Earthquake Details
    This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
    Magnitude 9.0
    Date-Time Friday, March 11, 2011 at 05:46:23 UTC
    Friday, March 11, 2011 at 02:46:23 PM at epicenter
    Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

    Location 38.322°N, 142.369°E
    Depth 32 km (19.9 miles) set by location program
    Region NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
    Distances 129 km (80 miles) E of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
    177 km (109 miles) E of Yamagata, Honshu, Japan
    177 km (109 miles) ENE of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
    373 km (231 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan

    Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 13.5 km (8.4 miles); depth fixed by location program
    Parameters NST=350, Nph=351, Dmin=416.3 km, Rmss=1.46 sec, Gp= 29°,
    M-type=centroid moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A
    Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)

    Event ID usc0001xgp

    @borrrden ( FROM - www.scec.org ) An aftershock is actually just a normal earthquake in every physical detail. Out of context, there is no way to tell the difference between any arbitrary earthquake and an "aftershock". The only real difference between the two is that an aftershock follows closely in the wake of a larger earthquake, and in roughly the same location as its predecessor. That larger, initial earthquake is usually referred to as the "mainshock".

    More specifically, there are two guidelines for labelling an earthquake as an aftershock. First, it must occur within an "aftershock zone." This is sometimes defined as within one fault-rupture length of the mainshock rupture surface, or alternatively, within an area defined by seismologists based upon early aftershock activity. Second, it must occur within that designated area -- the "aftershock zone" -- before the seismicity rate in that area returns to its "background", meaning pre-mainshock, level. If an earthquake meets these two criteria, seismologists consider it an "aftershock."



    ===


    Japan quake loaded stress on fault closer to Tokyo


    By ROBIN McDOWELL, Associated Press Robin Mcdowell, Associated Press – Mon Mar 21, 6:37 am ET
    JAKARTA, Indonesia – The recent monster quake that hit northeastern Japan altered the earth's surface, geologists say, loading stress onto a different segment of the fault line much closer to Tokyo.

    Experts are quick to point out that this doesn't mean a powerful earthquake is necessarily about to strike the Japanese capital. Even if it did, the structure of the tectonic plates and fault lines around the city makes it unlikely that Tokyo would be hit by a quake anywhere near the intensity of the 9.0-magnitude one that struck March 11, said Roger Musson of the British Geological Survey

    But, given the vast population — Tokyo and its surroundings are home to 39 million people — any severe temblor could be devastating.

    "Even if you've got, let's say, a 7.5, that would be serious," the seismologist said.

    Japan is located on the Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanos and fault lines spanning the Pacific Basin, and is regularly hit by earthquakes.
    But before last week's quake — the largest to hit the country since it started keeping records 130 years ago — few geologists considered Japan to be a strong candidate for a 9-plus earthquake, said Andrew Moore, of Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.

    There is mounting evidence, however, that Japan has been struck by several severe quakes in the last 3,500 years — most in the northern reaches of the country. Sand deposits indicate that several quakes have spawned 30-foot-high (9-meter-high) waves that slammed into the northern island of Hokkaido, he said, the most recent in the 17th century.

    Similar deposits underlie the city of Sendai — the area rocked last week — with the most recent from an 869 A.D. tsunami that killed 1,000 people and washed more than 2.5 miles (three kilometers) inland.


    And even weaker quakes that hit Tokyo in the past have caused significant damage.

    But last week's tremor changed the coastal landscape — and not just above sea-level. It created a trench in the sea floor 240 miles long (380 kilometers long) and 120 miles wide (190 kilometers wide) as one tectonic plate dove 30 feet (nine meters) beneath another, said Eric Fielding of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
    While that relieved stress at the breaking point, it appears to have piled pressure onto adjacent segments, said Brian Atwater, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

    That added strain could now trigger a strong, deadly aftershock on Tokyo's doorstep.

    It's a common occurrence after strong quakes and happened after the 2004 mega-earthquake and tsunami off Indonesia that killed 230,000 people in a dozen nations.

    Three months later, an 8.6-magnitude quake erupted farther down the fault line, killing 1,000 people on sparsely populated Nias island.

    "But it's difficult to say," said Atwater. "There are good examples of such stresses leading to other earthquakes, big earthquakes, and there are good examples of that not happening."

    Scientists are studying the March 11 quake and ongoing seismic activity to determine where new strains might be building.

    "When the main shock is this big, you get a football-shaped region where aftershocks are fair game. It extends in all directions," including toward Tokyo, USGS seismologist Susan Hough and other experts said.

    But, they acknowledge, it's hard to keep up.

    "We are drinking from a fire hose here. The input data keeps changing and augmenting," Ross Stein, of the USGS, wrote in an e-mail.

    His focus now is on the fragment of the Pacific tectonic plate lodged beneath Tokyo — movement of which is believed to have caused a 7.3-magnitude quake in 1855 that killed an estimated 7,000 people.

    "We believe ... the faults which bound the fragment were brought closer to failure by the magnitude-9 quake," Ross said.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Margie Mason in Hanoi and Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.



    ==
    BREAKINGVIEWS-Crude markets are being bullied by black swans18 Mar 2011 09:49

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    By Christopher Swann

    NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Markets are now weighing two competing tail risks -- sliding demand from an injured Japan versus no-fly zones in Libya and Saudi troops in Bahrain. But in the absence of black swans(An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult to predict. This term was popularized by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a finance professor and former Wall Street trader.

    ), the abundant flow of oil should eventually drive Brent below $100.

    Full view will be published shortly.


    <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Get Breakingviews alerts directly to your inbox three times a day. To sign up click here: http://online.thomsonreuters.com/3000XtraBVRegistration


    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>


    CONTEXT NEWS

    -- The United Nations Security Council voted on March 17 to impose a no-fly zone on Libya. Earlier that day, the leader of the largest Bahraini opposition group called on Saudi Arabia to withdraw its forces from the Gulf Arab state, which has been rocked by protests over the past month.

    -- Economists have been scaling back forecasts for Japanese economic growth in the wake of the earthquake. Credit Agricole now expects three quarters of economic contraction, with a drop of 1.2 percent in second quarter GDP. Even with higher spending on reconstruction, the bank said the economy might show no growth at all for the fiscal year 2011. The bank estimated the economic damage at $188 billion -- or 3 percent of GDP.
    -- Energy Information Administration brief on Japan: http://link.reuters.com/gab68r

    -- Reuters story: UN approves military force; Gaddafi closes on rebels [ID:nLDE72H00K]

    -- Reuters ANALYSIS-Japan heading back into recession, strong yen adds to pressures [ID:nL3E7EH052]


    RELATED COLUMNS

    No man is an island [ID:nLDE72E0SP]

    Oil out of friends [ID:nN09107573]

    -- The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

    -- For previous columns by the author, Reuters customers can click on [SWANN]

    (Aditional reporting by Una Galani)

    (Editing by Robert Cole, Hugo Dixon and David Evans)




    =========
    FACTBOX-Japan disaster in figures
    18 Mar 2011 09:06

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    (* indicates a new or updated entry)

    March 18 (Reuters) - The following is a list of the likely impact of and response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that rocked the northeast coast of Japan on Friday, and subsequent crisis at nuclear power plants.


    DEATH TOLL

    * The death toll is expected to exceed 10,000, with northeastern prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima most severely hit. At least 6,539 people were confirmed dead, exceeding 6,434 who died after the Kobe earthquake in 1995. But 10,354 people are still missing, National Police Agency of Japan says on Friday .


    NUMBER OF PEOPLE EVACUATED

    * More than 410,000 people in 12 prefectures have been evacuated and are staying at shelters, Mainichi news paper reports on Friday. Hundreds of people are waiting for help in isolated areas and have no access to food.


    NUMBER OF PEOPLE WITHOUT ELECTRICITY, WATER

    * Nearly 320,000 households in the north are without electricity in near-freezing weather as of Friday afternoon, Tohuku Electric Power Co. says.


    NUMBER OF BUILDING DAMAGED

    * At least 87,772 buildings have been damaged, National Police Agency of Japan says on Friday.


    IMPACT ON ECONOMY

    -- Citigroup expects 5-10 trillion yen in damage to housing and infrastructure, while Barclays Capital estimates economic losses of 15 trillion yen ($183.7 billion) or 3 percent of Japan's GDP.

    UBS expects Japan's economy to grow 1.4 percent this year, compared with its previous forecast of 1.5 percent expansion. But it upgraded its growth forecast for 2012 to 2.5 percent, up from the previous estimate of 2.1 percent.

    - Goldman Sachs expects total economic losses is likely to hit 16 trillion yen, while it expects real GDP to decline by 0.5-2 percent in the second quarter.


    NUMBER OF COUNTRIES OFFERING AID

    * According to Japanese foreign ministry, 117 countries and 29 international organisations have offered assistance. By Thursady, teams from 14 countries/regions have arrived to help, though some have already left. A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived on Friday.

    ($1=81.66 Yen) (Compiled by Yoko Nishikawa; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

    ===



    SNAPSHOT-Japan's nuclear crisis22 Mar 2011 03:20

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    (* indicates a new or updated entry)

    TOKYO, March 21 (Reuters) - Following are main developments after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeast Japan and crippled a nuclear power station, raising the risk of uncontrolled radiation.

    (For the main story, click )

    - Japan's Trade Minister says it is hard to say the situation around the quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is heading in a safe direction as steam appeared to be rising on Tuesday from the plant's reactor number 2 and a white haze was rising from reactor number 3.

    - Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), operator of the stricken Fukushima plant, says the steam from the reactors is not problematic and it has resumed work on restoring power to reactors Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4.

    - Engineers have re-established power cables to all six reactors and have started a pump at one of them to to cool overheating fuel rods.

    - The World Health Organisation says the detection of radiation in food is a more serious problem than first expected, and food contamination is not a localised problem. It says, however, there is no evidence of contaminated food from Fukushima reaching other countries.

    - TEPCO says a small trace of radiation had been found in the Pacific nearby, but officials stressed the levels were minute and posed no immediate danger.

    - China and South Korea say they will toughen radioactivity tests on imports of Japanese food, and Japan tells four prefectures near the nuclear plant to halt shipments of spinach.

    - Government also bans milk shipments from Fukushima province.

    - Government says Japanese food produced outside the nuclear crisis zone is safe.

    - Official death toll from earthquake and tsunami 8,450 with 12,931 missing. Police say more than 15,000 feared dead in Miyagi prefecture alone.

    - The U.N. atomic agency chief said on Monday that Japan's nuclear situation remained very serious but that he had no doubt the country would "effectively overcome" the crisis.

    - If engineers are unable to cool the reactor, the last option would be entombing the plant with concrete and sand to prevent a catastrophic radiation leak, the method used at Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986.

    - The health ministry said that radiation levels exceeded safety standards in Fukushima and nearby Ibaraki prefecture. It said it had prohibited the sale of raw milk from Fukushima prefecture.

    * Government renews invitation to main opposition to form a grand coalition to deal with the disaster, but opposition rejects it.

    - The earthquake and tsunami will depress growth briefly before reconstruction kicks off and gives the beleaguered economy a boost, the World Bank says in a report.

    (Tokyo bureau; Compiled by World Desk Asia)





    ===



    Q+A-Risks at each reactor of Japan's stricken plant explained
    17 Mar 2011 12:10

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    (Updates news on reactor No 3)

    TOKYO, March 17 (Reuters) - The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant at the centre of Japan's crisis has six reactors. The plant is operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO).

    The following summarises what is happening at each unit, and the major risks:

    PDF version: http://r.reuters.com/wys58r

    WHICH REACTORS ARE MOST AT RISK?


    REACTOR No 3: 784-MW (Manufacturer Toshiba)

    -- What is happening:

    Helicopters and trucks were used to water down reactors as authorities reiterated on Thursday that resolving problems at the plant -- the only unit to include plutonium in its fuel mix -- was the priority.

    White smoke coming from the plant could be steam evaporating from the spent fuel pool, the Japan nuclear agency said on Thursday. It said pressure in the reactor was rising again.

    Radiation readings at the reactor are the highest at the Daiichi complex, TEPCO said on Wednesday.

    There was an explosion at reactor 3 on Monday.

    -- What are the risks:

    The major concern is that any steam coming from the plant will carry radiation into the atmosphere. It's not clear where this could be coming from.

    Chief Cabinet Minister Yukio Edano said on Wednesday there is a "possibility" the primary containment vessel, the first line of defence against a radiation leak, had been damaged, Kyodo reported. The reactors also have a secondary containment building. (see below: CONTAINMENT -- WHAT IS IT?)

    However, the Japan nuclear agency noted the steam could be coming from the spent fuel pool. That would indicate that water covering the spent fuel is evaporating, which in turn could mean the vapour is carrying off radiation.

    The spent fuel pool presents a significant radiation risk if its contents are exposed to the atmosphere. When fuel rods are exposed to the air, zirconium metal on the rods will catch fire, which could release radiation contained in the fuel, said Arnie Gundersen, a 29-year veteran of the nuclear industry who is now chief engineer at Fairwinds Associates Inc.

    Plutonium is considered more hazardous than uranium.


    REACTOR No 4: 784-MW (Manufacturer Hitachi)

    -- What is happening:

    There is no water in the spent fuel pool and radiation levels are extremely high, the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in Washington on Wednesday.

    However, TEPCO said on Thursday that as of Wednesday the spent fuel pool still had water in it.

    TV on Wednesday showed smoke or steam rising from the facility after flames were seen earlier in the day. The reactor had been shut down for maintenance when the earthquake and tsunami struck.

    On Tuesday, the spent fuel pool caught fire and caused an explosion. Japan's nuclear safety agency says the blast punctured two holes around 8-metres square in the wall of the outer building of the reactor.

    -- What are the risks:

    Exposure of spent fuel to the atmosphere is serious because there is more radiation in the spent fuel than in the reactor, said Gundersen. The spent fuel pool is not inside a containment facility either.

    "They need to keep water in those pools because the roof over the building housing the pools is already damaged and radiation will escape," he said.

    The pools contain racks that hold spent fuel taken from the reactor. Operators need to constantly add water to the pool to keep the fuel submerged so that radiation cannot escape.

    Exposing the spent fuel to the atmosphere will release radiation.


    REACTOR No 2: 784-MW (Manufacturer: GE, Toshiba)

    -- What is happening:

    TEPCO plans to run a cable to reactors No 1 and No 2 to try to restore power to the water cooling system, the Japan nuclear agency said on Thursday.

    An explosion rocked the plant on Tuesday, damaging a suppression pool, into which steam is vented from the reactor to relieve pressure. The roof of the reactor building is damaged, Jiji news agency reported.

    TEPCO said on Tuesday the fuel rods were fully exposed. An estimated 33 percent of the nuclear fuel rods have been damaged at the No 2 reactor, Kyodo quoted TEPCO as saying on Wednesday.

    However, on Wednesday, Japan's nuclear agency said the pumping of sea water into the reactor was proceeding smoothly.

    -- What are the risks:

    When fuel rods are no longer covered in coolant they can heat up and start to melt, raising the risk of a radiation leak and in a worst-case scenario a full meltdown.

    The suppression pool is part of the primary containment vessel, which is designed to prevent a leak, but the IAEA said the blast "may have affected the integrity of its primary containment vessel."

    Still, beyond the primary containment vessel is the containment building, which is also designed to prevent radiation from escaping.


    REACTOR No 1: 460-MW (Manufacturer GE)

    -- What is happening:

    Japan's nuclear safety agency said on Thursday the reactor, along with units No 5 and No 6, was relatively stable for now.

    Earlier on Thursday, it said that TEPCO planned to run a cable to reactors No 1 and No 2 to try to restore power to the water cooling system.

    An explosion occurred at the reactor on Saturday. Kyodo quoted TEPCO as saying on Wednesday that an estimated 70 percent of the nuclear fuel rods have been damaged.

    The Japan nuclear agency said on Wednesday the pumping of sea water into the reactor was proceeding smoothly.

    -- What are the risks:

    The IAEA said on Tuesday the primary containment vessel appeared intact. If the fuel rods in the reactor are not covered by coolant, they can heat up and start to melt.


    REACTOR No 5: 784-MW (Manufacturer Toshiba)

    -- What is happening:

    The reactor is now being powered by a diesel generator shared with unit No 6.

    The reactor had been shut down for maintenance at the time of the quake and tsunami.

    TEPCO said on Wednesday water was being poured into the reactor and that temperatures in the spent fuel pool were rising slightly.

    -- What is the risk:

    Reactor 5 and reactor 6 are seen less at risk than reactors 1 to 4.


    REACTOR No 6: 1,100-MW (Manufacturer GE, Toshiba)

    -- What is happening:

    The reactor is now being powered by a diesel generator shared with unit No 5.

    TEPCO said on Wednesday water was being poured into the reactor and that temperatures in the spent fuel pool were rising slightly.

    -- What is the risk:

    Reactor 5 and reactor 6 are seen less at risk than reactors 1 to 4.


    WHAT ARE THE RADIATION LEVELS, WIND DIRECTION?

    -- Radiation levels were higher than normal but not dangerous, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said on Thursday.

    -- They were measured at 338 microsieverts per hour at the west gate at 2000 GMT March 16 (5 am local time March 17). If a person stands outdoors for a year, they would be exposed to a radiation level of 400 microsieverts, the agency said.

    -- The wind is blowing northwest-to-southeast, towards the Pacific Ocean, Japan Meteorological Agency said.


    CONTAINMENT -- WHAT IS IT?

    Each reactor is surrounded by a primary containment vessel. This is made of strengthened steel four-to-eight inches thick. It provides the most critical line of defence against leaking radiation from the reactor.

    Should there be a breach, there is another, final line of defence to prevent radiation leaks: a bigger containment building made of steel and concrete. A breach of the containment building would release radiation into the atmosphere.

    (Compiled by World Desk Asia)

    ===

    Japan quake reveals flaw in global supply chain
    -- The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

    By Wayne Arnold
    HONG KONG, March 23 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Japan's earthquake and tsunami has revealed that a leaner global supply chain may not be a stronger one. A string of major carmakers including Toyota and Honda have delayed production after damage, not to assembly lines, but to parts suppliers. Japan's automakers pioneered more efficient, low-cost supply chains. Their success means events in one place echo globally.
    Hiccups in production have emerged only slowly, but have taken their toll on share prices. Toyota and Honda's have fallen more than 9 percent since the quake, while Nissan's has dropped almost 14 percent. That may seem strange considering that the prefectures at the centre of the damage account for less than 5 percent of Japanese manufacturing and that most cars are built in western Japan or overseas.

    But a handful of materials and components factories have an outsized importance to global supply chains. Even where production lines haven't been destroyed, aftershocks mean suppliers have trouble recalibrating precision equipment. Power shortages will be a problem for months.

    Thank Nissan. For decades, Japan's carmakers relied on legions of small, captive suppliers. Vertical integration made just-in-time delivery possible, paring inventories. When he took control in 2000, Carlos Ghosn broke Nissan's exclusive ties with suppliers and started sourcing globally. Competitors followed suit, forcing many parts makers to merge and look for additional customers.


    That has forced consolidation in the supply chain. Yet as parts have become more sophisticated, including in many cases advanced microcomputers, Japan has retained control over production. The country still makes 72 percent of the world's silicon wafers, according to Credit Suisse. It makes 32 percent of the world's cars, but 74 percent of the navigation systems that go in them.

    Flat supply chains are supposed to reduce a buyer's exposure to a single supplier or location. Instead, the opposite has happened, and some suppliers at the high end of the market have thrived and grown. Small suppliers once relied on by one big buyer have been supplanted by big suppliers that are relied on by companies all over the world.

    Even General Motors has complained of an as-yet unquantified hit to production. Japan's innovation may become everyone's problem.

    CONTEXT NEWS
    -- Toyota has halted operations at its 12 main assembly plants in Japan until at least March 26, resulting in the delay of 140,000 new vehicles. It will also postpone the launch of the Prius wagon and minivan models in Japan from the original plan for the end of April. Toyota said it was having trouble with supplies of electronics, rubber and plastic components.
    -- Honda extended its production halt in Japan to March 27. It said one-fifth of its closest Japan-based suppliers affected by the earthquake had told it they would need more than a week to recover.
    -- Fuji Heavy Industries, which makes Subaru-brand cars, said all five of its car and parts-related plants north of Tokyo will be shut at least until Thursday, pushing back a previously planned restart on March 22. It expected to resume producing vehicle parts for overseas assembly on March 23 and of vehicle repair parts the following day.
    -- Nissan resumed limited operations at five of its plants in Japan on March 21 with vehicle production set to start on March 24. Nissan said production of parts for overseas manufacturing restarted at five separate plants. Restoration of its Iwaki engine plant in northern Japan will take longer than the other plants, it said.
    -- Mazda resumed limited operations at its Hiroshima and Yamaguchi plants on March 22 to produce vehicle repair parts, vehicle parts to be shipped to overseas plants and semi-finished goods.

    ((wayne.arnold@thomsonreuters.com))
    (Editing by John Foley and David Evans)





    ==


    FACTBOX-Japan quake impact on auto makers, electronics firms21 Mar 2011 06:12

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    March 21 (Reuters) - Following is a roundup of the impact of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami on auto makers and electronics makers.

    Plant shutdowns in Japan threaten supplies to manufacturers across the globe of everything from semiconductors to car parts.



    AUTO MAKERS

    * Toyota Motor Co has halted operations at its 12 main assembly plants in Japan. That closure has been extended to Tuesday (March 22), and will result in lost production of 95,000 vehicles. From Monday (March 21), Toyota had said it would begin making car parts at plants near its base in Toyota City, central Japan, for overseas assembly facilities. It had said it would resume this week making parts for service centres to repair vehicles already on the road.
    * Honda Motor Co is extending the production halt in Japan to Wednesday (March 23) from March 20. Honda's announcement came after the automaker distributed a memo to U.S. dealers saying it would review each dealers' product allotments for vehicles to be built after May. Honda made 69,170 cars in January in Japan, which accounts for a round a quarter of its production.

    * Nissan Motor Co said Monday it resumed limited operations at five of its plants in Japan with vehicle production set to start Thursday. Nissan said production of repair parts for overseas manufacturing restarted at its Oppama, Tochigi, Yokohama, Kyushu and Nissan Shatai plants. Vehicle production will start Thursday and will continue while supplies last, the company said. Restoration of its Iwaki engine plant in northern Japan will take longer than the other plants, the company said. Nissan made 81,851 cars in January in Japan, where it manufactures 23 percent of its vehicles. Goldman Sachs has calculated that one day's lost production costs Nissan about 2 billion yen in profit.

    * Mazda Motor Corp said it plans to suspend production at two plants in southwestern Japan until Sunday (March 20), but has not yet decided how to proceed after that.

    * Fuji Heavy Industries Co said all five of its car and parts-related plants for its Subaru-brand vehicles in Gunma prefecture, north of Tokyo, will be shut at least until Sunday.

    * Renault Samsung, the South Korean unit of French car maker Renault SA , said it will cut back on weekend and overtime production because of a potential parts shortage.

    * General Motors , the largest U.S. automaker, said it would temporarily idle its pick-up truck plant in Louisiana due to a parts shortage. GM's South Korean unit said it, too, was considering cutting back on weekend and overtime production.

    ELECTRONICS MAKERS:

    * Sony Corp said on Monday it planned to partially re-start a lithium ion battery factory in Tochigi prefecture on Tuesday, leaving six plants, which make an array of devices from IC cards to Blu-ray discs, closed. Sony is not sure when the plants will resume operations. Some of the plants' output is supplied to other manufacturers, including customers overseas.

    * Toshiba said on Monday output was still halted at a factory in Iwate prefecture making system LSI chips for microprocessors and image sensors. It has begun work to bring the factory back on-line, but has no timeframe to resume output. Toshiba said an assembly line at a plant in Japan making small liquid crystal displays for smartphones and other devices will be closed for a month to repair damaged machinery.

    * Canon said late on Friday production would be halted at all three domestic camera factories on Tuesday and at least two of them will remain closed on Wednesday. The world's largest maker of digital cameras said it was having difficulty securing necessary parts.

    * Nikon Corp said four of its production facilities were closed, including two of its precision-equipment plants, but the effect on cameras and lenses is seen as minor, since most output for those devices is in Thailand. Nikon does not have a timetable to re-open the plants.

    * Panasonic said none of its northern Japan manufacturing facilities, including those making optical pick-ups and other electronic parts, digital cameras and audio equipment, were badly damaged, but it would take time to resume operations as infrastructure needed to be restored.

    * Renesas , the world's No.5 chipmaker, said it has halted operations at 8 of its facilities and was unsure when it would restart production there.
    OTHERS

    * Shin-Etsu Chemical , the world's leading maker of silicon wafers, said two of its plants near the worst-hit areas remain offline. The firm has not said when it will restart operations. Some of the wafers made here are shipped to chip companies overseas. Shin-Etsu is trying to boost production elsewhere, particularly of 300-millimetre wafers, to make up the shortfall.

    * Jamco , a Japanese company making galleys for the long-awaited Boeing 787 Dreamliner, said delivery of the component could be delayed if gasoline becomes even more scarce. (Reporting by Tim Kelly, Isabel Reynolds, Kentaro Sugiyama and James Topham; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Matt Driskill)



    ==


    FACTBOX Japan quake impact on auto makers, electronics firms

    17 Mar 2011 06:02

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    March 17 (Reuters) - The following is a roundup of the effect on auto makers and electronics makers following Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

    For a factbox on the status of utilities, refineries, smelters and ports, click

    Crippled reactors at a nuclear power complex has raised fears of an uncontrolled radiation leak.


    AUTO MAKERS

    - Toyota Motor Co said it will halt operations at its 12 main assembly plants in Japan, extending the suspension until March 22. The closure of the factories, since Monday, will result in lost production of 95,000 vehicles.

    But it will restart production of spare parts on Thursday at seven plants near its base in Toyota City, central Japan, to be shipped to service centres for repairs to Toyota vehicles already on the road. From March 21, Toyota will also begin making car parts at the same plant for assembly factories overseas.


    - Honda Motor Co is suspending all production in Japan until at least Sunday. Honda manufactured 69,170 cars in January in Japan, where it made 24 percent of its cars.

    - Nissan Motor Co said output has been stopped at three out of four of its car assembly factories in Japan. Nissan made 81,851 cars in January in Japan, where it manufactured 23 percent of its vehicles.

    It will resume production on March 17 and March 18 at its Kyushu plant while supply inventory lasted. Operations after Saturday March 19 were yet to be decided.

    Goldman Sachs said in a report that rough calculations indicated the profit impact of stopping production for one day would be about 6 billion yen ($74.3 million) for Toyota and 2 billion yen for Honda and Nissan.
    - Mazda Motor Corp said it still plans to suspend production at two plants in southwestern Japan to March 20, but has not decided on how to proceed after that.

    - Fuji Heavy Industries Co said all five of its car and car parts-related plants for its Subaru-brand vehicles in Gunma prefecture, north of Tokyo, will be closed until at least Sunday.


    ELECTRONICS MAKERS:

    - Sony Corp opened one factory, which makes optical films, used in LCDs and also manufactures adhesives, on Wednesday. Seven plants, which make an array of devices from IC cards to blu ray discs to lithium batteries, remain closed.

    Sony is not sure when the plans will resume operations. Some of the plants' output is supplied to other manufacturers, including customers overseas.

    - Toshiba said output was still halted at a factory in Iwate prefecture making system LSI chips used in microprocessors and image sensors. It has begun work to bring the factory back on line but has no time frame to resume output.

    Toshiba said on Thursday an assembly line in a plant in Japan making small liquid crystal displays for smartphones and other devices will be closed for a month to repair damanged machinery.

    - Canon said it may not be able to resume production this week at three plants that sustained serious damage in the quake. One manufactures lenses, another makes ink jet printers and the third produces equipment for manufacturing LCD screens.

    Canon said it was also forced to suspend production until Friday at one of its main plants in Oita, on the southern island of Kyushu, where it makes cameras, lenses and compact photo printers. The world's largest maker of digital cameras said it was having difficulty securing necessary parts.

    - Nikon Corp said four of its production facilities were closed, including two out of its precision equipment plants, but the effect on cameras and lenses is seen as minor, since almost all output for those devices is done in Thailand. Nikon does not have a timetable to re-open the plants.

    - Panasonic said none of its manufacturing northern Japan facilities, including those making optical pick-ups and other electronic parts, digital cameras and audio equipment were badly damaged but it would take time to resume operations as infrastructure needed to be restored.
    - Renesas , the world's No. 5 chipmaker, said it has halted operations at eight of its facilities and was unsure when it would restart production at the locations.


    OTHERS

    - Shin-Etsu Chemical , the world's leading maker of silicon wafers, said two of its plants near the worst-hit areas remain offline. The firm is unable to say when it will restart operations.

    A portion of the silicon wafer production at these plants is shipped to chip companies overseas. The company is trying to boost production elsewhere, particularly of 300-millimetre wafers, to make up the shortfall.
    ($1 = 80.72 Japanese Yen) (Reporting by Tim Kelly, Isabel Reynolds, Kentaro Sugiyama and James Topham; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Anshuman Daga)


    ===

    Japan insurance assoc head: no need to swap dollars to yen for payouts
    17 Mar 2011 06:37

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    TOKYO, March 17 (Reuters) - The head of a Japanese insurance association said he saw no need for insurers to swap dollars for yen to fund payouts following last week's massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

    Hisahito Suzuki, chairman of the general insurance association of Japan, said earlier on Thursday that that insurers faced the biggest-ever payout for damages caused in Friday's quake. (Reporting by Noriyuki Hirata; Editing by Nathan Layne)



    ===



    Status Update – 3/14/11 at 1:00 pm EST (Source – The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC)) →Modified version of original post written by Josef Oehmen
    Posted on March 13, 2011 by mitnse
    This post originally appeared on Morgsatlarge. It has been migrated to this location which is hosted and maintained by the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Members of the NSE community have edited the original post and will be monitoring and posting comments, updates, and new information. Please visit to learn more.
    ***Note that the title of the original blog does not reflect the views of the authors of the site. The authors have been monitoring the situation, and are presenting facts on the situation as they develop. The original article was adopted as the authors believed it provided a good starting point to provide a summary background on the events at the Fukushima plant.***

    The original post written by Dr Josef Oehmen “Why I am not worried about Japan’snuclear reactors.” are being reposted in different languages. They have not been checked / verified.

    •Japanese
    •German
    •Spanish

    We will have to cover some fundamentals, before we get into what is going on.

    Construction of the Fukushima nuclear power plants

    The plants at Fukushima are Boiling Water Reactors (BWR for short). A BWR produces electricity by boiling water, and spinning a a turbine with that steam. The nuclear fuel heats water, the water boils and creates steam, the steam then drives turbines that create the electricity, and the steam is then cooled and condensed back to water, and the water returns to be heated by the nuclear fuel. The reactor operates at about 285 °C.

    The nuclear fuel is uranium oxide. Uranium oxide is a ceramic with a very high melting point of about 2800 °C. The fuel is manufactured in pellets (cylinders that are about 1 cm tall and 1 com in diameter). These pellets are then put into a long tube made of Zircaloy (an alloy of zirconium) with a failure temperature of 1200 °C (caused by the auto-catalytic oxidation of water), and sealed tight. This tube is called a fuel rod. These fuel rods are then put together to form assemblies, of which several hundred make up the reactor core.

    The solid fuel pellet (a ceramic oxide matrix) is the first barrier that retains many of the radioactive fission products produced by the fission process. The Zircaloy casing is the second barrier to release that separates the radioactive fuel from the rest of the reactor.

    The core is then placed in the pressure vessel. The pressure vessel is a thick steel vessel that operates at a pressure of about 7 MPa (~1000 psi), and is designed to withstand the high pressures that may occur during an accident. The pressure vessel is the third barrier to radioactive material release.

    The entire primary loop of the nuclear reactor – the pressure vessel, pipes, and pumps that contain the coolant (water) – are housed in the containment structure. This structure is the fourth barrier to radioactive material release. The containment structure is a hermetically (air tight) sealed, very thick structure made of steel and concrete. This structure is designed, built and tested for one single purpose: To contain, indefinitely, a complete core meltdown. To aid in this purpose, a large, thick concrete structure is poured around the containment structure and is referred to as the secondary containment.

    Both the main containment structure and the secondary containment structure are housed in the reactor building. The reactor building is an outer shell that is supposed to keep the weather out, but nothing in. (this is the part that was damaged in the explosions, but more to that later).

    Fundamentals of nuclear reactions

    The uranium fuel generates heat by neutron-induced nuclear fission. Uranium atoms are split into lighter atoms (aka fission products). This process generates heat and more neutrons (one of the particles that forms an atom). When one of these neutrons hits another uranium atom, that atom can split, generating more neutrons and so on. That is called the nuclear chain reaction. During normal, full-power operation, the neutron population in a core is stable (remains the same) and the reactor is in a critical state.

    It is worth mentioning at this point that the nuclear fuel in a reactor can never cause a nuclear explosion like a nuclear bomb. At Chernobyl, the explosion was caused by excessive pressure buildup, hydrogen explosion and rupture of all structures, propelling molten core material into the environment. Note that Chernobyl did not have a containment structure as a barrier to the environment. Why that did not and will not happen in Japan, is discussed further below.

    In order to control the nuclear chain reaction, the reactor operators use control rods. The control rods are made of boron which absorbs neutrons. During normal operation in a BWR, the control rods are used to maintain the chain reaction at a critical state. The control rods are also used to shut the reactor down from 100% power to about 7% power (residual or decay heat).

    The residual heat is caused from the radioactive decay of fission products. Radioactive decay is the process by which the fission products stabilize themselves by emitting energy in the form of small particles (alpha, beta, gamma, neutron, etc.). There is a multitude of fission products that are produced in a reactor, including cesium and iodine. This residual heat decreases over time after the reactor is shutdown, and must be removed by cooling systems to prevent the fuel rod from overheating and failing as a barrier to radioactive release. Maintaining enough cooling to remove the decay heat in the reactor is the main challenge in the affected reactors in Japan right now.

    It is important to note that many of these fission products decay (produce heat) extremely quickly, and become harmless by the time you spell “R-A-D-I-O-N-U-C-L-I-D-E.” Others decay more slowly, like some cesium, iodine, strontium, and argon.

    What happened at Fukushima (as of March 12, 2011)

    The following is a summary of the main facts. The earthquake that hit Japan was several times more powerful than the worst earthquake the nuclear power plant was built for (the Richter scale works logarithmically; for example the difference between an 8.2 and the 8.9 that happened is 5 times, not 0.7).

    When the earthquake hit, the nuclear reactors all automatically shutdown. Within seconds after the earthquake started, the control rods had been inserted into the core and the nuclear chain reaction stopped. At this point, the cooling system has to carry away the residual heat, about 7% of the full power heat load under normal operating conditions.

    The earthquake destroyed the external power supply of the nuclear reactor. This is a challenging accident for a nuclear power plant, and is referred to as a “loss of offsite power.” The reactor and its backup systems are designed to handle this type of accident by including backup power systems to keep the coolant pumps working. Furthermore, since the power plant had been shut down, it cannot produce any electricity by itself.

    For the first hour, the first set of multiple emergency diesel power generators started and provided the electricity that was needed. However, when the tsunami arrived (a very rare and larger than anticipated tsunami) it flooded the diesel generators, causing them to fail.

    One of the fundamental tenets of nuclear power plant design is “Defense in Depth.” This approach leads engineers to design a plant that can withstand severe catastrophes, even when several systems fail. A large tsunami that disables all the diesel generators at once is such a scenario, but the tsunami of March 11th was beyond all expectations. To mitigate such an event, engineers designed an extra line of defense by putting everything into the containment structure (see above), that is designed to contain everything inside the structure.

    When the diesel generators failed after the tsunami, the reactor operators switched to emergency battery power. The batteries were designed as one of the backup systems to provide power for cooling the core for 8 hours. And they did.

    After 8 hours, the batteries ran out, and the residual heat could not be carried away any more. At this point the plant operators begin to follow emergency procedures that are in place for a “loss of cooling event.” These are procedural steps following the “Depth in Defense” approach. All of this, however shocking it seems to us, is part of the day-to-day training you go through as an operator.

    At this time people started talking about the possibility of core meltdown, because if cooling cannot be restored, the core will eventually melt (after several days), and will likely be contained in the containment. Note that the term “meltdown” has a vague definition. “Fuel failure” is a better term to describe the failure of the fuel rod barrier (Zircaloy). This will occur before the fuel melts, and results from mechanical, chemical, or thermal failures (too much pressure, too much oxidation, or too hot).

    However, melting was a long ways from happening and at this time, the primary goal was to manage the core while it was heating up, while ensuring that the fuel cladding remain intact and operational for as long as possible.

    Because cooling the core is a priority, the reactor has a number of independent and diverse cooling systems (the reactor water cleanup system, the decay heat removal, the reactor core isolating cooling, the standby liquid cooling system, and others that make up the emergency core cooling system). Which one(s) failed when or did not fail is not clear at this point in time.

    Since the operators lost most of their cooling capabilities due to the loss of power, they had to use whatever cooling system capacity they had to get rid of as much heat as possible. But as long as the heat production exceeds the heat removal capacity, the pressure starts increasing as more water boils into steam. The priority now is to maintain the integrity of the fuel rods by keeping the temperature below 1200°C, as well as keeping the pressure at a manageable level. In order to maintain the pressure of the system at a manageable level, steam (and other gases present in the reactor) have to be released from time to time. This process is important during an accident so the pressure does not exceed what the components can handle, so the reactor pressure vessel and the containment structure are designed with several pressure relief valves. So to protect the integrity of the vessel and containment, the operators started venting steam from time to time to control the pressure.

    As mentioned previously, steam and other gases are vented. Some of these gases are radioactive fission products, but they exist in small quantities. Therefore, when the operators started venting the system, some radioactive gases were released to the environment in a controlled manner (ie in small quantities through filters and scrubbers). While some of these gases are radioactive, they did not pose a significant risk to public safety to even the workers on site. This procedure is justified as its consequences are very low, especially when compared to the potential consequences of not venting and risking the containment structures’ integrity.

    During this time, mobile generators were transported to the site and some power was restored. However, more water was boiling off and being vented than was being added to the reactor, thus decreasing the cooling ability of the remaining cooling systems. At some stage during this venting process, the water level may have dropped below the top of the fuel rods. Regardless, the temperature of some of the fuel rod cladding exceeded 1200 °C, initiating a reaction between the Zircaloy and water. This oxidizing reaction produces hydrogen gas, which mixes with the gas-steam mixture being vented. This is a known and anticipated process, but the amount of hydrogen gas produced was unknown because the operators didn’t know the exact temperature of the fuel rods or the water level. Since hydrogen gas is extremely combustible, when enough hydrogen gas is mixed with air, it reacts with oxygen. If there is enough hydrogen gas, it will react rapidly, producing an explosion. At some point during the venting process enough hydrogen gas built up inside the containment (there is no air in the containment), so when it was vented to the air an explosion occurred. The explosion took place outside of the containment, but inside and around the reactor building (which has no safety function). Note that a subsequent and similar explosion occurred at the Unit 3 reactor. This explosion destroyed the top and some of the sides of the reactor building, but did not damage the containment structure or the pressure vessel. While this was not an anticipated event, it happened outside the containment and did not pose a risk to the plant’s safety structures.

    Since some of the fuel rod cladding exceeded 1200 °C, some fuel damage occurred. The nuclear material itself was still intact, but the surrounding Zircaloy shell had started failing. At this time, some of the radioactive fission products (cesium, iodine, etc.) started to mix with the water and steam. It was reported that a small amount of cesium and iodine was measured in the steam that was released into the atmosphere.

    Since the reactor’s cooling capability was limited, and the water inventory in the reactor was decreasing, engineers decided to inject sea water (mixed with boric acid – a neutron absorber) to ensure the rods remain covered with water. Although the reactor had been shut down, boric acid is added as a conservative measure to ensure the reactor stays shut down. Boric acid is also capable of trapping some of the remaining iodine in the water so that it cannot escape, however this trapping is not the primary function of the boric acid.

    The water used in the cooling system is purified, demineralized water. The reason to use pure water is to limit the corrosion potential of the coolant water during normal operation. Injecting seawater will require more cleanup after the event, but provided cooling at the time.

    This process decreased the temperature of the fuel rods to a non-damaging level. Because the reactor had been shut down a long time ago, the decay heat had decreased to a significantly lower level, so the pressure in the plant stabilized, and venting was no longer required.

    ***UPDATE – 3/14 8:15 pm EST***

    Units 1 and 3 are currently in a stable condition according to TEPCO press releases, but the extent of the fuel damage is unknown. That said, radiation levels at the Fukushima plant have fallen to 231 micro sieverts (23.1 millirem) as of 2:30 pm March 14th (local time).

    ***UPDATE – 3/14 10:55 pm EST***

    The details about what happened at the Unit 2 reactor are still being determined. The post on what is happening at the Unit 2 reactor contains more up-to-date information. Radiation levels have increased, but to what level remains unknown.



    ===


    Japan may need to revise land-use policies after tsunami - expert15 Mar 2011 14:47

    Source: alertnet // Megan Rowling


    Rescue workers search for victims in the rubble in Rikuzentakata, northern Japan after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

    LONDON (AlertNet) - Japan’s state-of-the-art early warning system proved its worth despite the devastation caused by last week’s earthquake and tsunami, but the country will now need to look carefully at how it uses land when reconstructing in vulnerable coastal areas, a tsunami expert has said.

    Simon Day, a tsunami researcher with the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre at University College London, said Japan's tsunami warning system had worked "as well as physically possible" after the shallow, 9.0 magnitude quake hit last Friday, triggering waves of up to 10 metres high.

    The first alert had been issued about three minutes after the start of the quake, which lasted around two minutes, Day said.

    According to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), waves of up to five metres began washing into coastal settlements almost immediately after the quake struck, with larger waves of around 10 metres swamping land around 20 minutes later.
    Despite the warnings, Day said the geography of Japan - a mountainous country with much of its population crowded onto coastal plains - made it physically difficult to escape.

    "Where there is flat, agricultural land, people move down to the coast and either accept the risk, or are not fully aware of it," Day told AlertNet. "The Japanese will need to think very carefully about reconstruction and land-use planning."

    Day said it is likely that many of those killed or seriously impacted by the tsunami waves in smaller towns and villages were the older generation who led a rural existence, and younger people may be less inclined to live in such places, as they are more drawn to cities and the jobs they offer. That could lead to a permanent depopulation of some of the worst-affected areas, he said.

    But in Japan's case, alternative options to coastal settlement are limited due to the island nation's shortage of flat land away from the sea, he added.

    LIMITATIONS OF WARNING SYSTEMS

    Japan's combined tsunami warning system and coastal defence measures, which worked "up to a point", are likely to have saved "a lot of lives", Day said.

    To get warnings out quickly the Japan Meteorological Agency and media have developed a system to superimpose alerts on TV screens as soon as they are issued. Warnings are also sent to local officials via a satellite system, who then activate sirens and loudspeaker systems, and decide if an evacuation advisory is needed.

    Japan also has built many concrete breakwaters and floodgates to protect ports and coastal areas around the country.

    But tsunami warning systems have limited effectiveness in high-risk areas close to the epicentres of earthquakes, Day said.

    "Until we can predict quakes hours or days in advance, warning systems are up against their physical limits, and we can't resolve this fundamental problem," he added.

    With lower-risk, longer-distance destinations threatened by tsunami waves, services like the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre can do a better job. The centre issued regional alerts following the Japan quake for some 24 hours afterwards, including for the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Pacific islands, New Zealand, Haiwaii and parts of Central and South America.

    The Red Cross warned a few hours after the Japan quake that the tsunami it had set off was higher than some Pacific islands it could wash over, and developing countries were at greater risk from the tsunami than Japan. Some aid groups said they were on standby to help communities in poorer parts of the region.

    But fears about widespread damage across Asia, outside of Japan, did not materialise, and the waves were smaller than predicted in most places.

    Day said quakes caused by ruptures along fault-lines tend to produce tsunami waves at right angles to the fault, so once the rupture zone has been established, it is possible to work out which direction waves are likely to travel.

    In the case of the Japan quake, where the fault ruptured along a roughly north-south axis, the west-moving waves barrelled straight into the Japanese coast. In the other direction, the waves fanned out to the east and southeast, heading towards north and south America. But their height and power were defused as they travelled far across the ocean, limiting their impact.

    Damages in California were listed at $50 million, with that number expected to rise, and in Hawaii, authorities estimated that more than $3 million in losses had occurred. Reports out of Latin America indicated that 300 homes were damaged in Peru, an update from the Aon Benfield's impact forecasting team said.

    One problem with estimating tsunamis after an earthquake is that models used to generate the location and size of a quake fault zone can take several hours to run, and may include a significant margin of error.

    "For that reason, people are reluctant (until they have clearer information from models and aftershocks) to say which way the waves are going," Day said. "So warning systems tend to be quite conservative and work on a better-safe-than-sorry basis."
    VERTICAL EVACUATION?

    One proposed solution to help people living in low-lying areas to reach safety more quickly is the deployment of "vertical evacuation refuges" - buildings high enough to elevate those in danger above the level of tsunami inundation and strong enough to withstand the waves.

    Few such structures have been built so far, possibly because they are expensive to erect. In the case of Japan's recent tsunamis, they would have had to be five or six storeys high, making them more vulnerable to quake damage, Day said.

    Sometimes the simplest and most effective way to flee a tsunami is on foot, providing local authorities have constructed easily accessible paths and steps leading up hillsides - but that depends on the geography of a particular location.

    Attempting to drive away can be risky, as some did after the Japanese tsunami warnings, if roads run along the coast and up valleys, and quickly become congested with other vehicles, Day said.
    Peversely, implementing effective warning and protective measures can also encourage residential settlement and business activity in areas threatened by quakes and tsunamis. "Putting those measures in place can make people feel safer and cause them to stay," Day said. "It becomes much more difficult to put land-use planning into place that reduces risk."



    ===


    Q+A: What's happening at Japan's nuclear power plant16 Mar 2011 06:44

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    By Elaine Lies

    March 16 (Reuters) - Japan's nuclear crisis worsened on Wednesday, with workers ordered to withdraw briefly from the stricken power plant after radiation levels spiked, just hours after smoke was seen rising from the quake-crippled nuclear facility.


    Q: What does the smoke mean?

    A: The smoke is most likely to be steam, a natural byproduct of pouring water into the reactors to cool them down and keep the fuel rods covered. Authorities are also trying to maintain water levels at a spent-fuel storage pool at the plant's No. 4 reactor, which experts now view as the real threat.

    The steam is an issue because it contains radioactive particles, but experts say these particles may not be as serious as, say, an explosion within a reactor core. So far, it appears the radiation is mostly escaping in the form of steam and some experts believe the radioactive particles could merely be dust or from rusted structures within the reactor buildings -- known as "crud" within the nuclear industry. Radiation levels have not risen significantly in Tokyo, about 240 km to the south.

    Q: Why is the situation at the spent-fuel pool a worry?

    A: Unlike the reactors themselves, which are inside two containers -- a massive steel container as well as one made of concrete -- the fuel pools are not, with meters of water on top of the rods providing safety only under normal circumstances. Another concern with reactor No. 4 is that the water levels in the pool could be falling, perhaps because the water is or has been boiling and is evaporating as steam.

    While nobody knows exactly how much damage Tuesday's explosion did to the building, the structure does have holes and some experts have said that proposals to drop boric acid particles on the reactor suggest substantial holes in the roof.

    "That's got to be protected. I'd hate to see another explosion there," said Murray Jennex, a professor at San Diego State University in California.
    Q: What can be done?

    A: Dropping boric acid could be helpful since it is both a fire suppressant and also absorbs radiation, while keeping water levels up in the pool is also essential. Finally, a fresh crew of workers should be sent into the plant since those who are in there are likely exhausted and may be making poor decisions, which could be adding to problems.
    Q: What about the spent-fuel pools at the other reactors?

    A: There are six reactors at the Daiichi complex. Three of them - no. 4 through No.6 - were offline for maintenance at the time of the quake. There are signs that water temperatures are also rising at No.5 and No.6 spent-fuel pools.

    But the spent fuel at these two pools, as well as at the three reactors that were online at the time of the quake, is all older and thus less likely to pose an overheating threat.
    Q: What about the other reactors?

    A: There have been explosions at reactors No.1, No.2 and No.3, and suspicions that the suppression pool at No. 2 may have been damaged. But experts say that current low radiation levels suggest that the container vessels at these reactors are by and large holding, and that they're actually more optimistic about this situation than they were on Tuesday.

    Doubt does remain about possible damage to the suppression pool at No. 2, but these are "overdesigned" to cope with a certain amount of damage.

    Q: What do we need to watch out for?

    A: Steadily rising radiation levels are the main worry, along with a fall in the water level in the spent fuel pool. Radiation levels at the plant's main gate spiked on Wednesday morning but have since fallen back, which is a good sign.

    "If we have the water level doing down and rising radiation, that's a bad sign, because this means more and more of this fuel (is) exposed," said Najm Meshati, professor of civil and environmental engineering, at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.
    (Editing by Mark Bendeich)



    ==
    Tectonic Summary
    Versión en Español
    The magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake on March 11, 2011, which occurred near the northeast coast of Honshu, Japan, resulted from thrust faulting on or near the subduction zone plate boundary between the Pacific and North America plates. At the latitude of this earthquake, the Pacific plate moves approximately westwards with respect to the North America plate at a rate of 83 mm/yr, and begins its westward descent beneath Japan at the Japan Trench. Note that some authors divide this region into several microplates that together define the relative motions between the larger Pacific, North America and Eurasia plates; these include the Okhotsk and Amur microplates that are respectively part of North America and Eurasia.

    The March 11 earthquake was preceded by a series of large foreshocks over the previous two days, beginning on March 9th with a M 7.2 event approximately 40 km from the epicenter of the March 11 earthquake, and continuing with another three earthquakes greater than M 6 on the same day.

    The Japan Trench subduction zone has hosted nine events of magnitude 7 or greater since 1973. The largest of these, a M 7.8 earthquake approximately 260 km to the north of the March 11 epicenter, caused 3 fatalities and almost 700 injuries in December 1994. In June of 1978, a M 7.7 earthquake 35 km to the southwest of the March 11 epicenter caused 22 fatalities and over 400 injuries. Large offshore earthquakes have occurred in the same subduction zone in 1611, 1896 and 1933 that each produced devastating tsunami waves on the Sanriku coast of Pacific NE Japan. That coastline is particularly vulnerable to tsunami waves because it has many deep coastal embayments that amplify tsunami waves and cause great wave inundations. The M 7.6 subduction earthquake of 1896 created tsunami waves as high 38 m and a reported death toll of 22,000. The M 8.6 earthquake of March 2, 1933 produced tsunami waves as high as 29 m on the Sanriku coast and caused more than 3000 fatalities.

    The March 11, 2011 earthquake was an infrequent catastrophe. It far surpassed other earthquakes in the southern Japan Trench of the 20th century, none of which attained M8. A predecessor may have occurred on July 13, 869, when the Sendai area was swept by a large tsunami that Japanese scientists have identified from written records and a sand sheet.

    Continuing readjustments of stress and associated aftershocks are expected in the region of this earthquake. The exact location and timing of future aftershocks cannot be specified. Numbers of aftershocks will continue to be highest on and near to fault-segments on which rupture occurred at the time of the main-shock. The frequency of aftershocks will tend to decrease with elapsed time from the time of the main shock, but the general decrease of activity may be punctuated by episodes of higher aftershock activity. The risks of great earthquakes at locations far from northern Honshu are neither significantly higher nor significantly lower than before the March 11 main-shock.


    ===



    ====
    How a Reactor Shuts Down and What Happens in a Meltdown - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com


    ========

    Radiation


    For biologists, the most significant forms of radiation are light, heat, and ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation can penetrate cells and create ions in the cell contents. These, in turn, can cause permanent alterations in DNA; that is, mutations.

    Ionizing radiation includes:
    •X rays
    •gamma rays
    •neutrons
    •electrons ("beta" particles)
    •alpha particles (helium nuclei)
    Units of measurement
    rad
    The rad represents a certain dose of energy absorbed by 1 gram of tissue. It is a unit of concentration. So if we could uniformly expose the entire body to radiation, the number of rads received would be the same whether we were speaking of a single cell, an organ (e.g., an ovary) or the entire body (just as the concentration of salt in sea water is the same whether we consider a cupful or an entire ocean).
    rem

    Some forms of radiation are more efficient than others transferring their energy to the cell. To have a level playing field, it is convenient to multiply the dose in rads by a quality factor (Q) for each type of radiation. The resulting unit is the rem ("roentgen-equivalent man"). Thus, rem = rad x Q. X rays and gamma rays have a Q about 1, so the absorbed dose in rads is the same number in rems. Neutrons have a Q of about 5 and alpha particles have a Q of about 20. An absorbed dose of, say, 1 rad of these is equivalent to 5 rem and 20 rem respectively.

    The sievert (Sv) and gray (Gy)
    Despite the years of high-quality research reported in rems and millirems (mrem, 10-3 rem), the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements wants us to give up the rad in favor of the gray (Gy), a unit 100 times larger. Similarly, the rem is to be replaced by the sievert (Sv), again so that 100 rem = 1 Sv. So I will try to express all radiation doses in a single unit, the millisievert (mSv).


    An assortment of typical radiation doses (in mSv)
    Used to destroy the bone marrow in preparation for a marrow transplant (given over several days) 10,000
    Approximate lethal dose ("LD50") if no treatment and given to the entire body in a short period 4,500
    Causes radiation sickness (when absorbed in a short period) >1,000
    Increase in lifetime dose to most heavily exposed people living near Chernobyl 430
    Average annual dose (excluding natural background) for medical X-ray technicians 3.2
    Maximum permissible annual dose (excluding natural background and medical exposure) to general public 1.7
    Natural background, Boston, MA, USA (per year)(excluding radon) 1.02
    Natural background, Denver, CO, USA (per year)(excluding radon) 1.8
    Additional annual dose if you live in a brick rather than a wood house 0.07
    Annual dose in some houses in Ramsar, Iran >130
    Average dose to person living within 10 miles of Three-Mile Island (TMI) caused by the accident of 28 March 1979 0.08
    Most heavily exposed person (a fisherman) near TMI <1.0
    Approximate dose received by a person spending 1 year at the fence surrounding a nuclear power station 0.001–0.006
    Average dose to each person in the U. S. population from nuclear power plants (per year) 0.00002
    Received by the bone marrow during a set of dental x rays* 0.094
    Received by the colon during a barium enema 15
    Typical chest x ray 0.1
    Received by breast during mammogram 0.4
    Dose from a single full-body computed tomography (CT) scan 45
    When delivered in a single dose, increases the risk of developing cancer by 1% 100
    Average airline passenger (10 flights/year) 0.03
    Flight crew and cabin attendants (per year) 1.6
    Hourly dose to skin holding piece of the original "Fiesta Ware" (a brand of pottery) 2–3
    Annual dose to each person in the U. S. population from fallout (former weapons testing plus Chernobyl) 0.0006
    * Dose much higher to the skin in the path of the beam, but bone marrow is more susceptible to damage (e.g., leukemia).
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Estimated average annual radiation exposure from various sources (in millisieverts) of an inhabitant of the United States. Individual exposures, especially to radon and medical sources, vary widely from these average values. For example, a single whole-body computed tomography (CT) scan can expose the subject to as much as 45 millisieverts. (CT scanning has become increasingly popular with some 67 million scans performed in the United States in 2006.) As for radon, only the lungs are exposed as the alpha particles emitted by radon cannot penetrate other tissues. (Data from the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, MD.)

    Background Radiation
    About 27% of our annual exposure to radiation is from background radiation:
    •cosmic radiation (0.27 mSv). The value increases with altitude, so the dose for people in Denver, Colorado is about 0.50 mSv.
    •rocks and soil (0.28 mSv). This value varies with the geology of a region: people in Louisiana get as little as 0.15 mSv/yr; people on the Colorado plateau (incl. Denver!) get 1.4 mSv/yr.
    from within the body (0.4 mSv). Most of this comes from potassium-40. About 0.02% of the potassium in nature is in the form of the radioactive isotope 40K. Living tissue cannot discriminate between radioactive and nonradioactive versions, so the same 0.02% of the total potassium in the body (about 1.7 g in a 70-kg person) is radioactive. External Link
    University of Michigan site devoted to radiation biology.
    Please let me know by e-mail if you find a broken link in my pages.)
    Welcome&Next Search

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    10 March 2011
    ===


    Japan puts out nuclear plant fire - IAEA
    15 Mar 2011 07:57

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    VIENNA, March 15 (Reuters) - Japan has told the U.N. nuclear watchdog that it has extinguished a fire at the spent fuel storage pond of its earthquake-stricken reactor, the Vienna-based agency said.

    "Japanese authorities have confirmed that the fire at the spent fuel storage pond at the Unit 4 reactor of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was extinguished," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

    It had said earlier on Monday that the fire may have been caused by a hydrogen explosion and that radioactivity was being released "directly" into the atmosphere. (Reporting by Sylvia Westall)


    ===

    Shin-Etsu reopens a plant, 2 wafer factories closed
    15 Mar 2011 06:40

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) - Shin-Etsu Chemical , the world's leading maker of silicon wafers, restarted a factory near in Gunma, northwest of Tokyo, but said two other plants near the worst hit quake areas in northeast Japan remain offline.

    A spokesman said the company was unable to say when operations at the plants will restart. A portion of the silicon wafers usually fabricated at the closed factories are shipped to chip companies overseas, he confirmed.

    In a bid to make up the shortfall the company is trying to boost production elsewhere, particularly of 300-millimetre wafers. (Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)



    ===

    FACTBOX: How much radiation is dangerous?Tweet this
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    Mon, Mar 14 2011Related TopicsWorld »
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    Before and after

    A man who was evacuated from the vicinity of Fukushima nuclear power plant cleanses his face at Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces' (JGSDF) makeshift facility to cleanse people who might be exposed to radiation, in Nihonmatsu, northern Japan March 14, 2011.
    Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao
    Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:02am IST

    REUTERS - Japan asked local governments to make more frequent radiation checks after explosions at two nuclear reactors, with reports of radiation levels nine times normal briefly detected in Kanagawa near Tokyo. Below are some facts about the health dangers posed by higher radiation levels.

    * Chief cabinet minister Yukio Edano said radiation levels near the stricken plant on the northeast coast reached as high as 400 millisieverts (mSv) an hour, thousands of times higher than readings before the blast. That would be 20 times the current yearly level for some nuclear-industry employees and uranium miners.
    * Exposure to 350 mSv was the criterion for relocating people after the Chernobyl accident, according to the World Nuclear Association.

    * People are exposed to natural radiation of about 2 mSv a year.

    * Airline crew flying the New York-Tokyo polar route are exposed to 9 mSv a year.

    * Exposure to 100 mSv a year is the lowest level at which any increase in cancer is clearly evident. A cumulative 1,000 mSv would probably cause a fatal cancer many years later in five out of every 100 persons exposed to it.

    *A single 1,000 mSv dose causes radiation sickness such as nausea but not death. A single does of 5,000 mSv would kill about half of those exposed to it within a month.

    *"Very acute radiation, like that which happened in Chernobyl and to the Japanese workers at the nuclear power station, is unlikely for the population," said Lam Ching-wan, a chemical pathologist at the university of Hong Kong.

    Source: the World Nuclear Association

    (Compiled by Richard Borsuk and Kim Coghill)




    ===



    SNAP ANALYSIS-Japanese nuclear crisis worsens, all eyes on reactor vessel
    15 Mar 2011 03:42


    Source: reuters // Reuters


    By Elaine Lies

    TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) - Fears of a nuclear disaster in Japan heightened on Tuesday after radiation levels around its quake-stricken power plant soared following two separate explosions at the complex.

    Many of the worrying milestones mapped out by experts have now been passed, with some workers having left the complex and people living within 30 km of the site to stay indoors.


    * Now there is a real possibility of a leak in the reactor container, which houses the nuclear fuel rods, according to Murray Jennex, a professor at San Diego State University in California.

    * Concerns centre on damage to a part of the reactor core known as the suppression pool, which helps to cool and trap the majority of cesium, iodine, strontium in its water. It is possible that the containment structure is not damaged, but any damage to the suppression pool could affect the ability to mitigate pressure inside.

    * It is unclear what is the nature of the damage and its impact on the integrity of the containment structure, a thick steel vessel that surrounds the core.

    *
    * Jennex suspects two possible problems: a water leak or perhaps valve leak. A valve leak would be better because that would be less difficult to fix than a water leak, he said.

    * Japan's nuclear crisis now appears worse than the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979 but still nowhere near as bad as the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986.

    * Neighbouring countries could be the first to sound the wider alarm about a major radioactive leak, as happened with Chernobyl. In Japan's case, that would most likely be South Korea, China or Russia. (Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Mark Bendeich)




    ===


    Store shelves empty in Tokyo as uncertainty reigns
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    By Shinichi Saoshiro and Terril Yue Jones

    TOKYO | Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:04am EDT

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Commuters and residents of the Japanese capital faced confusion and uncertainty on Monday over the supply of food and energy after Friday's devastating quake and tsunami which crippled a nuclear power plant.

    Some store shelves were emptied and many train lines were shut down as Tokyo commuters returned to work after a weekend glued to horrific images of the extensive damage about 150 miles to the north.

    In the largely residential Nerima district of Yokyo, staples like rice, bread and instant noodles were sold out. Lights were kept off on the produce shelves and meat refrigeration units to conserve electricity.

    "About 40 to 50 people were lined up outside when we opened at 10. A day's worth of food sold out in an hour. We had a second shipment delivered at midday and that sold out in an hour too," said Toshiro Imai, a store manager in Tokyo.

    "Part of the factory of one of our suppliers is damaged so stock is limited."

    Tsutomu Yamane, a manager of a branch at the Tokyo metropolitan government that oversees retailers, said officials were trying to assess the situation.

    "A food shortage is difficult to handle from an administrative view," he said. "But what we can do is try and prevent retailers from cornering the market or hoarding goods (to raise prices)."
    Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Sunday called this Japan's worst crisis since World War II, and the mood has also been darkened by news reports quoting experts as saying there is a 70 percent chance of another damaging tremor by Wednesday.

    More than 100 commuter train lines in the Tokyo area were scheduled to be partially or completely closed on Monday.

    Several calls to East Japan Railways Co, the largest train operator in the country, went unanswered due to high call volume, according to a recording.

    Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) began a rolling blackout on Monday in Tokyo and surrounding cities to conserve energy amid the crisis at nuclear power plants in the earthquake-affected areas.

    Broadcaster NHK showed an aerial view of Ibaraki prefecture, north of Tokyo, which was black except for dots of lights from cars.

    (Additional reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Nick Macfie)




    ===


    Nuclear insurer Chaucer sees no big Japan hit

    14 Mar 2011 07:28

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    * Provides property cover to Onagawa power plant

    * Plant operators not liable under Japanese Nuclear Act

    * Sees "no significant insured loss" for Syndicate 1176
    (Adds detail)

    LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - Chaucer , one of the world's leading nuclear risk insurers, said it did not expect to take a big financial hit from earthquake-related damage to nuclear power plants in Japan.

    Chaucer said it provided property cover to a nuclear power plant at Onagawa, one of three affected by last week's earthquake, but its policy excluded damage arising from earthquakes and tsunamis.

    The company, which insures nuclear power firms through its Syndicate 1176 in the Lloyd's of London market, added that the Japanese Nuclear Act of 1961 absolves nuclear plant operators of liability for damage caused by major natural disasters.

    "Consequently Chaucer does not expect any significant insured loss to arise in respect of this event insofar as it is relevant to Syndicate 1176," it said in a statement on Monday.
    Chaucer, which in February said it had received a number of takeover approaches, also said it was still in talks with its suitors.

    (Reporting by Myles Neligan; editing by Paul Hoskins)



    ====



    Factbox: Japanese seaports damaged by quake, tsunami

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    Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:51am EDT

    (Reuters) - At least six Japanese ports were damaged by last week's massive earthquake and tsunami, with four potentially out of operation for months, if not years, industry officials and experts said on Monday.

    Japan was assessing the damage to ports north of Japan's capital, Tokyo, where the 8.9 magnitude quake and tsunami hit on Friday. Tokyo and all ports south of the capital have resumed operations.

    Following are details of the six ports most affected by the quake and tsunami.

    (For a graphic, click on link.reuters.com/feh58r)

    Ports with severe damage that could take months, if not years, to rebuild are:

    Hachinohe (medium-sized container and oil seaport)
    - The port's fuel terminals supply the local fishing fleet and U.S. military installations in Japan, Korea and Okinawa.

    - With seven fuel terminals, the port has the capacity to store more than 11 million barrels of oil products.

    - The port handled more than 310 million gallons of petroleum products in 1997.

    - Operates 48 container berths that operates regular international routes to Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, Australia, South America, Europe, Canada and the United States.

    Sendai (medium-sized container, breakbulk seaport)
    - Formerly one of the biggest and most efficient container and breakbulk cargo centers in northeastern Japan.

    - Exported 57,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of containerized cargo, almost half of which were rubber products, in 2005. Other cargo included machinery, pulp and paper, and marine products.

    - Imported 48,300 TEUs of containerized cargo, including 6,500 TEUs of lumber. It also imported marine products, foods, sporting goods, furniture, dyes, paints and wood products.

    Onahama (medium-sized container seaport)

    - Handled over 11 million tonnes of containerized cargo in 2000, of which 7.2 million was intra-Asia trade.





    ====


    Another Fukushima nuclear plant blast injures 11
    What appears to be another hydrogen blast has occurred at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima. No damage to the reactor chamber has been reported, but 11 people have been injured.

    The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says what it believes was a hydrogen blast occurred at 11:01 AM on Monday at the No.3 reactor of Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant. The agency says it has so far observed no abnormal rise in radiation around the compound of the plant.

    The company says the blast injured 11 people.

    The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has advised anyone remaining within 20 kilometers of the power plant to take shelter inside buildings as soon as possible. About 600 people are thought to be still in the area.

    A similar hydrogen blast occurred at the No.1 reactor at the same plant on Saturday.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that he has received a report that the latest blast has left the container of No.3 reactor intact. He said the likelihood of large volumes of radioactive materials being dispersed in the air is low.

    Video footage shows that the top of the building housing the reactor has been blown off, as in Saturday's blast.

    Fears of an explosion grew when the water level of the No. 3 reactor dropped, exposing fuel rods, and a reaction with the steam generated a large amount of hydrogen. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says that even if the top of the building has blown off, the reactor chamber will not be affected.
    Monday, March 14, 2011 12:30 +0900 (JST)



    ====

    Blast strikes Japan plant, core safe; 2,000 bodies found on coast14 Mar 2011 04:20

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    * Seven people missing after latest nuclear plant blast - media * Reports of new tsunami a false alarm * Japan PM says country facing worst crisis since World War Two * Japan stock market plunges 5 percent; manufacturers badly hit (Adds Bank of Japan; seven missing in blast; tsunami false alarm)

    By Taiga Uranaka and Ki Joon Kwon

    FUKUSHIMA, Japan, March 14 (Reuters) - A hydrogen explosion rocked the earthquake-stricken nuclear plant in Japan where authorities have been working desperately to avert a meltdown, compounding a nuclear catastrophe caused by Friday's massive quake and tsunami.

    The core container was intact, Jiji news agency said, quoting the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) <9501.T>, but the local government warned those still in the 20-km (13-mile) evacuation zone to stay indoors . Seven people, six of them soldiers, were missing in the blast, Jiji said.

    A TV station also reported a new tsunami on Monday but it turned out to be a false alarm.

    Japan battled through the weekend to prevent a nuclear catastrophe and to care for the millions without power or water in its worst crisis since World War Two, after the huge earthquake and tsunami that likely killed more than 10,000 people.

    Kyodo news agency said 2,000 bodies had been found on Monday on the shores of Miyagi prefecture, which took the brunt of the tsunami.

    The government had warned of a possible explosion at the No. 3 reactor because of the buildup of hydrogen in the building housing the reactor. TV images showed smoke rising from the Fukushima facility, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.
    TEPCO had earlier halted injection of sea water into the reactor, resulting in a rise in radiation levels and pressure. The government had warned that an explosion was possible because of the buildup of hydrogen in the building housing the reactor.

    A badly wounded nation has seen whole villages and towns wiped off the map by a wall of water, leaving in its wake an international humanitarian effort of epic proportions.

    As the country returned to work on Monday, markets began estimating the huge economic cost, with Japanese stocks <.N225> plunging around 5 percent and the yen falling against the dollar.

    Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant remained worrisome and that the authorities were doing their utmost to stop damage from spreading.

    "The earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear incident have been the biggest crisis Japan has encountered in the 65 years since the end of World War Two," a grim-faced Kan had told a news conference on Sunday.

    "We're under scrutiny on whether we, the Japanese people, can overcome this crisis."

    Officials confirmed on Sunday that three nuclear reactors north of Tokyo were at risk of overheating, raising fears of an uncontrolled radiation leak.

    Engineers worked desperately to cool the fuel rods in the damaged reactors. If they fail, the containers that house the core could melt, or even explode, releasing radioactive material into the atmosphere.

    The world's third-biggest economy also faced rolling power blackouts to conserve energy, and Tokyo commuters reported long delays as train companies cut back services.

    DEATH TOLL "ABOVE 10,000"
    Broadcaster NHK, quoting a police official, said more than 10,000 people may have been killed as the wall of water triggered by Friday's 8.9-magnitude quake surged across the coastline, reducing whole towns to rubble. It was the biggest to have hit the quake-prone country since it started keeping records 140 years ago.

    "I would like to believe that there still are survivors," said Masaru Kudo, a soldier dispatched to Rikuzentakata, a nearly flattened town of 24,500 people in far-northern Iwate prefecture.

    Kyodo said 80,000 people had been evacuated from a 20-km (12-mile) radius around the stricken nuclear plant, joining more than 450,000 other evacuees from quake and tsunami-hit areas in the northeast of the main island Honshu.

    Almost 2 million households were without power in the freezing north, the government said. There were about 1.4 million without running water.

    "I am looking for my parents and my older brother," Yuko Abe, 54, said in tears at an emergency centre in Rikuzentakata.

    "Seeing the way the area is, I thought that perhaps they did not make it. I also cannot tell my siblings that live away that I am safe, as mobile phones and telephones are not working."

    NUCLEAR CRISIS

    The most urgent crisis centres on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, where authorities said they had been forced to vent radioactive steam into the air to relieve reactor pressure.

    The complex was rocked by a first explosion on Saturday, which blew the roof off a reactor building.

    The government had said further blasts would not necessarily damage the reactor vessels.

    TEPCO said on Monday it had reported a rise in radiation levels at the complex to the government. On Sunday the level had risen slightly above what one is exposed to for a stomach X-ray, the company said.

    Authorities had been pouring sea water in two of the reactors at the complex to cool them down. Nuclear experts said it was probably the first time in the industry's 57-year history that sea water has been used in this way, a sign of how close Japan may be to a major accident.

    "Injection of sea water into a core is an extreme measure," Mark Hibbs of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "this is not according to the book."


    A Japanese official said 22 people have been confirmed to have suffered radiation contamination and up to 190 may have been exposed. Workers in protective clothing used hand-held scanners to check people arriving at evacuation centres.

    "NOT ANOTHER CHERNOBYL"

    The nuclear accident, the worst since Chernobyl in Soviet Ukraine in 1986, sparked criticism that authorities were ill-prepared for such a massive quake and the threat that could pose to the country's nuclear power industry.

    Prime Minister Kan on Sunday sought to allay radiation fears: "Radiation has been released in the air, but there are no reports that a large amount was released," Jiji news agency quoted him as saying. "This is fundamentally different from the Chernobyl accident."

    Kan said food, water and other necessities such as blankets were being delivered by vehicles but because of damage to roads, authorities were considering air and sea transport.

    Thousands spent another freezing night huddled in blankets over heaters in emergency shelters along the northeastern coast, a scene of devastation after the quake sent a 10-metre (33-foot) wave surging through towns and cities in the Miyagi region, including its main coastal city of Sendai.

    ECONOMIC IMPACT

    The earthquake has forced many firms to suspend production and shares in some of Japan's biggest companies tumbled on Monday, with Toyota Corp 7203.T> dropping around 7 percent. Shares in Australian-listed uranium miners also dived.

    Already saddled with debts twice the size of its $5 trillion economy and threatened with credit downgrades, the government is discussing a temporary tax rise to fund relief work.

    Analysts expect the economy to suffer a hit in the short term, then get a boost from reconstruction activity.

    "When we talk about natural disasters, we tend to see an initial sharp drop in production ... then you tend to have a V-shaped rebound. But initially everyone underestimates the damage," said Michala Marcussen, head of global economics at Societe Generale. [ID:nLDE72C0KN]

    Ratings agency Moody's said on Sunday the fiscal impact of the earthquake would be temporary and have a limited play on whether it would downgrade Japan's sovereign debt.

    Risk modelling company AIR Worldwide said insured losses from the earthquake could reach nearly $35 billion.

    The Bank of Japan will debate on Monday whether to ease monetary policy further, sources said. The central bank earlier offered a combined 15 trillion yen ($183 billion) to the banking system earlier in the day to soothe market jitters. [ID:nL3E7EC0D6]

    Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said authorities were closely watching the yen after the currency initially rallied on expectations of repatriations by insurers and others. The currency later reversed course in volatile trading.

    The earthquake was the fifth most powerful to hit the world in the past century. It surpassed the Great Kanto quake of Sept. 1, 1923, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area.
    The 1995 Kobe quake killed 6,000 and caused $100 billion in damage, the most expensive natural disaster in history. Economic damage from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was estimated at about $10 billion.

    (Additional reporting by Risa Maeda and Leika Kihara in Tokyo, Chris Meyers and Kim Kyung-hoon in Sendai, Waltre Brandimarte and Scott DiSavino in New York, Natsuko Waki in London and Fredrik Dahl in Vienna; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by John Chalmers)






    ===
    imenevazno at 03:25 AM JST - 14th March

    Stay strong. Thoughts and prayers.

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 03:25 AM JST - 14th March


    imenevazno at 03:25 AM JST - 14th March

    Thoughts and prayers for the people of Japan.

    Posted in Quake death toll likely to exceed 10,000 at 03:25 AM JST - 14th March


    sheilasspadger at 03:19 AM JST - 14th March

    rudd is a twat who can't help trying to make himself look more important in the limelight. back off and let the concerned parties do their work which we can be sure they are doing to the best of their abilities.

    Posted in Australia's Rudd seeks urgent briefings from Japan on nuclear crisis at 03:19 AM JST - 14th March


    kchoze at 03:17 AM JST - 14th March

    The Japanese plants affected were pretty old, and the private company that runs them has a well-known reputation for cutting corner and hiding safety problems in their plants. Once this situation is over, I advise the Japanese government to put this company under extreme scrutiny, and if it turns out…

    Posted in China to promote nuclear power despite explosion at Japan site at 03:17 AM JST - 14th March


    Molenir at 03:02 AM JST - 14th March

    Breaking news shows more handiwork of the T(B) Party types in Alaska, involved in a plot to kidnap and kill state police there. Must be those really invested in carrying out the TBP dictum of "second amendment remedies."

    Hmm you sure they're tea party types? Sounds like something union thugs…

    Posted in Wisconsin approves anti-union measure at 03:02 AM JST - 14th March


    vajra at 02:51 AM JST - 14th March

    Time for Europe to step-up and help their Arab friends !

    Posted in Gadhafi pushes ahead as Arab League calls for help at 02:51 AM JST - 14th March


    888naff at 02:46 AM JST - 14th March

    can you post the belgium tv guide as well?...always come to a site about Japan for that.

    Posted in Cable networks plan flood of royal wedding shows at 02:46 AM JST - 14th March


    kp123 at 02:45 AM JST - 14th March

    I've seen wins described as such by anonymous and former sekitoris for decades. So how far back does one suspect that "fixing" took place? Since the Edo period? Some enterprising TV station should have a program detailing the daily match as fixed not fixed. Too bad sumo has come to…

    Posted in The TV viewer's guide to sumo bout fixing at 02:45 AM JST - 14th March


    my2sense at 02:42 AM JST - 14th March

    That talento shows, insane TV commercials and boy/girl bands will come back.

    Posted in What is your biggest worry in the aftermath of Friday's earthquake? at 02:42 AM JST - 14th March


    donkusai at 02:39 AM JST - 14th March

    Nuclear power will probably become more and more important as the Earth's oil is depleted.

    Doesn't most of China's electricity rely on coal rather than oil? I don't think coal is running out, but it sure is a dirty way to make electricity.

    Posted in China to promote nuclear power despite explosion at Japan site at 02:39 AM JST - 14th March


    MomoNekko at 02:38 AM JST - 14th March

    Some people can not afford to send money like just like that, like myself. All we can do is pray and there's nothing wrong with that. This is revelation, and I know that probably offends you but you have to accept it. It hurts. I know. It hurts me a…

    Posted in Hardest Hit at 02:38 AM JST - 14th March


    donkusai at 02:37 AM JST - 14th March

    Australia has... what, one research reactor?

    But Japan and Australia have been working very closely together on the anti-nuclear issue, so I guess there is some relevance there. I guess there is very little to no official information flowing out of the J-govt at the moment.

    Posted in Australia's Rudd seeks urgent briefings from Japan on nuclear crisis at 02:37 AM JST - 14th March


    luilui at 02:36 AM JST - 14th March

    "all denka" is alot cheaper than having gas and electricity in a household. (gas is dear). all denka is also more efficient. that is why it has become so popular. appliances like the hotwater system fill up in the middle of the night when usage is at its lowest, hence…

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 02:36 AM JST - 14th March


    oberst at 02:34 AM JST - 14th March

    Don't think the victims'( the ones who survived ) lives will ever be the same again. Let's hope Japan shows the world her true greatness by taking care of them after the headlines are off the front page.

    Posted in Devastation at 02:34 AM JST - 14th March


    kp123 at 02:34 AM JST - 14th March

    Heartless as it may seem, best for government to take them over through imminent domain as the last resort.

    Posted in Rise in number of empty houses a growing problem for Tokyo at 02:34 AM JST - 14th March


    METinTokyo at 02:29 AM JST - 14th March

    @Seawolf, I think if you compare home energy usage in Japan to other industrial nations you will find it's actually quite low.

    The reason for utilizing electricity is that at least in theory it is quite efficient as it is centrally generated (doesn't necessarily mean nuclear) and then distributed to…

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 02:29 AM JST - 14th March


    asianTourist at 02:26 AM JST - 14th March

    Through difficult time and crisis, we can know how to share with others our luck and resources. More foods and beverage and medicines and apparel companies will join the rescue and supply programs until everyone resumes to a normal life, at least weeks or months or years. Cash allowance will…

    Posted in Nissin donates 1 million packs of noodles for quake victims at 02:26 AM JST - 14th March


    kp123 at 02:18 AM JST - 14th March

    I would say this article is fundamentally correct. I always use a landmark , i.e., store, station, intersection, etc., to guide the taxi driver for quicker results. Many of drivers by the way in Japan based on my discussions with them were laid-off from their career jobs so give them…

    Posted in Why are Tokyo cabbies so clueless? at 02:18 AM JST - 14th March


    stevecpfc at 02:14 AM JST - 14th March

    OssanAmerica and valid question do not belong in the same sentence.

    Posted in Russia ready to increase LNG supplies to quake-hit Japan at 02:14 AM JST - 14th March


    METinTokyo at 02:10 AM JST - 14th March

    spucky: Why do they don't use the Off-Time for a Change?

    I think they are busy taking care of other more urgent matters during this time.

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 02:10 AM JST - 14th March


    OssanAmerica at 02:09 AM JST - 14th March

    sourpuss at 08:33 AM JST - 13th March OssanAmerica, I have two reactions to your post: 1) don't be so cynical 2) your suspicion toward the Russians is well deserved.

    sourpuss your comment would have been far more useful if you actually answered the valid question I raised.

    Posted in Russia ready to increase LNG supplies to quake-hit Japan at 02:09 AM JST - 14th March


    Seawolf at 02:03 AM JST - 14th March

    At least in those areas affected by the black-outs the recent boom of going "all-denka", using electricity for everything in the home instead of gas, will suffer. Would be nice if Japanese would finally start to think about how to use less energy overall, but thats just wishful thinking..

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 02:03 AM JST - 14th March


    spucky at 02:03 AM JST - 14th March

    @Metin Tokyo,

    Domo, informative to read!

    Why do they don't use the Off-Time for a Change?

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 02:03 AM JST - 14th March


    METinTokyo at 02:02 AM JST - 14th March

    lose = loss

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 02:02 AM JST - 14th March


    METinTokyo at 02:00 AM JST - 14th March

    spucky, it's quite simple you can't run (feed) 50 and 60 hertz over the same transmission lines. If you wanted to feed power from the west side of Japan into the east side infrastructure you would need to cancel all the feeds from the east first which would result in…

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 02:00 AM JST - 14th March


    rajakumar at 01:55 AM JST - 14th March

    Yes, Motor Industry japan take a few days off. Good for the you.

    When roads damage is repaired and plants damage is repaired,things will get back to okay and making vehicles.

    Posted in Hino, Mitsubishi Motors to suspend production at domestic plants at 01:55 AM JST - 14th March


    kp123 at 01:46 AM JST - 14th March

    The experts of the nuclear reactors come from the private sector; not government - General Electric and Hitachi - and perhaps Toshiba who supplied all the units at the Fukushima power plant at different stages of its construction. They're probably at the ready by now. Wish them well.

    Posted in Australia's Rudd seeks urgent briefings from Japan on nuclear crisis at 01:46 AM JST - 14th March


    spucky at 01:45 AM JST - 14th March

    @MetinTokyo, so what's the problem, why they cut down the Energy, why they dont feed us with the Energy from the West?

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 01:45 AM JST - 14th March


    METinTokyo at 01:39 AM JST - 14th March

    spucky I don't need to research it, I have lived in Shizuoka-Prefecture for 25 years and am well aware of the two systems. Most appliances work quite happily on either system, it is only those which use pulses for internal timing (example electric clocks) which are cycle specific.

    I run…

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 01:39 AM JST - 14th March


    livushka at 01:36 AM JST - 14th March

    諦めないで!

    Posted in Devastation at 01:36 AM JST - 14th March


    Japlan at 01:35 AM JST - 14th March

    Given the size/scope of earth moved...big aftershock and tsunami part II/and or big Kanto quake/Fuji eruption.

    Posted in What is your biggest worry in the aftermath of Friday's earthquake? at 01:35 AM JST - 14th March


    koriyamaboy at 01:32 AM JST - 14th March

    Godspeed everyone. Hope you are all safe out there.

    Posted in Quake death toll likely to exceed 10,000 at 01:32 AM JST - 14th March


    koriyamaboy at 01:30 AM JST - 14th March

    Please send all you have. Thanks to all who are helping. Godspeed to all of us. I am in Fukushima-ken. I hope you are all safe out there.

    Posted in Overseas rescue teams, including U.S. aircraft carrier, arrive in Japan at 01:30 AM JST - 14th March


    spucky at 01:29 AM JST - 14th March

    Wow, now even Tokai is in a big danger southern of Fukushima

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 01:29 AM JST - 14th March


    spucky at 01:27 AM JST - 14th March

    @MetinTokyo, i am talking about the region behind Shizuoka-Prefecture and not the US of A!

    There is a border for the Energy System, they use 2 different forms here

    You can research this by yourself

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 01:27 AM JST - 14th March


    Seawolf at 01:27 AM JST - 14th March

    My guess is that not all towns will be rebuilt. First, the cost will be tremendously high, higher than building it from scratch, because of all the waste and the unstable underground. Second, who is going to live there, when maybe half of the population has died, and third, what…

    Posted in Quake death toll likely to exceed 10,000 at 01:27 AM JST - 14th March


    rajakumar at 01:26 AM JST - 14th March

    1,000,000 packets of noodles free from Nissin for quake victims. Suntory to deliver 360,000 bottles of water to victims also good. Good job by Nissin.

    What about the other N225 companies ??

    Nothing to contribute to alleviate ,woes of quake victims???

    Posted in Nissin donates 1 million packs of noodles for quake victims at 01:26 AM JST - 14th March


    yabits at 01:24 AM JST - 14th March

    @Betzee:

    Really great posts there. Thank you.

    She said that if the first person who got arrested during the civil rights movement had given up, the movement would have failed.

    Liberals like myself, pledged to non-violence, know that good will triumph over evil eventually. The union movement, like the…

    Posted in Wisconsin approves anti-union measure at 01:24 AM JST - 14th March


    chotto at 01:23 AM JST - 14th March

    My beautiful prefecture :(

    Posted in Devastation at 01:23 AM JST - 14th March


    yabits at 01:20 AM JST - 14th March

    All these things are there. I say again, what if this was the Tea Party doing these things.

    Breaking news shows more handiwork of the T(B) Party types in Alaska, involved in a plot to kidnap and kill state police there. Must be those really invested in carrying out…

    Posted in Wisconsin approves anti-union measure at 01:20 AM JST - 14th March


    kp123 at 01:19 AM JST - 14th March

    I understood there was a converter system that changes the 50/60 cycle transmission between East and West Japan somewhere in or near Nagoya some years ago.

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 01:19 AM JST - 14th March


    METinTokyo at 01:18 AM JST - 14th March

    Apologies, I meant spucky not spocky

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 01:18 AM JST - 14th March


    METinTokyo at 01:17 AM JST - 14th March

    @spocky:Why they cant use the Energy from the West

    So you are proposing a very long extension cord from Japan to for example the USA?

    FYI most of the world uses 50 Hertz North America being one of the notable exceptions.

    Most of the reporting I've seen from the international…

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 01:17 AM JST - 14th March


    globalwatcher at 01:11 AM JST - 14th March

    The information is still confusing and conflicting.

    What about people who depends on medial equipments? Should they die?

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 01:11 AM JST - 14th March


    elbudamexicano at 01:11 AM JST - 14th March

    All deaths are sad, we all are born, and we all must die some day, right? Now, with the biggest earthquake in Japanese history up in Sendai, we have not even finished trying to count all the dead from NZ and now this mess?? All who are dead and or…

    Posted in Deaths of 2 more Japanese confirmed in N.Z. quake at 01:11 AM JST - 14th March


    Junnama at 01:10 AM JST - 14th March

    CNN was running an interview with a guy in Shibuya and asked him with all seriousness if the government was handing out food and water in Tokyo...

    Is CNN this clueless???

    Sorry to say when of the things I have not missed about the US is the tendency of the…

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 01:10 AM JST - 14th March


    spucky at 01:02 AM JST - 14th March

    Already today i saw some People here in Setagaya/ Tokyo who get a PTSD-Syndrome, without Light it will be very bad for this People.

    And don't trust the People on NHK or other Japanese Terebi, use at least BBC, German and CNN Channels to get a full view of this…

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 01:02 AM JST - 14th March


    rkanavi at 01:00 AM JST - 14th March

    There is a total black out on companies and their contributions to the quake in japan. all the money ammassed so far needs to be set for development.

    Posted in Quake death toll likely to exceed 10,000 at 01:00 AM JST - 14th March


    smithinjapan at 12:57 AM JST - 14th March

    Any help is help. Thank the gods for those who come and do so, be they a block away or a hemisphere.

    Posted in Overseas rescue teams, including U.S. aircraft carrier, arrive in Japan at 12:57 AM JST - 14th March


    smithinjapan at 12:54 AM JST - 14th March

    Hokkaidoguy: "Some people seem to want to forget that businesses - even the ones that you might not like - are what puts food on people's tables."

    I don't know anyone that would deny this. My only hope is that they do it out of hope and help, not as…

    Posted in Kan calls quake worst crisis since World War II; OKs power outages at 12:54 AM JST - 14th March

    The reactors 2 and 3 at Fukushima I are Bigger. The first one has 460 MW and the other two have 784 MW. At Fukushima II all 4 of them got 1.100 MW

    ===

    Reuters What is the status of Japan Nuclear Fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori prefecture? The facility is right by Ogawara port? Can you confirm if it is undamaged?
    comment by guessinggame at 21:29
    according to latest update from TEPCO. They are investigating how to cool watter in SNF pool. normally they'd let it circulate, but they cannot do that now. www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by chrcel at 21:29
    Click here for a story on how the Japanese are finding both inspiration and reasons to vent in the aftermath of the disaster. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:28
    "Taking account of the situation that the water level within the pressure
    vessel did not rise for a long time and the radiation dose is increasing,
    we cannot exclude the possibility that the same situation occurred at Unit
    1 on Mar 12 will occur. We are considering the countermeasure to prevent
    that." - From the last published TEPCO Press Release, 12 hours ago. Has there been new info on Fukushima No.3
    comment by MH at 21:26
    @derwood87 No. They wouldn't be using it if it did. @darwin Interestingly, I believe similar accidents have happened in the past (at least accidents that can parallel) and the reactors have been patched up. But using salt water basically counts that out now.
    comment by JBID at 21:25
    www-pub.iaea.org REACTORS IN OPERATION, 31 DEC. 2009
    by Rob edited by Aviva West at 21:24
    jan & JBID: I understand that GE makes a lot of reactors, however the link to the INSC website operated by the US DOE shows the following. Fukushima Diiachi 1, 2 and 6 are GE, Toshiba is reactor 3 and 5, Hitachi is 4. In the Fukushima Daini plant reactors 1 & 3 are Toshiba and 2 & 4 are Hitachi. At the Tokai plant both reactors are GE. And the plant on the north east coast that nobody is saying anything about is the Onagawa plant and both reactors are Toshiba. There are 14 reactors I think are at risk that we both probably affected by the earthquake and tsunami. 5 are GE, 3 Hitachi and 6 Toshiba. All I am doing is pointing out the facts. People on here have indicated that there is radiation in Onagawa. They have reactors there too, yet there is not word one about their status.
    comment by Walter J at 21:23
    @Walter J Only one of the reactors was built by GE at Daiichi. The rest were purchased from Toshiba and Hitachi. And it doesn't really make any difference.
    comment by JBID at 21:15
    @filippa carvalho any word about what that means for the water enviorment ?
    comment by sirbondness at 21:15
    @OHR Extended licenses are given to the old ones because they don't get permits to build new ones. But still need the power...
    comment by TG at 21:15
    Someone asked about the spent nuclear fuel pool: TEPCO stated that they are using fire engines to spray water on them (Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (as of 2pm March 13th))
    comment by David J. at 21:15
    @pricentime well said
    comment by James A. Wood Jr. at 21:15

    An injured girl is brought to a Japanese Red Cross hospital after being evacuated from the area hit by tsunami in Ishinomaki March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
    by Sharon Ho at 21:14
    In the U.S. our nuclear plants have large domes with giant steam stacks where heat can escape from. Are the domes inside of the buildings we see at this plant? Can anyone describe the construction of these buildings at the Japanese plants and how, exactly, the keep radiation contained?
    comment by Concerned at 21:14
    would be aswell interested what happens with the sea water after cooling down and if it will be contaminated....
    comment by sirbondness at 21:14
    Yes, Ocean water now used for emergency cooling the reactors is radioactive and is flowing back to the sea. Curious to know the environmental impact of this although they don't have now other viable options.
    comment by Mar1Popp1ns at 21:13
    What about the issue of the salt in the seawater binding to the fuelrods insulating em from the surrounding water, and slowly blocking the coolant channels inside the reactor when it crystallizes ?
    comment by Wolfthing at 21:13
    Click here for our roundup of travel advisories on Japan www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:09

    Elderly people warm themselves with blankets at a Japanese Red Cross hospital after being evacuated from the area hit by tsunami in Ishinomaki March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
    by Sharon Ho at 21:08
    GE is one of the biggest makers of nuclear power plants, Walter.
    comment by jan at 21:06
    @pricentime the control rods are not the issue, the fuel is. the control rods will already be inserted into the core from the automatic shutdown. the core must be cooled with water.
    comment by Fatsam at 21:06
    Can't help but thinking about California where there are two nuclear plants placed right on the coastal line and where we are notoriously waiting for the Big One (i.e. earthquake).
    comment by Mar1Popp1ns at 21:06
    I'm no expert but I think the water cools the unit that houses the radioactive material and doesn't actually come in contact with it. However if unit #1 as had a meltdown and breached the containment unit then it will have direct contact.
    comment by Rob at 21:06
    @jan, I agree but if you've alread had a partial meltdown as it appears in Fukushima I-1 and I-3, then the reactor is probably a write-off anyway.
    comment by darwin at 21:00
    Will the salt in the sea water increase the core meltdown if it is not cooled? Could there be a reaction.
    comment by derwood87 at 21:00
    @WN Yes, the sea water will be contaminated. However, the water will, in theory, be retained inside the containment unit and can be cleaned up later. It is not being discharged back into the ocean.
    comment by jc at 21:00
    Yes, WN. It will become part of the nuclear waste present at the site.
    comment by jan at 21:00
    Every nuclear reactor in California that I've seen uses sea water to cool its fuel as a backup.. is there somewhere they have said that they're not filtering it anymore at Fukushima?
    comment by cal at 20:59
    Slideshow: 50 pictures that capture the scale of the devastation in Japan www.reuters.com
    by Corinne Perkins at 20:59

    A Japanese woman breaks down in tears after her relative died in a Japanese Red Cross hospital after being evacuated from the area hit by tsunami in Ishinomaki March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
    by Corinne Perkins at 20:55
    @Rob Anyway, why is it, that licenses are given on a 10-years basis and not like 2 or 5 years? 10 years is in terms of technological development unthinkable of...
    comment by OHR at 20:49
    Interesting how 2 of the 3 plants in trouble are of GE design.
    comment by Walter J at 20:49
    Politicians will be politicians, whether they know what they are talking about or not. The compulsion to score points with the public, is no doubt nearly killing them. And apparently, at least in this case, overwhelming what ought to be some basic taste and compassion for the Japanese people at this moment.
    comment by jan at 20:48
    Also the Fukushima I-2 and I-3 were quite old. They came on line in 1974 and 1976. Presumably they did not have very may years of useful life left anyway even if the disaster had never happened. I have no clue about the chemical/radiation risks that may arise due to use of sea water, but I guess the cost of repairing the earthquake/tsunami damage would have been prohibitive anyway. Especially for reactor I-3 if a partial melting of the core had already taken place. I find that Bigthink.com article rather sensational and low on professional grade facts.
    comment by darwin at 20:48
    When it comes to grandstanding on ANYTHING regardless of how little he understands, almost no one does it faster than Joe Lieberman. Probably hasn't read one book in the past five years but always knows his opinion is right.
    comment by QuickThought at 20:46
    @ pricentime. an expert ion the german news said that the contaminated water will flow back into the ocean, because it is too much water to be put into tanks. according to him, in comparison with the alternatives this is the best thing they can do.
    comment by filippa carvalho at 20:46
    "In PWRs, the control rods are held above a reactor's core by electric motors against both their own weight and a powerful spring. Any cutting of the electric current releases the rods. Another design uses electromagnets to hold the rods suspended, with any cut to electric current resulting in an immediate and automatic control rod insertion. A SCRAM rapidly (less than four seconds, by test on many reactors) releases the control rods from those motors and allows their weight and the spring to drive them into the reactor core, thus halting the nuclear reaction (by absorbing neutrons) as rapidly as possible."
    comment by pricentime at 20:46

    A combination picture of satellite images taken by Taiwan's National Space Organisation (NSPO) shows Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan before the earthquake on March 11, 2011, (left) and after the earthquake and the massive tsunami on March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Formosat image/Dr. Cheng-Chien Liu, GEODAC, National Cheng-Kung University and Dr. An-Ming Wu, National Space Organization, Taiwan/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 20:44

    U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Albin Quinko (L) from San Diego, and assigned to the Black Knights of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron which is embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, hands over supplies to a Japanese aid worker during earthquake and tsunami relief efforts near Sendai, Japan March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord-US Navy/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 20:41
    @OHR, Putting in seawater is a last ditch effort. If they don't get the cores cooled fast enough, they'll be far more than "structurally fragile," as you say. They have to do something.
    comment by jan at 20:38
    Will the seawater used for cooling the reactors be contaminated by radiation? how are they gong to deal with that?
    comment by WN at 20:38
    Power plant companies try to keep these units going as long as possible. They're very expensive and troublesome to replace.
    comment by jan at 20:29
    Corrosion of parts might affect the dismantling of the reactor. How fast could some parts become structurally fragile in the process? Possibly they would have to start cleanup procedures quite fast, which would be additionally difficult facing the cleanup and resource shortages already caused by the quake and the tsunami.
    comment by OHR at 20:29
    Senator Joe, maybe we should think about building new plants to replace the 50% or so that were built around the same time as Fukushima I-1. The irony is this plant was supposed to go offline last month but got a 10 year extension. I bet the person who made that call will have to answer some questions...
    comment by Rob at 20:19

    by Corinne Perkins at 20:19
    About the sea water cooling: According to Wikipedia, Fukushima I-1 was quite old (came online in 1970) and was already scheduled for decommissioning in 2011. So economically the decision to use seawater was no big deal. Most probably it would never have been viable to repair it anyway.
    comment by darwin at 20:17
    Contaminants in nuclear systems = corrosion of parts. Extraneous metal ions are kept at part-per-billion levels in these plants. Seawater is salty, junk water.
    comment by jan at 20:16
    Of course this might be seen some risky science experiment, but lucky us, that something like that did not have to be done in the past. Even if the core was to be damaged this way, wasn't Fukushima daiichi to be taken of the grid this year? I've read several contradictory texts. Some say, by end of the year, others say March or even February, where others even state, the license had been prolonged for another 10 years.
    comment by OHR at 20:16
    Well seem my last comment was not posted here, but what would be the risk of flood all the Fukushima plant? since they already using the seawater to cool down the reactor, anyone please im a noob on this nuke things so would like to know about it
    comment by PJ_Litri at 20:16
    sign of desperation: writing off units that cost billions of dollars to build, and the electric generation profits. this is not done lightly.
    comment by guessinggame at 20:16
    A more compelling question would be...how much runoff of irradiated seawater is there...or where is said being shunted after use?
    comment by pricentime at 20:16
    That Otsuchi photo is horrifying. Love and prayers to everybody affected by the tsunami.
    comment by gcbudka at 20:16
    The unknown effects of subjecting seawater to that much flux are interesting too. Seawater is brine with living things in it, no matter how finely you filter it....it's full of interesting stuff.
    comment by jan at 20:15
    Senator Joe should be quiet as there will be time for such 'studies' later on. Now is the time to assist Japan, not placate un-educated voters in the US.
    comment by Dan Toppins at 20:15
    According to Kyodo news, Tokai plant is safe (for the moment) as only of the two pumps stopped working (is this the only redundancy planned for nuclear plants?!?!) "One of the two cooling system pumps at the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, stopped Friday when a massive earthquake hit Japan but there is no problem with cooling as the remaining pump is working, according to local authorities late Sunday.

    Tokai No. 2 Power Station, operated by Japan Atomic Power Co., shut down automatically after the magnitude 9.0 quake, one of the biggest quakes in history, jolted northeastern and eastern Japan.

    According to a report submitted to the Ibaraki prefectural government, one of the two pumps used to cool the water of a suppression pool for the nuclear reactor at the plant stopped working.

    The nuclear safety section of the prefectural government said the other pump is working and that there is no problem with cooling the reactor. All control rods are set in completely at the nuclear reactor, it said. Japan Atomic Power said the reactor core has been cooled without any problem."
    comment by OHR at 20:15
    @jan. you can write critical reactors off. it doesnt matter whether pump sea water into it or not.
    comment by ulf at 20:15
    Senator Joe Lieberman has said the United States should "put the brakes on" new nuclear power plants until fully understanding what happened to the reactors in Japan. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:09
    For residents of the 9 prefectures to be affected by the rolling blackouts, Tepco is issuing some basic warnings. Be sure to turn off your main breaker before the power goes out. Also, after the power comes back on, do not immediately turn on the main breaker. Instead, turn on individual units to avoid breaking fuses or circuits.
    comment by Kanagawa _resident at 20:08
    From Physicist Kaku: "At Unit 1 (Fukushima), as an act of desperation, plant operator have been injecting seawater directly into the core of the reactor. This has never been done before in history. We are watching a science experiment. This will also most likely make it uneconomical to clean up the reactor afterwards (due to corrosion, contamination, etc.). The utility has probably decided to junk the reactor afterwards. This scenario of flooding the core with sea water does not appear in standard nuclear engineering textbooks. We are entering uncharted territory."
    comment by SJ at 20:05
    9 prefectures to be affected by the rolling blackouts: Shizuoka, Yamanashi, Kanagawa, Saitama, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and some parts of Tokyo.
    comment by Kanagawa _resident at 20:04
    A travel warning to Japan? Hillary was quick to make that call.
    comment by RJW at 20:03
    Filling cores with seawater is a giant science experiment...a "Hail Mary Pass." It's never been done before and it will utterly ruin the reactors. They'll never work again. It will be a huge mess to clean up too.
    comment by jan at 20:00
    As Kyodo has written and repeated, pump stops at Tokai plant. The question is: is it only a single pump or the whole coolant system? Any information on this? Are evacuation plans in process for Tokyo area? (Tokai is VERY near...)
    comment by OHR at 20:00
    The United States has issued a travel warning for Japan. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:00
    There is little need to worry about the generators at Tokai No. 2. It's quite likely that the military (Japanese or US) have alreade put large mobile generators in place.
    comment by pricentime at 20:00

    A ferry is perched on top of a house in the aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Yomiuri
    by Corinne Perkins at 20:00
    I bet Tokai are running out of diesel. They probably didn't plan to have all their rectors in cooldown at the same time, with no external elecricity to supply the pumps for so long...
    comment by blah at 19:58
    Thanks to Michio Kaku. Cuts right through the corporate/government marketing-speak and tells a simple, factual account of what is going on. Combine that with the Reuters article on the history of lying and malfeasance of the TEPCO "authorities" and we begin to see.
    comment by finnerty at 19:58
    @Krista: thanks for the link to Bigthink.com. This provides an straightforward and scientific look at the potential nuclear reactor dangers in Japan.
    comment by SJ at 19:52
    SOSJapan.org has been setup to help the people of Japan find missing family and friends following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami natural disaster.

    sosjapan.org allows those who have lost contact with friends, family and colleagues to file a missing persons report.

    Let those affected know about SOSJapan.org
    comment by SOSJapan.org edited by Aviva West at 19:47
    Japan Atomic Power says 2 of 3 diesel generators for the Tokai No. 2 plant are down, but the remaining generator is sufficiently cooling the reactor
    by Aviva West at 19:47
    ...if information is handled as it was during other events at plants then we have a problem, and it is not a small one. Hopefully we'll be worrying for nothing at all, but beyond the nuclear situation I'm having some thoughts about how economy will roll after this.
    comment by Luce at 19:44
    The Japan Atomic Power Co. says the cooling process is working at its Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant
    by Aviva West edited by Aviva West at 19:44
    I'm Japanese. I'm watching two Special TV Programs about the earthquake simultaneously. I haven't get any information about Tokai nuclear plant. Is it true?
    comment by jpgifu at 19:44

    Rescue workers recover a body in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 19:44
    Can someone explain the expected aftermath if there is a meltdown?
    comment by Kathy at 19:43
    Dr. Michio Kaku gives his second post about the nuclear crisis: bigthink.com
    by Krista edited by Krista at 20:00
    6 reactors in trouble.
    3 reactors with radiation.
    2 of them in partial meltdown.
    ...is that the latest count?
    comment by finnerty at 19:38

    by Corinne Perkins at 19:38
    Is there a possibility to deploy emergency/external pumps?
    comment by danishevskiy31 at 19:37

    Japan Self Defence Forces troops rescue people from flooded areas in Ishimaki City, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 19:37
    The psychological impact on the children that survived this disaster could be devastating. Let's hope they are well looked after in the future.
    comment by Dave Miller at 19:37
    Here's our story from yesterday about TEPCO's checkered past www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 19:35
    TEPCO, the private company in Japan in charge of the failing nuclear power plants has a repeated history of falsifying safety records, to the point where their CEO had to resign in 2002. And these folks are in charge of assuring everyone's safety?
    comment by SJ at 19:33
    How many cooling pumps are there at Tokai?
    comment by MillerfromGermany at 19:33

    People walk through floodwaters caused by a tsunami in Ishimaki City, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 19:33
    what about the high temp test reactor in ibariki?
    comment by regular guy at 19:31
    I also would like to thank the journalists that are working in a full time cover to the events and fighting to reach information with so little that is coming from the japanese autorities. I appreciate your hard work.
    comment by Yoru at 19:29
    Barely six months after Asia's two largest economies faced off in a bitter territorial dispute, a small group of Chinese rescuers arrived in Japan on Sunday to help in relief efforts. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 19:24
    Click here for a brief report on the Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 19:22
    A pump within the cooling system of one of the reactors at the Tokai nuclear power plant has stopped working, according to the Kyodo news agency. The plant is located in the Naka district of the central prefecture of Ibaraki, and is operated by the Japan Atomic Power Company. The 1,100MW Tokai plant, about 120km (75 miles) north of Tokyo, was automatically shut down after Friday's earthquake.
    comment by Daily at 19:20
    Why haven't we gotten any hard data? It so to go in with a beta/gamma probe and get a number. If you have Cs-137, you have 662 KeV gamma (photons), easily measureable but made even more so as Cc-137 is the isotope used for calibrating measuring devices, in most cases. This means a direct measurement with energy or 'type' correction factors such C sub N type biologocal corrections need be made. Please note that C sub N factors are neutron specific, but I merely am trying to make a point.
    comment by rjm2238 at 19:19
    Here is the source reporting the radiation alert in Onagawa as due to Fukushima I: www.mb.com.ph
    comment by Mar1Popp1ns at 19:19
    That latest photo of Onagawa is devastating. Love and prayers to everybody in northeast Honshu.
    comment by gcbudka at 19:19
    I'll bring it up again: concerned about spent fuel pools at affected plants. Whether spent fuel is stored in water or casks, the force of tsunami HAD to affect it. Also, what about the JNF enrichment facility (storing tons of radioactive material) in Rokkashomuri, Aomori Prefecture? If even elec. distribution has been disrupted, that will have major effect on cooling spent fuel.
    comment by guessinggame at 19:19
    How many nuclear power plants are now in danger?
    comment by RT at 19:18
    In passing... Thank you Reuters for providing this live feed format for viewers. It is unique and essential. Reuters reportage and photographs are outstanding, as usual.
    comment by m_thomas at 19:18

    by Corinne Perkins at 19:17
    07rescue, there are also issues at Onagawa right now, the elevated readings did not carry from Fukushima, they are from Onagawa on-site.
    comment by anonymous at 19:09
    According to the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, health risks from Japan's nuclear power reactors seem fairly low and winds are likely to carry contamination out to the Pacific without threatening other nations. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 19:08
    @ Mar1popp1ns. I checked the distance between Fukushima Daiichi and Onagawa power plants and it is approximately 120 km. That is very disturbing, if radiation could have traveled that far to reach a level that would provoke authorities to declare an (emergency situation" at Onagawa. Is there another, more credible, explanation? If the evacuation around Fukushima was limited to 20 km, yet emergency levels of radiation are detectable 120 km away? What is really happening?
    comment by 07rescue at 19:03
    This is a natural disaster made exponentially worse by humanity's own hand. Over-population and nuclear power plants are a dangerous combination - we did that, not mother nature.
    comment by sistertongue.wordpress.com at 19:03
    A cooling system pump has stopped at Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Ibaraki, Kyodo, according to area's fire department
    by Aviva West at 19:03
    Personally i think its about time we wipe all world wide country debt and also set up a world wide bank account which govenments pay in to to help countries who suffer disasters. Its not the japenese fault they live in a volitile area, no one country should have to burden the debt of a NATURAL disaster we are all in this world together as brothers and sisters. So wipe global debt and start fresh and also world together as one people helping each other.
    comment by Daily at 19:01
    A bit of a technical detail...in BWRs, the fuel should be covered by water or water/steam mixture which serves as moderator and coolant.
    comment by jan at 19:01
    @Jeff: Can Tokyo residents fly out of the country at this time? The authorities are sending contradicting information about the nuclear danger.
    comment by SJ at 19:00

    A destroyed landscape is pictured in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 18:53
    PM Kan say threre is no plans to raise taxes,but i personally doubt they can finance recovery relying only on itl assistance.I think G20 must convene to discuss the situation
    comment by danishevskiy31 at 18:52

    People clear up cans of beer and juice at a factory in Sendai, northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 18:52
    One thing some people are failing to realize is that Japan has a history of nuclear accidents (just not this bad, so they rarely make international news), and they typically end up being worse than what the government and utilities initially let on - even to the point of outright falsifying records. That's why so many people both inside and outside of Japan are so skeptical this time. And so far, this seems to be just repeating the same old pattern of giving as little info as possible while repeatedly claiming that things are coming under control, just before some new situation happens.
    comment by jeff at 18:51

    A sign announces that only emergency vehicles can be refuelled at a gas station in Sendai, in northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011. Sign reads: "Refuelling only for emergency vehicles. Ordinary vehicles cannot be refuelled." REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 18:48
    I just saw your picture of the damaged reactor building at Fukushima 1 Unit 1. The panels at the top of the building are designed to blow off in a strong wind to protect the structure below. The spent fuel pool (SFP), which is usually located above the reactor containment on this type of boiling water reactor, is now exposed to the elements (sun, wind, rain, etc). Over the long term if power is not restored to the SFP cooling system, depending on the heat load in the SFP, there could be a radiation release from the SFP.
    comment by looneytoonsindville at 18:48
    The low level emergency at Onagawa nuclear plant seems to be due (according to statements of Tohoku Electric Power Company which manages Onagawa) to radiations from Fukushima I. This is disturbing as it reminds of Chernobyl (the alarm was given worldwide when nuclear plants of Western Europe detected the radioactivity from Chernobyl). BTW check the distance between such Japanese plants...
    comment by Mar1Popp1ns at 18:42
    Jan is wrong, these are BWR (Boiling Water Reactors) where about a third of the fuel elements are always above the water surface.
    comment by tty at 18:41

    A man walks past mountains of debris in Minamisanrikucho, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 18:41
    Click here for a special report by Reuters correspondents Chisa Fujioka and Kiyoshi Takenaka on Japan's ability to recover from its recent disasters. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 18:41
    @Edo A meltdown doesn't imply any release of radioactive material unless the containment is breached. Three Mile Island had a partial meltdown, but the containment wasn't breached. At this point, you would get more radiation exposure living downwind of a coal plant.
    comment by JoelUpchurch at 18:34

    Workers carry bodies from a damaged home for the elderly after an earthquake and tsunami struck Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 18:34
    The MOX fuel in unit 3 can fail more easily when heated up because the melting point is lower and there is more gas buildup with the fuel elements.
    There is much less experimental data and practical experience of the behavior of MOX fuel under accident conditions compared with conventional uranium fuel.
    comment by Fatsam at 18:33
    @Edo, the word meltdown is being avoided by the japanese government, but the fuel being exposed, even if just in small scale, is a meltdown. Check as many sources as you can and be prepared. I wish I could do something to help you all.
    comment by Yoru at 18:33
    I've heard that Fukushima reactor No.3 uses MOX and not uranium unlike No.1 and is larger that No.1. Besides, at some point, there was reportedly very little water left in the cooling system. Can someone tell me whether this makes a potential meltdown much more dangerous and with risk of wider contamination. Many thanks in advance. A worried Tokyo resident..
    comment by Edo at 18:28
    Recent developments:

    - Death toll expected to exceed 10,000 from the quake and tsunami, public broadcaster NHK says. Strong aftershocks persisting in the stricken area.

    - Kyodo reports 10,000 people in one town unreachable.

    - Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) says radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which is 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, have risen above the safety limit but says this posed no "immediate threat" to human health. An explosion blew the roof off at reactor No. 1.

    - Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says there is the risk of an explosion at another building housing the No. 3 reactor, although this is unlikely to affect the reactor's core container. He said fuel rods may have been partially deformed but a meltdown is unlikely to have occurred.

    - TEPCO is preparing to put sea water into the No.2 reactor at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Jiji news agency says. TEPCO, Japan's largest electric utility, is already injecting sea water into the No.1 and No.3 units at the plant to cool them down and reduce pressure inside reactor container vessels.

    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 18:28

    A child who evacuated from the vicinity of Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant is pictured in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 18:27
    @cheapkungfu There has been core damage to all indications. It has been credibly reported that fuel assemblies were exposed to air. They cannot cool in air and will melt if not covered with circulating water (the coolant).
    comment by jan at 18:27
    @Aviva West
    Reuters, thanks for this information. For all east Japan residents, please note that the 5 groups have further divisions. Please check your local television for listings about what times the blackout will affect your particular area.
    comment by Kanagawa _resident at 18:25
    @CHEAPKUNGFU Radiation levels are elevated. meltdown or not.
    comment by Fatsam at 18:25
    They detected caesium which suggests at least partial meltdown.
    comment by sota at 18:25

    by Corinne Perkins at 18:19
    The epicenter was only 81 miles from Sendai. At 500Mph, that is only 10 minutes and I read one story that mentioned the Tsunami hit only 15 minutes after the quake.
    comment by JoelUpchurch at 18:18
    Have any of these reactors actually melted down, if not let's not discuss radiation.
    comment by CHEAPKUNGFU at 18:18
    @dave You can think of gamma radiation like light...it travels in a similar way. Both are electromagnetic energy on the spectrum.
    comment by jan at 18:16
    Here's our story on TEPCO's plans to conduct rolling blackouts. We'll try to keep you posted with further info www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 18:16
    @Alex For all people looking at the group lists for the rolling blackout information, please note that this information is incomplete. Some areas are listed in 2 groups (some none). For example, Yokohama City is listed in both groups 4 and 5. You must then find out which group your particular area belongs to. Currently, I am watching Kanagawa Television to learn this information. I imagine everyone in Chiba, Saitama, Gunma, Tochigi, and Tokyo cities are also being subjected to this.
    comment by Kanagawa _resident at 18:15
    @Christoph B. Japan's Meteorological Agency says it has upgraded the magnitude of Friday's earthquake to 9.0. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at magnitude 8.9, and that number remains unchanged as of yet.
    by Aviva West at 18:14
    contamination can be carried by the wind or water like dirt.
    comment by jan at 18:12
    @Jim stated that tsunami's travel at up to 500 mph. I am wondering how fast the seismic waves of the earthquake travel. I believe it is several thousand mph, or many time faster than the speed of sound.
    comment by Bob at 18:12
    the inverse square rule applies to gamma but not to contamination which is tracked like dirt.
    comment by jan at 18:12
    German Media is reporting that the magnitude of the earthquake is now stated to be 9.0. Can anyone confirm this?
    comment by Christoph B. at 18:12
    Click here for Reuters' latest wrap on the situation in Japan www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 18:09
    @dave have to distinguish between gamma and contamination--2 different things
    comment by jan at 18:07
    Click here for a timeline of Japan's unfolding nuclear crisis www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 18:05
    How many workers remain in the nuclear facility that are trying to cool the reactors?
    comment by Salem at 18:02
    @dave Yes radiation can spread, but dose matters. The dose roughly follows the inverse square rule such that each time the distance from the source doubles, the intensity is one-quarter of the dose near the source. It dissipates very quickly at distance.
    comment by Jim at 18:02
    Rolling blackouts confirmed in areas of Japan. Here's the schedule given to residents: docs.google.com (Japanese language)
    by Alex edited by Aviva West at 18:02
    @dave The amounts of radioactive material we are talking about here is so trivial that it has no impact on the seawater(which among other things naturally contain a couple of billion metric tons of uranium).
    comment by Johan at 18:00
    @dave : if it rains, yes, it is possible.
    comment by takai at 17:58
    the fallout will travel with the jet stream and end up in the ocean
    comment by Methium at 17:58
    How can the radiation affect the ocean? is it possible for it to 'travel' in the water and spread?
    comment by dave at 17:56

    I would like to see an up to date picture from unit 1 for a comparison with this picture: www.world-nuclear-news.org I wonder how thick the concrete on top of reactor is...
    comment by wondering via World-nuclear-news.org at 17:56
    The closed factories will at least help with the power-cuts.
    comment by simon_in_tokyo at 17:56
    @Becky People had from 20-30 minutes, to over an hour, to evacuate in the worst hit areas. Many people were caught when they tried to go back home early, thinking the threat had passed since they waited so long and nothing had happened.
    comment by Ravlen at 17:56

    Sixty-year-old survivor Hiromitsu Shinkawa (C) who was swept out to sea by a tsunami is rescued by crew members of Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) Aegis vessell Choukai about 15km (9 miles) off Fukushima prefecture, March 12, 2011. The crew of the JMSDF vessel found Hiromatsu clinging to the roof of his house on Sunday, two days after a tsunami caused by a massive earthquake swept him out to sea. The survivor is from Minamisoma, one of the cities worse hit by a powerful tsunami that has devastated parts of Japan's northeastern coast. REUTERS/Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 17:55
    Automakers, electronics firms and oil refiners shut key factories after the earthquake and tsunami, underscoring the challenge facing the government as it rushes to limit the economic fallout. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 17:54
    The tsunami struck an hour or less, after the quake.
    comment by sota at 17:54
    That picture of the power plant at Onagawa looks good doesnt look like near to 0 damage or debris around it or close look in the background looks clear.. So i think people are right its just raidiation from the other nuclear plants which has drifted towards that area which has caused an elivation in levels.
    comment by Dail at 17:54
    @Becky Tsunamis can travel at speeds up to 500 MPH. Various reports have said that the tsunami hit within 45 minutes after the primary earthquake.
    comment by Jim at 17:53
    What consequences does it have to neighboring countries? I hope everything will be fine. God forbid.
    comment by Eduardo Bergavera at 17:49
    How much time did people have to evacuate between the quake and the tsunami?
    comment by Becky at 17:48

    An aerial view of Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant after an earthquake and tsunami struck Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 17:48
    According to an official at Japan's Meteorological Agency, the wind over the Fukushima nuclear complex will keep blowing from the west overnight on Sunday, pushing any radioactivity toward the ocean. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 17:47
    @Fatsam That's what most of the media here in Japan seem to think...
    comment by Jeffrey D Shaffer at 17:45
    I think they probably released some vapor there too, gov said the previous will be last, so they can't say about this one at Onagawa (but I can be wrong of course)
    comment by marshall banana at 17:41
    Tokyo stock market to open Monday www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 17:41
    Perhaps the elevated readings at Onagawa are caused by Fukushima release.
    comment by Fatsam at 17:41

    A boy looks at an award certificate that he found among debris after an earthquake and tsunami struck Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 17:40
    According to our correspondent, Japanese authorities told the U.N. nuclear watchdog that the lowest state of emergency was reported by the operator at the Onagawa nuclear power plant.
    "The alert was declared as a consequence of radioactivity readings exceeding allowed levels in the area surrounding the plant. Japanese authorities are investigating the source of radiation," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement.
    by Aviva West at 17:36
    @Aviva West Same report says it was the lowest state of emergency and that all three reactors are under control. Perhaps this is referring to the 4x higher than normal radiation levels that was seen many hours ago (and subsequently estimated to be from the off-gassing of the Daiichi plant's no 1 reactor...)
    comment by Jeffrey D Shaffer at 17:35
    Japan's nuclear safety agency is now saying there is no problem with the cooling process at Tohoku Electric's Onagawa plant
    by Aviva West at 17:33
    As defined in Article 10 of Japan's Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, the alert was declared as a consequence of radioactivity readings exceeding allowed levels in the area surrounding the plant. Japanese authorities are investigating the source of radiation.
    comment by Jan at 17:32
    Slideshow: Images depict nuclear fears at Fukushima www.reuters.com
    by Corinne Perkins at 17:32
    We have a confirmed report that France is urging its citizens to leave the Tokyo area www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 17:31
    Meltdown Discovery Timeline: Chernobyl vs. Fukushima tinyurl.com
    comment by Thomas Ruschke edited by Aviva West at 17:30
    @David J.: Regarding your question at 14:01: There have been reports in German television that spokesman Edano has taken back his statement about a possible meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi #3, now saying there has not been a meltdown.
    comment by cptfuro at 17:27
    France recommended its citizens leave the Tokyo region, citing the risk of further earthquakes and uncertainty about the nuclear plants.
    comment by Viktor at 17:27
    IAEA says they were told by Japan that a state of emergency has been reported at the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant
    by Aviva West edited by Aviva West at 17:24

    A woman looks out over the destroyed landscape in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 17:18
    Click here for a story on how worried Japanese expats are using the web to search for news of their loved ones. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 17:17
    Japan has dozens of active volcanoes. In fact, I live next to two (Sakurajima and Shinmoe). Sakurajima has been erupting on a daily basis for about 100 years, and Shinmoe recently re-awoke and has been pretty active too. Those volcanoes are near a different tectonic fault than where the earthquakes happened. It is possible that a different volcano is erupting, but there's nothing on any of the news stations about it.
    comment by Ravlen at 17:16
    @David: German news have not claimed meltdown. Only reported lowest emergency level
    comment by Elise at 17:15

    A woman searches for supplies amid piles of debris in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 17:15
    The Onagawa plant has a fire in one of its turbine buildings. The German news handles the word "meltdown" quite loosely
    comment by Shinjuku87 at 17:11
    Economy minister Yosano says the quake did not hit the core of Japan's industry
    by Aviva West at 17:11
    Can anyone confirm the situation in the power plant at onagawa? German news claim that there has ben a meltdown too and that the IAEB has declared a nuclear emergency for oganawa?
    comment by David J. at 17:08

    An electric organ is overturned after an earthquake and tsunami in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 17:07
    TEPCO exec says the thermal fuels that it needs to secure for summer are mainly LNG and oil
    by Aviva West at 16:58
    @Aviva West No internal reports of volcano activity here in Japan that I've seen...
    comment by Jeffrey D Shaffer at 16:57
    The staff of the United Nations University and the United Nations are remaining in Japan
    comment by Lydia at 16:57

    A landscape ravaged by a tsunami and earthquake followed by fire is seen in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan March 13, 2011.
    by Corinne Perkins at 16:57
    TEPCO exec says they will have to secure thermal fuel for summer to boost thermal power supplies
    by Aviva West at 16:56
    @Johan An African online news source is reporting the eruption of a volcano in Japan but we have no further sources. We'll keep you updated
    by Aviva West at 16:54

    Journalist Yoko Kubota works in the field after a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Rikuzentakata, northern Japan March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
    by Corinne Perkins at 16:54
    Johan, as far as I know, Swiss nationals are being advised to leave the country if they are there on non-essential business. Other countries are most likely following suit.
    comment by Fabian at 16:45
    @JoeBlack Yes, at NHK there was a Big explanation/documentary about the status, why, and how much radioactivity has ben released...
    comment by David J. at 16:45
    German citizens are advised not to travel to Tokyo Metro and the earthquake provinces. French citizens should leave Tokyo region. Check embassy's homepage
    comment by Tm at 16:45

    A victim is brought into a hospital in Ishimaki City, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Corinne Perkins at 16:43
    FSA will strictly implement existing ban on naked short selling
    by Aviva West at 16:42
    FSA will rigidly monitor markets to prevent unfair transactions after the quake
    by Aviva West at 16:42
    Tokyo Stock Exchange, other financial markets to operate as normal on Monday, says Japan's Financial Services Agency
    ===

    « Back To Commentary Top

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12725646
    print
    only articlearticle and commentsQuake and tsunami a blow to fragile Japan economy

    TOKYO —
    The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday forced multinational companies to close factories, fight fires and move workers, inflicting at least short-term damage on that nation’s fragile economy.

    Assessing the full economic impact was impossible in the hours after the magnitude-8.9 quake. But traffic clogged streets, trains stopped, flights were grounded and phone service was disrupted or cut off. U.S. companies DuPont and Procter & Gamble said communications problems were making it hard for them to gauge the effect on their operations in Japan.

    Still, the damage to Japan’s economy, the world’s third-largest, wasn’t nearly as severe as it might have been. The devastated northeastern coastal region is far less developed than the Tokyo metro area.

    “Something similar hitting Tokyo Bay would have been unimaginable,” said Michael Smitka, an economist who specializes in Japan at Washington and Lee University.

    The Japanese economy has been stagnant for more than a decade. It shrank at a 1.3 percent annual pace in the final three months of 2010. By contrast, the U.S. government estimates that the American economy grew at a 2.8 percent annual rate over the same period.

    Japanese automakers halted production at assembly plants in areas hit by the earthquake. One Honda worker died after being crushed by a collapsing wall. Thirty more were injured when walls and parts of a ceiling crumbled at a Honda Motor Co research facility in northeastern Tochigi Prefecture.

    Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s biggest automaker, shut down two assembly plants. There were no immediate reports of injuries among Honda workers, a spokeswoman said. Parts makers were also shut down.

    Nissan Motor Co stopped production at five of its plants in northeastern Japan and in the Yokohama area near Tokyo. It said two workers were slightly injured at its Tochigi plant and a technical center near Tokyo.

    “There will be losses for a couple of months because of disruptions to the supply chain,” Smitka says.

    Air traffic was disrupted. Seven United flights and two Continental flights from the United States to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport were diverted overnight, mostly to other airports in Asia. Delta canceled 29 flights into and out of Tokyo.

    Japan is just weeks away from its peak tourism season: late March and early April, when cherry trees blossom, said Alastair Donnelly, co-founder of InsideJapan Tours, a British company that sends more than 5,000 tourists from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia to Japan each year.

    “I encourage people still to travel. Japan will need support from tourism,” Donnelly said.

    Tourism to the beach communities of Southeast Asia dried up after the 2004 tsunami, devastating the livelihood of the survivors.

    “You don’t want to make people suffer twice,” Donnelly said.

    In the long run, the disaster could boost the Japanese economy as reconstruction projects put people back to work, former White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers noted in an interview with CNBC.

    Natural disasters “do eventually boost output,” said David Hensley, an economist at JPMorgan Chase. The 1989 San Francisco earthquake and the 1995 Northridge quake outside Los Angeles, for example, ultimately helped the local California economies, he said.

    James Shuck, an insurance industry analyst for the investment bank Jefferies, estimates the insurance industry’s losses in Japan at $10 billion. That would make it the costliest Japanese earthquake for insurers ever. By comparison, the 1994 quake in Northridge, California, cost insurers about $15 billion.

    The liability in the Japan quake is limited, Shuck says, because it hit outside a major urban area and because only about 10% of Japanese households buy earthquake insurance.


    ===

    I honestly don't think any safety systems should be expected to work 100% to specs after a size 9 quake.

    Posted in Sea water injected into Fukushima nuclear plant; Edano warns of another explosion at 05:38 PM JST - 13th March


    Triumvere at 05:35 PM JST - 13th March

    Cynical? Yes but truthful.

    Only the bases aren't a strictly losing proposition for the host nations, are they? There are trade-offs involved; you get certain benefits at a certain cost. Whether these benefits outweight the costs is for the host nations to decide. US service personel ready and willing to…

    Posted in U.S. aircraft carrier reaches waters off tsunami-hit coast as overseas rescue teams arrive at 05:35 PM JST - 13th March


    fbicio at 05:32 PM JST - 13th March

    I know, I'm 100% with you when you say that Japan need nuclear and many people are death for coal ... but please note that in some place like Japan where you have frequent hearthqake is better to use other technologies like Hydro ... or different !! The Engineer cannot…

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 05:32 PM JST - 13th March


    wacjapan at 05:30 PM JST - 13th March

    I see many Japanese stocking up on luxury foods especially cookies, potato chips etc. My local ice cream parlor was packed with families and happy happy kids, usually there are just 2-4 students there. Seems they are celebrating being alive (gloating is more like it) more than preparing for a…

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 05:30 PM JST - 13th March


    alphawolf at 05:27 PM JST - 13th March

    Religious groups have "showed up" after natural disasters also, to "help" the suffering.. then remained to spread their business/religion.

    Posted in U.S. aircraft carrier reaches waters off tsunami-hit coast as overseas rescue teams arrive at 05:27 PM JST - 13th March


    alphawolf at 05:27 PM JST - 13th March

    apec

    Japan has friends or what?

    Not really? Nothing is free. If Japan accepts US help, especially from the military stationed in Okinawa the US can throw it in their face on the issue of Futenma. The US has "planted" many us bases or got agreements in poor countries by…

    Posted in U.S. aircraft carrier reaches waters off tsunami-hit coast as overseas rescue teams arrive at 05:27 PM JST - 13th March


    momusa2011 at 05:24 PM JST - 13th March

    We send all of you our prayers and support from the USA. We will keep you all in our hearts and have sent money through the American Red Cross so you all may receive help. Bless you all and we are so sorry for all of this.

    The Snediker Family…

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 05:24 PM JST - 13th March


    sabiwabi at 05:23 PM JST - 13th March

    " No, let's hope future plants are built to better standards. "

    I understand TEPCO`s plant was built to high standard.

    But isn't it something like 40 years old already? Standards must have changed since then, to overcome the unexpected.

    I hope we get through this without any…

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 05:23 PM JST - 13th March


    crossover03 at 05:22 PM JST - 13th March

    we have to thank them for helping japan.

    Posted in U.S. aircraft carrier reaches waters off tsunami-hit coast as overseas rescue teams arrive at 05:22 PM JST - 13th March


    GJDailleult at 05:20 PM JST - 13th March

    Let me rephrase that, not idiots, but people whose expertise was in nuclear energy and not seismology.

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 05:20 PM JST - 13th March


    oberst at 05:19 PM JST - 13th March

    when you are starving, cold canned foods will keep you alive. On the other hand, clean water is essential.

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 05:19 PM JST - 13th March


    GJDailleult at 05:13 PM JST - 13th March

    This is something in the order of a once in 10,000 year event.

    It has happened within the last decade, just in a different ocean. Also, because of the advances in seismology it is now known that Japan is also at risk from tsunamis due to earthquakes on the Cascadia…

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 05:13 PM JST - 13th March


    WilliB at 05:11 PM JST - 13th March

    Smorkian:

    " No, let's hope future plants are built to better standards. "

    I understand TEPCO`s plant was built to high standard. Note that the big earthquake did not knock it out. Neither did the tsunami. What did knock it out was that the tsunami destroyed the diesel generators which…

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 05:11 PM JST - 13th March


    tclh at 05:11 PM JST - 13th March

    How the people of Japan who live along the coast line will sleep at night from now on, after seeing all that monstrous tsunamis on video times and times again? Will this affect prices of real estates (very close to the sea) world wide at all?

    Posted in What is your biggest worry in the aftermath of Friday's earthquake? at 05:11 PM JST - 13th March


    Smorkian at 05:08 PM JST - 13th March

    @michaelqtodd

    Let's hope this is the last nuclear power plant ever built anywhere

    No, let's hope future plants are built to better standards. How many are killed by pollutants from coal fired plants? Oil?

    Japan needs nuclear power. Japan also needs everybody to pull together and not point fingers right…

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 05:08 PM JST - 13th March


    bass4funk at 05:07 PM JST - 13th March

    Yes, thank you so much for the info Jkanda.

    Posted in Quake death toll feared to top 1,800; thousands more unaccounted for at 05:07 PM JST - 13th March


    rajakumar at 05:05 PM JST - 13th March

    14 percent of world electricity is provided by nuclear radiation power plants.

    We need to reduce electricity usage by 14 percent or more,to cut down nuclear/nuclear waste form of energy.

    Germany is rich in technology,exports and Euros,it could use non nuclear electricity if it wants to.

    But how about USA,China,India…

    Posted in German nuclear dispute sharpened by Japan earthquake at 05:05 PM JST - 13th March


    himehentai at 05:03 PM JST - 13th March

    I wish the government would be a bit more transparent about this whole thing. It feels like alot is being held back.

    But Im hoping there will be no more explosions ... Japan has been beaten enough over this weekend.

    Posted in Sea water injected into Fukushima nuclear plant; Edano warns of another explosion at 05:03 PM JST - 13th March


    apecNetworks at 05:02 PM JST - 13th March

    "Also on Sunday, an increasing number of search and rescue teams are arriving in Japan, with more than 70 countries and international organizations offering to provide support since Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the country’s eastern and northeastern regions."

    Japan has friends or what?

    Posted in U.S. aircraft carrier reaches waters off tsunami-hit coast as overseas rescue teams arrive at 05:02 PM JST - 13th March


    Livinginokinawa at 04:56 PM JST - 13th March

    Cry for the dead, yet rejoice for those that are living, as bad as things are it could have been worse. Hopefully this event will bring the country together and unlike the Hanshin earthquake when the PM told relief help from out side the country not to come, at least…

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 04:56 PM JST - 13th March


    apecNetworks at 04:46 PM JST - 13th March

    Holy Mackerel!!!! Does Japan have friendly support or WHAT??

    Posted in U.S. aircraft carrier reaches waters off tsunami-hit coast as overseas rescue teams arrive at 04:46 PM JST - 13th March


    Livinginokinawa at 04:43 PM JST - 13th March

    I'm ready to volunteer. Anyone know if they are requesting assistance from the civilian population?

    I've got a couple weeks vacation time I have to use up pretty soon and I am interested as well in any information about volunteering to help. I'm willing to foot the bill to get…

    Posted in U.S. aircraft carrier reaches waters off tsunami-hit coast as overseas rescue teams arrive at 04:43 PM JST - 13th March


    Zenny11 at 04:43 PM JST - 13th March

    bobcatfish.

    Not upset at all more like shaking my head as their purchases are the opposite to what is recommended for such a situation.

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 04:43 PM JST - 13th March


    fbicio at 04:41 PM JST - 13th March

    The meltdown already happened for sure and also for the other factory will happen, where They have cooling problem now if They don'r repair immediatly they will have other explosion ... If chemical has been detected outside the factory for sure they had meltdown ... The water needed to cool…

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 04:41 PM JST - 13th March


    bobcatfish at 04:40 PM JST - 13th March

    zenny 11 - it doesn't last too long even with refrigeration - what is yor point? You are upset because people bought high calorie snacks?

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 04:40 PM JST - 13th March


    samityala at 04:39 PM JST - 13th March

    Great advice and viewpoints.

    Posted in A smart approach to sales training at 04:39 PM JST - 13th March


    hachmike66 at 04:30 PM JST - 13th March

    That is because earthquake insurance is prohibitively expensive and hard to collect on. If your house burns down because of the earthquake, you aren't covered. If part of the house is still standing, they will only pay a part of the claim. It is a real joke. When we built…

    Posted in Quake and tsunami a blow to fragile Japan economy at 04:30 PM JST - 13th March


    bobcatfish at 04:27 PM JST - 13th March

    hokkaidoguy - a perfect storm? most earthquakes occur in the ocean. if the eathquake is above a certain size, then a tsunami is the norm.

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 04:27 PM JST - 13th March


    michaelqtodd at 04:27 PM JST - 13th March

    Let's hope this is the last nuclear power plant ever built anywhere

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 04:27 PM JST - 13th March


    sillygirl at 04:24 PM JST - 13th March

    haven`t some of you ever heard that even ONE person can make a difference. instead of belittling how many people are sent be grateful that people are willing to put their lives at risk to do the job. i say THANK YOU will all my heart.

    Posted in U.S. aircraft carrier reaches waters off tsunami-hit coast as overseas rescue teams arrive at 04:24 PM JST - 13th March


    bobcatfish at 04:24 PM JST - 13th March

    hokkaidoguy - i think the last 4m tsunami in the area was in 2003 (AD not BC)

    Posted in Miyagi police chief estimates over 10,000 deaths; man rescued 15 kms out to sea at 04:24 PM JST - 13th March


    michaelqtodd at 04:23 PM JST - 13th March

    Loving #operationtomodachi right now

    Posted in U.S. aircraft carrier reaches waters off tsunami-hit coast as overseas rescue teams arrive at 04:23 PM JST - 13th March


    wanderlust at 04:21 PM JST - 13th March

    Don't the Arabs have any planes or military of their own? For years they have been great purchasers of US, UK and French equipment, offsetting their balance of payments.

    Posted in Gadhafi pushes ahead as Arab League calls for help at 04:21 PM JST - 13th March


    Zenny11 at 04:19 PM JST - 13th March

    bobcatfish.

    Stocking up is ok. But milk won't last long without refrigeration.

    I can make quiet a lot of Chapati from 1kg of Flour a bit or water and olive-oil. Takes a fry-pan and a portable cooker, canned food seems to be ignored even though it can be eaten sans…


    ===
    When coolant pumping systems fail, the reactors begin to heat up

    - The remaining coolant then turns to steam, increasing pressure within the reactors

    - This steam is intentionally released to the atmosphere in order to avoid an uncontrolled release

    - Small amounts of radiation are released with this steam, however there is no significant danger

    - Chemical reactions occuring within the reactor can also generate hydrogen gas
    - Hydrogen that is vented (along with steam) into the surrounding structures can burn and cause an implosion

    The real worry is that fuel rods (tubes containing nuclear fuel) may deform (partial meltdown) or completely melt (meltdown), leaving fuel exposed within the reactor vessel. The radioactive fuel is still contained, but it then becomes far more tedious to control. This is why they're doing everything possible to cool the reactors.
    comment by Roland at 11:29


    @ DanMan by whom? That picture is just a projection for the next 5-10 days wind situation
    comment by David J. at 9:23
    ReplyAt this point all we can do is pray and help out according to individual ability. It is truly sad.
    comment by sadinCA at 9:23
    There are two coolants: 1 is the reactor coolant, usually CO2, that transfers heat to: 2 - the conventional steam turbine/alternator electrical output which requires either sea water to condense the steam or, inland venturi concrete cooling towers.
    comment by john kirkpatrick at 9:22
    Meltdown is not the terminology used in the industry. Meltdown is what people use when anything concerning a nuclear reactor happens. Regardless, while a partial core meltdown is nothing to joke about, the reactors are shut down, they simply need a cooling medium for a few more days. Any release of radiation will be minor in comparison to Chernobyl, and trying to work on people's fear is not the thing to do in a crisis. Sit back and let the experts do their jobs. They are standing at ground zero, do you think they are really going to sit around and lie about radiation levels when they would be condemning themselves to an exceedingly painful death?
    comment by clanc43 at 9:22
    are there other nuclear plants just by the sea - on the shore - as the one in Fukushima ?
    comment by Tibi Biolan at 9:22
    @ JBID this has occurred in Chernobyl with very silent result
    comment by anton at 9:22
    Oh Boy, I need to do this correctly,
    It is my understanding, and please correct me if anyone knows otherwise, that the sea water used to cool Reactor 1 will flow from the reactor or be vented as steam. In either case a small amount of radiation will be released.

    In addition, controlled steam release is occuring from reactor 3, as indicated Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano in the recent Reuters update.

    It is to be expected that both of these sources will produce some variation in local radiation levels. However, these releases represent a relatively tiny amount of radiation. If, as seems likely, the situation is brought under control and the fuel rods remain underwater from now on, this relatively small amount of radiation will dissapate rapidly and should not be a significant longterm problem for Japan let alone an issue for the US.

    After about 48 hours, the fuel rods will have become much less radioactive, produce less heat and be much easier to store.
    comment by D Morris at 9:22
    #
    0603: Prime Minister Naoto Kan tells Toshiba Corp president Norio Sasaki to take "firm action" in dealing with the possible meltdown at the Fukushima No 1 nuclear plant, Japan's Nikkei reports. Toshiba constructed the facility for Tepco.
    How interpreting this?
    comment by marshall banana at 9:22
    @frank - yes. Seawater corrodes and renders the reactor useless.
    comment by MediaWeasel at 9:21
    @MediaWeasal They do use seawater for cooling, but pumping it into the reactor is extraordinary. It usually goes in the outer loop. It saves a lot of money in building cooling towers.
    comment by JoelUpchurch at 9:21
    The image showing nuclear fallout spreading to western USA has been confirmed to be a HOAX.
    comment by DanMan at 9:18
    @mooj This situation has occurred before in Scotland and England to little negative outcome.
    comment by JBID at 9:18
    Here in Tokyo and people I know are concerned, not panicking
    comment by Poe Lou Chan at 9:17
    These are 40 year old light water reactors. They do not use salt water for normal cooling. The use of salt water is a last ditch effort to cool the core.
    comment by TimInWI at 9:17
    For full coverage of the Japan quake click in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:58
    @JBID, you forgot about the ground water. The problem is, that the ground water level is even lower, because its that near the sea. If the Meltdown gets out of control, the core would drop through the containment (Keep in Mind that this is the first Containment, and according to the constructers, it isn't designed to hold the melted core). And if that happens, we got a bigger disaster then chernobyl. The steam generated by this is highly radioactiv. And if this happens to both reactors, this wohl mess would get even bigger, to a world wide disaster, beacuse the third reactor is loaded with plutonium + uranium and possibly thorium
    comment by David J. at 8:57
    It is nice to hear rational voices here. I am an American in Tokyo and people here are panicking about the radiation coming towards Tokyo. Please take the time to listen to actual experts, not just hearsay and speculation.
    comment by TokyoGuyy at 8:57
    We need some good investigative reporter and not just the repeating of what the government and untility is saying. Niether has a good track record. Where is the live video shot of the reactors?
    comment by TimInWI at 8:56
    @Salem - no, seawater is not used for coolant. Seawater is corrosive, and is a last-ditch attempt to prevent meltdown.
    comment by MediaWeasel at 8:56
    does pumping sea water condemn the reactor?
    comment by frank at 8:56
    @person The source is the Japan Meteorological Agency. I am not sure how their scientists predict this, but they are the leading authority in the country. They announce warnings fairly regularly. Not sure if they had for this one, but it is obviously not an exact science.
    comment by Kanagawa_resident at 8:56
    @Tibi Biolan, as far as I understand, Japan's livable space is by definition close to sea as the rest is fairly mountainous.
    comment by Vlad at 8:56
    @JBID - you are rather naive. If the reactor went into meltdown and 'into the soil', massive amounts of highly pressurised, highly radioactive gas would be produced as a by-product as the hot core burnt it's way through concrete, soil, metal etc. Containing all of that massively radioactive gas would be impossible. Once the core melted down below the containment vessel, that gas would be free to find it's way to the surface. comment by mooj at 8:55
    I believe the Japanese government are doing their best given all challenges. Let's just watch and pray for them. Many comments hint or accuse of distrusts etc but they only have their people to think of these very trying times. Let's ALL be quiet and patient sympathizers.
    comment by Steve, Manila at 8:54
    Let me say this: Reuters has been brilliant so far. Others have been terrible. Like the whole "500ms radiation safety limit has been exceeded by 300ms" thing. Sure, but what they don't tell you is that the increase to 882 outside the plant isn't even enough to get you sick at this time unless you literally stand still for five hours. Similarly, the whole "risk of nuclear meltdown" thing -- one of the plants has probably melted down already. People seem to think a meltdown means everything explodes. It's nothing like that at all. The worst part of all this is that the public simply doesn't understand what's going on, and nobody's helping them, so everybody's scared. I literally saw a map on the internet that said the whole US will be engulfed in some kind of killer radiation. It's absolutely ridiculous.
    comment by JBID at 8:54
    @Tibi Biolan because the Power Plant use sea water as coolant for the reactor
    comment by Salem at 8:54
    Google earth has some new satellite imagery from japan. You can actually look at the Fukushima Daiichi plant after the quake when you load it into Google Earth. googleblog.blogspot.com
    comment by JoelUpchurch edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:53
    They were totally aware of these huge waves - no concrete dam's to protect the plant ?!
    comment by Tibi Biolan at 8:53
    Let me say this: Reuters has been brilliant so far. But please put something out there than puts the idiotic news organizations in their place.
    comment by JBID at 8:52
    They build them next to the ocean for access to cooling for the towers etc.
    comment by Komm at 8:52
    Let's pray for them
    comment by malaikkallan at 8:52
    i think the source is www.jma.go.jp
    comment by jDeep edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:52
    Reuters Analysis - Japan quake to delay recovery, pump up debt in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:48
    @D Morris -- D, there cannot be a "Chernobyl-like situation." Don't worry. At the worst, the meltdown will literally melt down into a chamber underneath the reactor and into the soil. Escape of radiation will be minimal. Right now there isn't even enough out there to get you sick for more than a week.
    comment by JBID at 8:45
    I do not quite get it - they've build nuclear plants very close to the sea
    comment by Tibi Biolan at 8:45
    @Kanagawa_resident how did they predict an earthquake D:? do you have any source on this |:?
    comment by person at 8:42
    Okay I messed up, the quote is about reactor 3. I still think I am right, but low radiation release for the seawater cooling reactor one, needs conformation.
    comment by D Morris at 8:41
    Is there anyone that has a no BS assessment on what is the worst that could happen if these reactors did indeed meltdown. I am on the west coast of the US and would really like to know if i should even be worried. Thank you.
    comment by Brian edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:41
    @Nick That is correct the earthquake magnitude has been revised upwards (again) to 9.0 earthquake.usgs.gov
    comment by Roger at 8:41

    Dear Editor,

    A key point is missing from current MSM coverage. The use of seawater as coolant inherently allows a low level of radiation release. By not making this fact explicit, the implication of current coverage includes a suggestion the tactic is not working. Radiation is appearing everywhere for unknown reasons.

    For brevity, above, I state as fact conclusions I only believe to be true. The direct statement that release of small amounts of radiation was expected provides a controlled basis for radiation release reports.

    YES, from your new report:
    The government had insisted radiation levels were low following Saturday's explosion, saying the blast had not affected the reactor core container. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Japan had told it that levels "have been observed to lessen in recent hours".
    "They are working on relieving pressure and pumping in water into the No. 3 reactor," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news briefing.
    "This will result in some radiation leakage, although at a level that won't affect peoples' health. It will help stabilize the situation." He also said radiation from the No. 1 reactor was "low enough not to affect people's health".



    Here is a comment suggestion that gets to the point:

    It is my understanding, and please correct me if anyone knows otherwise, that the sea water used to cool Reactor 1 requires exit of hot sea water from the containment vessel or the venting of the steam. In both cases a small amount of radiation will be released. It must be contributing to the overall radiation release.


    To quote the recent Reuters update:
    "They are working on relieving pressure and pumping in water into the No. 3 reactor," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news briefing.
    "This will result in some radiation leakage, although at a level that won't affect peoples' health. It will help stabilize the situation."
    comment by D Morris edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:41
    Apparently a worked died at the Fukushima Daini plant yesterday. TEPCO had this interesting comment: "A seriously injured worker who had ben trapped in the crane operating console of the exhaust stack was transported to the ground at 5:13pm and confirmed dead at 5:17pm. We sincerely pray for the repose of his soul." Link: www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by GreenLantern Excelsior edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:40
    Many are retweeting the Breaking News alert that "Fukushima nuclear plant was tested to withstand 7.9 quake, not 8.9." We should all note that it was the tsunami that caused damage, NOT the earthquake. The water damaged the generators which led to this.comment by JBID edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:39
    More than 200 bodies found at Higashimatsushima, police say - First time that place has been mentioned.
    comment by Daily at 8:39
    Japan quake evacuees scanned for radiation exposure in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 8:36
    Slideshow - Tsunami aftermath in Japan in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 8:31
    Insurance industry likely spared Japan nuclear threat in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 8:22
    Web site for Japan's Meteorological Agency with up-to-date information about confirmed earthquakes in English: www.jma.go.jp
    comment by Kanagawa_resident at 8:07
    Another video - Japan grapples with nuclear crisis in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 8:02
    Japan Meteorological Agency is predicting a 70% chance of a magnitude 7.0 quake in the next 3 days, and a 50% chance of same magnitude in the 3 days after that (March 16-19).
    comment by Kanagawa_resident at 8:00
    Japanese TV channels (NHK, FujiTV, maybe others) now reporting the magnitude of the earthquake was 9.0. Previously they said it was 8.8, international media however said 8.9
    comment by Nick at 7:57
    TEPCO... just updated the site with the latest news on No.3 Reactor seems they failed to restart it.... www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by Daily at 7:57
    For latest news and developments click here: www.reuters.com
    by Shadia Ismail at 7:55
    Here's a Q+A on the dangers posed by Japan's nuclear plant in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 7:46
    An interesting blog from The Economist online: "Containing the nuclear crisis" www.economist.com
    by Shadia Ismail at 7:31
    More on the specific dangers of Fukushima 1 plant's reactor 3: The BBC's Chris Hogg in Tokyo says the reactor is fueled with uranium and plutonium, meaning the consequences of a meltdown are much more severe than at the other reactors.
    by steveE edited by Shadia Ismail at 7:10

    An MH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter lands aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga in the Sea of Japan in this U.S. Navy handout photo dated March 12, 2011.REUTERS/US Navy/Lt. K. Madison Carter/Handout
    by Shadia Ismail at 7:09
    An official at Japan's Meteorological Agency says that wind direction over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will be monitored as it is a key factor in judging damage to the environment www.reuters.com
    by Shadia Ismail at 6:52
    If you look carefully at the reactor building 1 image of the explosion. There are two structures on top of each other.
    comment by Rickar at 5:34
    @Shadia Ismail Kyodo says 882 mSv/h, which is 88.2 rems. According to this table: www.ornl.gov anyone working for an hour or long at the plant will probably get radiation sick.
    comment by pjasnos at 5:33
    Two captions have now said leakage at Daini, but I thought it was Daiichi? Are there now 2 plants leaking?
    comment by Puzzled at 23:33
    Click here for our latest wrap on the crisis in Japan.
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 23:32
    Hats off to Reuters for this great coverage and service - I don't think any other news agency has anythink similar available to the public.
    comment by pjasnos at 23:32

    Smoke billows from fire-gutted vessels in waters off Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan March 12, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Shadia Ismail at 23:25
    IAEA says they were told by Japan that the sea water injection procedure at nuclear plant has started
    by Aviva West at 23:24
    IAEA says Japan's nuclear plant operator confirms that the primary containment vessel is intact
    by Aviva West at 23:22
    IAEA told that nuclear plant blast happened outside primary containment vessel
    by Aviva West at 23:19
    IAEA says told by Japan that radioactivity level nears nuclear plant have lessened in recent hours
    by Aviva West at 23:19

    A man rides a bicycle through a debris-strewn street in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan March 12, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo

    by Shadia Ismail edited by Shadia Ismail at 23:19
    Reuters correspondent, Scott DiSavino, explains the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. www.reuters.com
    by Sharon Ho at 23:11
    Reuters correspondents are reporting that tsunamis triggered by Japan's earthquake caused flooding as far away as Chile, but damage has been limited. www.reuters.com
    by Sharon Ho at 22:57

    Residents assess damage to boats in a harbor after a tsunami hit Santa Rosa village on the Pacific Ocean in Ecuador on March 12, 2011. Tsunamis triggered by Japan's devastating earthquake prompted evacuations on the Pacific coast of North and South America and caused flooding as far away as Chile. REUTERS/Stringer
    by Aviva West at 22:56

    Members of the Self-Defense Forces help residents, evacuated from their homes, move to a temporary shelter after radiation leaked from the Fukushima Daini nuclear reactor, in Koriyama, northeastern Japan March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak
    by Aviva West at 22:53
    Click here for a snap analysis on the Fukushima nuclear crisis. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 22:50
    it's very early morning, winds from observations in Tokyo are almost calm.
    comment by robert at 22:44
    Fukushima Prefecture still under "orange" alert for a tsunami possible. Issued 20:20 Japanese Standard Time: www.jma.go.jp
    comment by christina edited by Aviva West at 22:44
    @ahi, a full writeup on the cooling problems is at www.world-nuclear-news.org
    comment by Dave Miller at 22:43
    Jon, spiegel.de reports that a German rescue team was flown out again because of the unknown situation in Fukushima. spiegel also reports as of 17:40 that fuel rods where only half way covered in water. Can anyone confirm that?
    comment by J at 22:43
    japan.person-finder.appspot.com <-- Japan Earthquake person search, courtesy of Google.
    comment by pjasnos at 22:40
    @HazardYo To be precise, reactor explosion also consists of the supporting machinery as well. Reactor as a whole may explode due to steam, which is not the same as reactor core exploding which can't happen in this case.
    comment by pjasnos at 22:38

    U.S. Air Force personnel load a pallet onto a U.S. Air Force C-17A Globe Master III at March Air Reserve Base, California, in this handout image obtained March 12, 201 . REUTERS/Staff Sgt. Matthew Smith-US Air Force/Handout
    by Sharon Ho at 22:34
    update on contact info from Japan Times if hasnt already been put here - from bbc - search.japantimes.co.jp
    comment by Space Cadet edited by Aviva West at 22:33
    Reuters correspondent, Chris Meyers, is reporting that thousands of people are being scanned for radiation exposure. www.reuters.com
    by Sharon Ho at 22:32
    Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin says Japan has asked for an increase in energy supplies. www.reuters.com
    by Sharon Ho at 22:30

    Evacuees hold blankets as they stand in a line to enter a temporary shelter after radiation leaked from a Fukushima nuclear reactor in Koriyama, Japan, March 12, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

    by Aviva West at 22:25

    Residents, evacuated from their homes, wait in a military truck to move to a temporary shelter after radiation leaked from an earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daini nuclear reactor, in Koriyama, northeastern Japan March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak
    by Sharon Ho at 22:23
    @ahi Obviously they got some pumping system going with which they are flooding the reactor with sea water and boric acid trying to cool the reactor down.
    comment by Holger at 21:58
    Are some countries delaying their aid responses due to the possibility of more problems at the nuclear plants?
    comment by Jon at 21:58
    @HazardYo Yes, I meant the colloquial understanding of the term.
    comment by pjasnos at 21:58
    Is wind staying constant at a south-to-north direction?
    comment by Kio at 21:58
    Wait, the TEPCO release states that a crane operator died? "The operator trapped in the crane operating console of the exhaust stack
    was transferred to the ground at 5:13PM and confirmed the death at 5:17PM." You would think that a major energy company could hire better translators - but if true feel sorry for the guy and his family.
    comment by HandsomeMan at 21:58
    eloramalama.wordpress.com first load of photos from otsuchi, iwate. there is nothing left and numerous dead bodies amongs the rubbles
    comment by crab at 21:57
    The World Health Organization says the public health risk from Japan's radiation risk appears to be low. www.reuters.com
    by Sharon Ho at 21:49
    how is the plant being cooled when the cooling mechanisms have failed ?
    comment by ahi at 21:44
    @rossa Reuters' correspondents in Tokyo are reporting that the city's streets are deserted. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West edited by Aviva West at 21:45
    @pjasnos A nuclear reactor doesn't have the ability to 'explode'. What you may mean is a steam explosion, but the actual thing cannot explode at all.
    comment by HazardYo at 21:39
    @Reuters : thank u for always keeping us updated..this helps a lot.. can I ask? How is the current situation in Tokyo? Are the people evacuating now? I heard some people still doing their job normally in Tokyo, is that true? And how about the situation in Kyoto? Any damages? Because I haven't heard any news about Kyoto so far. thanks
    comment by rossa at 21:39

    by Sharon Ho at 21:34
    www.tepco.co.jp <- press release from TEPCO
    comment by jens at 21:24
    Naoto Sekimura, a professor at Tokyo University, told NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, that “only a small portion of the fuel has been melted. But the plant is shut down already, and being cooled down. Most of the fuel is contained in the plant case, so I would like to ask people to be calm.”

    Comment: Most of the fuel is contained in the plant case...
    comment by robert at 21:20
    @Dennis Meyers and also, China, eastern Russia and possibly Australia would be in a lot more trouble if that happens
    comment by pjasnos at 21:19
    @Dennis Meyers If the reactor totally breaks down and explodes - yes. It seems fairly unlikely with the info we have now.
    comment by pjasnos at 21:09
    They said that the Control room expierenced 1000X normal radiation. That would imply leaks way before they admitted them. Are they saying what types of rad? Alpha, beat, or-God forbid- gamma?
    comment by lynnburnham53@yahoo.com at 3/12/2011 4:10:30 PM19:10
    Thanks to @christina for the sharp eyes. Our Reuters story on worker contamination at the Fukushima plant. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 4:10:15 PM19:10
    @Perpe We haven't seen anything yet confirming people have been contaminated but we'll keep you up to date.
    by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 4:05:20 PM19:05
    Kyodo agency says that three people contaminated after explosion in Fukushima, do you also have that information?
    comment by perpe at 3/12/2011 4:04:35 PM19:04
    So then it's comparable to Tokaima, Japan 1999, or Saint-Laurent, France 1980, with partial core meltdown, but no release outside, right?
    comment by perpe at 3/12/2011 4:01:00 PM19:01
    Agency still rates Fukushima incident at 4 on scale of 1 to 7
    by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 3:51:24 PM18:51
    Japan's nuclear agency offers a correcton: Fukushima incident less serious than 3 Mile Island on INES scale
    by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 3:50:40 PM18:50

    Officials in protective gear check for signs of radiation on children who are from the evacuation area near the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant in Koriyama, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
    by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 3:49:36 PM18:49

    This satellite image, obtained March 12, 2011, shows post earthquake and tsunami damage at the Fukushima Dai Nai nuclear plant in Japan March 12, 2011. An explosion blew the roof off an unstable reactor north on Saturday, raising fears of a disastrous meltdown. REUTERS/DigitalGlobe/Handout
    by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 3:43:55 PM18:43
    Three Mile Island was rated 5. See here, 2nd page (pdf) www.iaea.org
    comment by Alberto at 3/12/2011 3:41:48 PM18:41
    This is it: en.wikipedia.org
    comment by christina edited by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 3:37:48 PM18:37
    According to the actual scale, published on Wikipedia, Fukushima accident should be rated 6 due to the steam explosion. One scale prior to the highest. Japanese authorities are apparently hiding the truth.
    comment by christina at 3/12/2011 3:37:29 PM18:37
    Nuclear agency says 3 Mile Island was rated a 3 on INES scale, and Chernobyl was rated 7
    by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 3:33:56 PM18:33
    Nuclear agency: Fukushima more serious than 3 Mile Island on INES scale, but less serious than Chernobyl
    by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 3:32:49 PM18:32
    Japan nuclear agency says they've rated Fukushima incident at 4 on a scale of 1 to 7
    by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 3:31:31 PM18:31
    Medium-sized aftershocks are continuing on average every 15-30 minutes. They register as a blip on the media screen as these have become commonplace for the people of Japan over the past 36 hours.
    comment by Kanagawa_resident at 3/12/2011 3:29:26 PM18:29
    See gallery of latest live Reuters pictures from Japan on your Blackberry. Download app on r.reuters.com
    comment by Russell Boyce at 3/12/2011 3:28:39 PM18:28
    9,500 unaccounted for in Miyagi's Minamisanriku: local gov't

    english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by nls at 3/12/2011 3:28:34 PM18:28
    If you live in Alaska or the West Coast of Canada or the USA I would suggest you consider purchasing a small handheld radiation meter or detector. Modern digital units are available online at places like e-Bay. You may need it to check things like produce for radiological contamination like is now done in parts of the Ukraine and the surrounding areas of Eastern Europe since Chernobyl.
    comment by James at 3/12/2011 3:28:08 PM18:28
    Survivors of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami huddled in shelters and hoarded supplies as rescue workers searched a mangled coastline of submerged homes, cars and stranded boats. Click here for our latest report from Kim Kyung-Hoon. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 3/12/2011 3:27:50 PM18:27
    Experts say Japan should not expect a repeat of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. www.reuters.com
    by Sharon Ho at 3/12/2011 3:02:27 PM18:02

    A combination picture of satellite images taken by Taiwan's National Space Organisation (NSPO) shows Japan's Sendai area before the earthquake.
    by Corinne Perkins at 3/12/2011 2:44:33 PM17:44

    A man walks among debris and strewn boats after a tsunami in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan March 12, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Sharon Ho at 3/12/2011 2:42:56 PM17:42

    by Corinne Perkins at 3/12/2011 2:33:00 PM17:33

    by Sharon Ho at 3/12/2011 2:08:55 PM17:08
    @Bartek Rudnicki it's actually one of the very few ways of preventing any sort of radiation-related damage in population
    comment by pjasnos at 3/12/2011 1:52:01 PM16:52
    This is probably the fastest way to start preventing something...SO better this than nothing.
    comment by Bartek Rudnicki at 3/12/2011 1:50:32 PM16:50
    Iodine will help reduce risk of Thyroid cancer caused by radioactive Iodine from possible fallout. It will not protect from radiation in general. It's not useless but saying it protects against radiation is presenting a false picture and may create a false sense of security. (and I know this from personal experience during Tchernobyl as well)
    comment by germanos at 3/12/2011 1:50:24 PM16:50
    @germanos Iodine concentrates in areas of the body like your thyroid. Increased dosage of standard Iodine will help prevent/reduce the absorption of radioactive iodine. As such it is useful for people to take Iodine supplements when radioactive Iodine is likely to be present. It will not help with any other aspect of radiation exposure.
    comment by tswsl1989 at 3/12/2011 1:49:37 PM16:49
    Kids in schools took iodine for 10 years and even more after Chernobyl took place. Bulgaria here
    comment by christina at 3/12/2011 1:49:28 PM16:49
    God Save All Japanese People; I am sure that they can overcome such disaster much more stronger than before.
    comment by Hani Almemary at 3/12/2011 1:48:18 PM16:48
    @Reuters_TonyTharakan Taking natural iodine in advance of the release of radioactive iodine (usually I-131) can help protect the human thyroid gland from excess exposure to radioactive I-131. However, it will do nothing to protect the human body from Cesium-137 (a bone seeker) nor will it provide protection from other radioactive isotopes that may be released.
    comment by looneytoonsindville at 3/12/2011 1:48:02 PM16:48
    Iodine works wonders and has helped many...
    comment by Steve from New York at 3/12/2011 1:47:23 PM16:47
    @germanos Actualy it is. in '86 I was taking doses of Iodine to prevent my body from radioactive exposure, probably like milion other people around europe after you know what happened in Chernobyl.
    comment by Bartek Rudnicki at 3/12/2011 1:46:10 PM16:46
    Kyodo has just reported that more than 1700 people are likely dead or missing in Japan
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/12/2011 1:45:38 PM16:45
    @germanos I was quoting from a Reuters story based on an IAEA statement from Vienna. Will post the story link soon. UPDATE: Here's the story link - in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/12/2011 1:43:58 PM16:43
    @ TonyTharakan: "Iodine can be used to help protect the body from radioactive exposure." That is not true.
    comment by germanos at 3/12/2011 1:43:25 PM16:43
    @Michael Gallegos We have no confirmation. But it is unlikely to be true. I did see a Telegraph story quoting a government official in Kurihara so I suspect things may not be as bad there as feared. www.telegraph.co.uk
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/12/2011 1:42:07 PM16:42
    Is there any truth to the rumor of Kurihara (Population 77,012) being classified as completely destroyed?
    comment by Michael Gallegos at 3/12/2011 1:40:00 PM16:40
    People here in Tokyo don't know what to do. Should we believe a government that built all these nuclear reactors in an earthquake prone country? I've heard that embassy staff of some countries are already heading back to their countries. Probably government officials are also evacuating their family to safe areas while they tell us everything is OK.
    comment by sidewalker at 3/12/2011 1:35:35 PM16:35
    Really? Can this madness ever cease? My heart is aching because of the endless stream of bad news in Japan. For Japan and the world at large, this has been a long struggle to find solace. May some God, deity, or anything have mercy!
    comment by Justin Boyer at 3/12/2011 1:33:48 PM16:33
    @christina That is correct. However, many of aftershocks have been in the 4.7-4.9 range so far. This one is larger than most aftershocks and the media issuing strong warnings. With people already shaken, it is only adding to the nervous environment.
    comment by Kanagawa_resident at 3/12/2011 1:33:28 PM16:33
    To be correct, this is not the first 6.0 aftershock as of today. 2 have been registered in the past 3-4 hours. I rely on a program that delivers info on any 4+ magnitude quake on earth.
    comment by christina at 3/12/2011 1:30:02 PM16:30
    The 1315 GMT quake in Fukushima had a preliminary magnitude of 6, according to NHK
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/12/2011 1:29:22 PM16:29
    Confirmation that a magnitude 6.0 earthquake has occured off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. Strong warnings for Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures are being issued. Concerns exist over already damaged buildings as well as any possible tsunami.
    comment by Kanagawa_resident at 3/12/2011 1:26:47 PM16:26
    Magnitude 6 off the coast of Fukushima : www.jma.go.jp
    comment by Simon at 3/12/2011 1:26:15 PM16:26
    Iodine tables/tincture for all those in surrounding area can do much to prevent possible thyroid cancer/illness...Priority #1 is get AC power back to those buildings. I understand US Air Force is sending large generators. May God have mercy on the people of Japan and spare them from more grief..in Jesus name. Amen
    comment by Steve from New York at 3/12/2011 1:25:57 PM16:25
    It won't be easy since another aftershock was just registered. 6.0 and it doesn't stop.
    comment by christina at 3/12/2011 1:25:33 PM16:25
    Anyone can give me some info about radiation monitoring around the globe?
    comment by Bartek Rudnicki at 3/12/2011 1:25:25 PM16:25
    great job Reuters .... you are very much appreciated.
    comment by randolphr at 3/12/2011 1:25:04 PM16:25
    Those 140 photos are the most evocative I've seen. Thanks!!!
    comment by gcbudka at 3/12/2011 1:24:44 PM16:24




    ===



    ANALYSIS-Japan quake to delay recovery, pump up debt12 Mar 2011 22:51

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    * Japan to see short-term hit, then boost from rebuilding

    * Damage to global economy not a concern

    * Explosion at nuclear plant adds unknown dimension

    * Debt sustainability at risk as government spending rise

    * Currency strength initially as investors bring cash home

    By Walter Brandimarte

    NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - Japan is likely to suffer a temporary economic hit from Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami and then enjoy a boost from reconstruction but the cost of rebuilding will worsen its already worryingly high public debt burden.

    While few expect the damage to exceed that of the Kobe earthquake in 1995 when the economy shrank by 2 percent before rebounding even further, the concern is that Japan's economy is much weaker today. It also is weighed down by the largest public debt among advanced economies, double the size of its $5 trillion gross domestic product.

    Additionally, some economists said the scale of the disaster and its consequences remained far from clear, especially after an explosion on Saturday at a nuclear power plant damaged by the quake that has caused some radiation leakage.

    "Not since the Cold War have I been asked to think about the economic consequences of a nuclear explosion in a densely populated area in a modern industrial economy," said Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics.
    "I don't relish that task." <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Graphic on reaction to Kobe earthquake: http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/11/03/JP_KBRCT0311_SB.jpg ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

    Still, most analysts said that while Japan's economy may now not return to growth in the first quarter, it will pull through later this year.

    As for the world economy, Japan is not a major engine of global growth so the disaster poses less of a risk to other countries than soaring oil prices caused by turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa.

    "The global economy will be fine," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities in Stamford, Connecticut.

    "After an initial decline in GDP growth, (Japan's) economic activity will rise driven by reconstruction," said Mohamed El-Erian, who helps oversee more than $1.1 trillion in investments at PIMCO.


    Japan might see GDP expand by more than 3 percent in annualized terms over the next three quarters if the pattern seen from the smaller 7.2 magnitude Kobe earthquake in 1995 is anything to go by, analysts said.

    Friday's quake, which sent a tsunami surging through coastal towns and cities, was centered around the northeastern city of Sendai in a region that is home to auto manufacturing and semiconductor factories.

    Japan's economy was struggling before the disaster. Its GDP shrank by an annualized 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. A Reuters poll published before the quake showed economists expected GDP to resume growing in the first quarter, expanding by 0.5 percent from the previous quarter.

    MORE DEBT

    One of the most worrying impacts of the earthquake will be Japan's already fragile debt position.

    "The timing of the disaster could not have been much worse," Capital Economics said in a research note.

    "A large part of the reconstruction costs will probably have to be met by local authorities and ultimately by central government, which is already struggling to bring public debt under control," it said.

    Brendan Brown, economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, said it "seems plausible" that the debt costs could add between 2 percent to 10 percent of GDP to its massive public debt load.

    If public debt grows more than 5 percent, "there would be the speculation as to whether the Japanese government would dip into its massive holdings of foreign exchange reserves and, say, sell U.S. T-bonds rather than issuing huge additional quantities of JGBs," Brown said.

    It is unimaginable that Japan would restructure its debt but investors might expect higher inflation and a weaker yen as ways to help it to cope with its debt burden, he said.


    This could hit its credit rating again. Japan was downgraded by Standard & Poor's in January given the lack of a plan to fix public finances. Moody's has warned it may soon cut Japan's ratings if the government fails to control its ballooning debt.

    STRONGER YEN

    The yen , which jumped more than 1 percent to 81.87 per dollar following the quake on Friday, likely will gain further in the following days, depending on the size of repatriation from insurers and other companies.

    The Bank of Japan on Monday plans to offer several trillion yen (tens of billions of dollars) to money markets in an emergency operation aimed at ensuring market stability and the smooth settlement of funds, Jiji news agency said, [ID:nTOE72B00Z], which could take pressure off the currency.

    "We expect that the foreign exchange market will take its cues from the immediate monetary and fiscal response," Citigroup analysts said in report.

    Another intervention by the BOJ in the currency market to curb yen strength is a possibility, said Mansoor Mohi-uddin, head of foreign exchange strategy at UBS Macro Research.

    "We don't expect USD/JPY to break through 80," he said in a research note. "Instead we think the Ministry of Finance would follow up its action of September last year by instructing the Bank of Japan to intervene in the currency markets again."
    (Additional reporting by Jennifer Ablan and Kristina Cooke; Editing by Bill Trott)




    =============
    By Gerard Wynn and Bernie Woodall

    LONDON/DETROIT | Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:48am EST

    LONDON/DETROIT (Reuters) - The growing risk of a significant radiation leak at two Japanese nuclear power plants following Friday's earthquake and tsunami threatens to hurt an industry that has enjoyed a rebirth since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
    On Friday, nuclear power advocates and environmentalists staked out familiar ground over the incident. But a wider public debate may be ignited if a major radiation leak occurs in Japan, said Paul Patterson, an energy analyst with consultants Glenrock Associates in New York.

    That debate has been largely muted since the 1980s when rock concerts were held to galvanize opposition to nuclear power after the Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania and the popular movie "The China Syndrome," that raised awareness of the dangers of a nuclear reactor meltdown.

    "The severity of what happens is what is important," Patterson said of the impact of the Japanese incident.

    If there is a substantial radioactive release, there could even be questions about whether it could travel on the Pacific jet stream to the U.S. West Coast.

    "It is serious and it could lead to a meltdown," said Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "And what we're seeing, barring any information from the Japanese that they have it under control, is that we're headed in that direction."

    But Naoto Sekimura of the University of Tokyo, said that a major radioactive disaster was not likely.

    An 8.9-magnitude earthquake centered in northern Japan triggered a series of events at two Tokyo Electric Power Co plants that created conditions for a radioactive leak because there wasn't electric power to circulate cooling water over superheated uranium fuel rods.
    The two TEPCO plants, the Daiichi plant and the Daini plant are around 40 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake that led to a tsunami and probably killed more than 1,000.

    Nuclear industry advocates on Friday were saying that the ability of the nuclear reactors in Japan to largely withstand the power of the earthquake shows how safe nuclear power is.

    But that was before a series of scary announcements from TEPCO that it had lost the ability to control pressure at several reactors and that it was having trouble with a valve that would allow reactor pressure to be eased.
    Thousands of residents were evacuated from the immediate area of the Fukushima plants, about 150 miles 240 km north of Tokyo.

    Industry experts said the precautions taken at Fukushima showed that enhanced security at nuclear power plants should prevent any disaster. But green groups said the threatened leak showed that the risks were still too high.

    "I wouldn't expect there to be a radiation emergency ultimately, they may have something to fix but it's a precaution more than anything else," said Sue Ion, former chief technology officer at British Nuclear Fuels, after Japan declared an atomic power emergency.

    Altogether, some 11 Japanese reactors shut down after the earthquake.


    Successive layers of security should prevent any leak of radiation, said Jeremy Gordon, an analyst at the World Nuclear Association based in London.

    NUCLEAR POWER GAINS RECENTLY

    "The reactor designs that are up for consideration today are generation three where the safety systems operate at an even higher level," said WNA analyst Jonathan Cobb.

    But environmental groups said the threat of a radiation leak underscored the general risks from atomic energy.

    "We've opposed nuclear power for decades, and this is another proof that it can't be safe," said Sven Teske, director of renewable energy at Greenpeace International.

    A leading U.S. scientist group said the incident highlighted the grave risk of inadequate back-up power to cooling systems at U.S. facilities.

    New interest from governments and investors in nuclear power follows the development of more advanced plants, and a new focus on security of energy supply and moves to reduce carbon emissions. Nuclear plants generate low-carbon power in contrast to fossil fuels and can produce constantly unlike wind and some other clean energy sources.

    The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimated last month that about 10 countries have decided to introduce nuclear power and started preparatory infrastructure work, up from four in 2008.
    (Additional reporting by Daniel Fineren, Fredrik Dahl, Karolin Schaps, and Scott DiSavino; editing by Martin Howell)


    ===

    ===========

    VIENNA | Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:59am EST

    VIENNA (Reuters) - Japanese authorities have told the U.N.'s atomic watchdog they are making preparations to distribute iodine to people living near nuclear power plants affected by Friday's earthquake, the Vienna-based agency said.

    Iodine can be used to help protect against thyroid cancer in the case of radioactive exposure in a nuclear accident.

    After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, thousands of cases of thyroid cancer were reported in children and adolescents who were exposed at the time of the accident. More cases are expected.

    In Japan Saturday, radiation leaked from a damaged nuclear reactor after an explosion blew the roof off in the wake of the massive earthquake, but the government insisted that radiation levels were low.

    Japan's Jiji news agency later said three workers suffered radiation exposure near the Fukushima nuclear plant.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear body, said Japanese authorities had informed it of the explosion and that they were "assessing the condition of the reactor core."

    Japan expanded the evacuation zone around the plant, Fukushima Daiichi, and also that of the nearby Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant.

    "The authorities also say they are making preparations to distribute iodine to residents in the area of both the plants," the IAEA said in a statement.
    "The IAEA has reiterated its offer of technical assistance to Japan, should the government request this," it said.

    (Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Louise Ireland)


    Snapshot - Developments after major Japan earthquakeTweet this
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    TOKYO | Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:11am GMT

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Following are main developments in the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck northeast Japan on Friday.

    - Death toll expected to exceed 1,300, domestic media say, with most people appeared to have drowned.

    - Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says there was an explosion and radiation leak at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) Fukushima nuclear power plant on Saturday.

    - Fukushima prefecture says the ceiling of TEPCO's reactor has collapsed. NHK says the outer structure of the building that houses the reactor appeared to have blown off.

    - Tepco says four people taken to hospital after explosion, but they do not have life-threatening injuries, Jiji reports.

    - Earlier, Japan warned of a meltdown at the nuclear reactor damaged after the quake, but said the risk of radiation contamination was small.

    - Authorities moved tens of thousands of residents from area near two nuclear plants in Fukushima prefecture, some 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, as they try to reduce pressure in the reactors.

    * The government says it has expanded the evacuation area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to a 20 km radius from 10 km.

    - Tepco, which operates the plants, quoted by Kyodo news agency as saying fuel may have been damaged by falling water levels at Daiichi nuclear plant.

    - Quake triggers tsunami up to 10 metres (30 feet), with waves sweeping away homes, crops, vehicles and submerging farmland. Scores of locations on fire, including a large waterfront area in northern Sendai city.

    - Bank of Japan will hold policy meeting on Monday and announce decision on same day. The central bank vows to do utmost to ensure financial market stability.

    * Toyota Motor Co says it will suspend operations at all 12 factories on Monday.
    - Total insured loss could be up to $15 billion (9 billion pounds), equity analysts covering the industry say..



    - Disaster sends oil, metals, and grain prices sliding on fears over its impact on demand, deepening their biggest decline in months; yen rises broadly on risk aversion by Japanese investors and expectations of repatriations by Japan's insurance companies; oil prices slides more than $3 a barrel.
    - Tokyo Stock Exchange plans to open for trading as normal on Monday.



    ============
    THE NEW ROYALS:Before Kate and Diana, an American princess
    ..Explosion at Japan nuke plant, disaster toll rises

    AP Photo/Kyodo News
    A Japanese military plane has its nose struck in a building at Matsushima air base of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, northeastern Japan, on Saturday, March 12, 2011, one day after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country's northeastern coast. More photos »
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    AP – A car leans against a wire from an electric pole in Miyako, northeastern Japan, Saturday, March 12, 2011, …
    By ERIC TALMADGE and YURI KAGEYAMA, Associated Press Eric Talmadge And Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press – 31 mins ago
    IWAKI, Japan – An explosion at a nuclear power station Saturday destroyed a building housing the reactor amid fears that it was close to a disastrous meltdown after being hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami.

    Friday's double disaster, which pulverized Japan's northeastern coast, has left 574 people dead by official count, although local media reports said at least 1,300 people may have been killed.

    Tokyo Power Electric Co., the utility that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, said four workers had suffered fractures and bruises and were being treated at a hospital. A nuclear expert said a meltdown may not pose widespread danger.

    Footage on Japanese TV showed that the walls of the reactor's building had crumbled, leaving only a skeletal metal frame standing. Puffs of smoke were spewing out of the plant in Fukushima, 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Iwaki.

    "We are now trying to analyze what is behind the explosion," said government spokesman Yukio Edano, stressing that people should quickly evacuate a six-mile (10-kilometer) radius. "We ask everyone to take action to secure safety."

    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. 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.

    In another disturbing development that could substantially raise the death toll, Kyodo news agency said rail operators lost contact with four trains running on coastal lines on Friday and still had not found them by Saturday afternoon.

    East Japan Railway Co. said it did not know how many people were aboard the trains.

    Adding to worries was the fate of nuclear power plants. Japan has declared states of emergency for five nuclear reactors at two power plants after the units lost cooling ability.

    Click image to see photos of quake, tsunami damage


    AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbum, Kenji Shimizu
    The most troubled one, Fukushima Dai-ichi, is facing meltdown, officials have said.

    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. It is not immediately clear if a meltdown would cause serious radiation risk, and if it did how far the risk would extend.
    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.

    Pressure has been building up in Fukushima reactor — it's now twice the normal level — and Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told reporters Saturday that the plant was venting "radioactive vapors." Officials said they were measuring radiation levels in the area. Wind in the region is weak and headed northeast, out to sea, according to the Meteorological Agency.
    The reactor in trouble has already leaked some radiation: Operators have detected eight times the normal radiation levels outside the facility and 1,000 times normal inside Unit 1's control room.

    Ryohei Shiomi, a nuclear official, said that each hour the plant was releasing the amount of radiation a person normal absorbs in a year.

    He has said that even if there were a meltdown, it wouldn't affect people outside a six-mile (10-kilometer) radius — an assertion that might need revising if the situation deteriorates. Most of the 51,000 residents living within the danger area had been evacuated, he said.

    Meanwhile, the first wave of military rescuers began arriving by boats and helicopters.

    Prime Minister Naoto Kan said 50,000 troops would join rescue and recovery efforts following the quake that unleashed one of the greatest disasters Japan has witnessed — a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami that washed far inland over fields, smashing towns, airports and highways in its way.
    "Most of houses along the coastline were washed away, and fire broke out there," said Kan after inspecting the quake area in a helicopter. "I realized the extremely serious damage the tsunami caused."

    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.

    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.

    Kan said a total of 190 military aircraft and 25 ships have been sent to the area, which continued to be jolted by tremors, even 24 hours later.

    More than 125 aftershocks have occurred, many of them above magnitude 6.0, which alone would be considered strong.
    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.

    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. Smoke from at least one large fire could be seen in the distance.

    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.
    Basic commodities were at a premium. Hundreds lined up outside of supermarkets, and gas stations were swamped with cars. The situation was similar in scores of other towns and cities along the 1,300-mile-long (2,100-kilometer-long) eastern coastline hit by the tsunami.

    In Sendai, as in many areas of the northeast, cell phone service was down, making it difficult for people to communicate with loved ones.

    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. A U.S. ship was also heading to the Marianas Islands to assist as needed, he said.

    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 and Jay Alabaster in Sendai also contributed.



    ==========

    Kyodo reports that Nissan and Honda have joined Toyota in shutting Japanese factories. Two of Nissan's three factories have been damaged by the quake. Other firms to shut installations are Nippon Steel, Toyo Tire & Rubber and Sumitomo Rubber Industries. Mitsubishi Electric and NEC are to check production lines to assess whether to resume production on Monday.
    ==

    (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.
    ROBIN GRIMES, PROFESSOR OF MATERIALS PHYSICS AT IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON

    "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."

    PROFESSOR PADDY REGAN, NUCLEAR PHYSICIST FROM BRITAIN'S SURREY UNIVERSITY
    "What is important is where that explosion is," Regan told Sky News.

    "It's not clear what has exploded. The big problem would be if the pressure vessel has exploded but that does not look as though that's what's happened.

    "If the pressure vessel, which is the thing that actually holds all the nuclear fuel ... if that was to explode -- that's basically what happened at Chernobyl -- you get an enormous release of radioactive material.

    "It doesn't look from the television pictures ... as though it's the vessel itself.

    He said media reports suggested that a small fraction of the nuclear fuel might have melted at the core of the reactor which would not be surprising.

    NUCLEAR EXPERT MARK HIBBS OF THE CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE
    "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)



    Introduction :: Mining uranium

    Uranium is the basic raw material of both civilian and military nuclear programmes.

    It is extracted from either open-cast pits or by underground mining. Although uranium occurs naturally all over the world, only a small fraction is found in concentrated ores.

    When certain atoms of uranium are split in a chain reaction, energy is released. This process is called nuclear fission.

    In a nuclear power station this fission occurs slowly, while in a nuclear weapon, very rapidly. In both instances, fission must be very carefully controlled.

    Nuclear fission works best if isotopes - atoms with the same number of protons, but different numbers of neutrons - of uranium 235 (or plutonium 239) are used.These isotopes have almost identical chemical properties, but different nuclear properties. Uranium-235 is known as a "fissile isotope" because of its propensity to split in a chain reaction, releasing energy in the form of heat.

    When a U-235 atom splits, it emits two or three neutrons. When other U-235 atoms are present, these neutrons collide with them causing the other atoms to split, producing more neutrons.

    A nuclear reaction will only take place if there are enough u-235 atoms present to allow this process to continue as a self-sustaining chain reaction. This requirement is known as "critical mass".

    However, every 1,000 atoms of naturally-occurring uranium contain only seven atoms of U-235, with the remaining 993 being denser U-238.
    Conversion

    Once extracted, uranium ore is taken to a mill to be crushed and ground into a fine powder. This is then purified in a chemical process and reconstituted in a solid form known as "yellow cake", due to its yellow colouring. Yellow cake consists of 60-70% uranium, and is radioactive.

    The basic aim of nuclear scientists is to increase the amount of U-235 atoms, a process known as enrichment. To do this, the yellow cake is dissolved in nitric acid and chemically processed before being heated to become uranium hexafluoride gas.

    Uranium hexafluoride is corrosive and reactive and must be handled very carefully. Pipes and pumps at conversion plants are specially constructed from aluminium and nickel alloys. The gas is also kept away from oil and grease lubricants to avoid any inadvertent chemical reactions.


    -
    Enrichment

    The aim of enrichment is to increase the proportion of fissile uranium-235 atoms within uranium.

    For uranium to work in a nuclear reactor it must be enriched to contain 2-3% uranium-235. Weapons-grade uranium must contain 90% or more u-235.

    A common enrichment method is a gas centrifuge, where uranium hexafluoride gas is spun in a cylindrical chamber at high speeds. This causes the slightly denser isotope u-238 to separate from the lighter u-235.

    The dense u-238 is drawn towards the bottom of the chamber and extracted; the lighter u-235 clusters near the centre and is collected.

    The enriched u-235 is then fed into another centrifuge. The process is repeated many times through a chain of centrifuges known as a cascade.

    The remaining uranium - essentially u-238 with all the u-235 removed - is known as depleted uranium. Depleted uranium, a heavy and slightly radioactive metal, is used as a component in armour-piercing shells and other munitions.

    Another method of enrichment is known as diffusion.

    This works on the principle that of the two isotopes present in uranium, hexafluoride gas, u-235 will diffuse more rapidly through a porous barrier than its heavier cousin, u-238.

    As with the centrifuge method, this process must be repeated many times.


    Reactor

    Nuclear reactors work on the principle that nuclear fission releases heat, which can be harnessed and used to heat water into steam to drive turbines.

    A typical nuclear reactor uses enriched uranium in the form of fuel 'pellets', each roughly the size of a coin and about an inch long. The pellets are formed into long rods known as bundles, and housed inside a heavily insulated, pressurised chamber.

    In many power stations, the bundles are submerged in water to keep them cool. Other types use carbon dioxide or liquid metal to cool the reactor core.

    To function in a reactor - ie produce heat through a fissile reaction - the uranium core must be 'critical'. This means that the uranium must be in sufficiently enriched form to allow a self-sustaining chain reaction to occur.

    To regulate this process, and allow the nuclear plant to function, control rods are inserted into the reactor chamber. The rods are made of a substance, typically cadmium, which absorbs neutrons inside the reactor.

    Fewer neutrons means fewer chain reactions are started, slowing down the fission process. There are more than 400 nuclear power stations across the globe, producing about 17% of the world's electricity. Nuclear reactors are also used to power submarines and naval vessels.
    --

    Reprocessing

    Reprocessing is the chemical operation which separates useful fuel for recycling from nuclear waste.

    Used fuel rods have their metallic outer casing stripped away before being dissolved in hot nitric acid. This produces uranium (96%), which is reused in reactors, highly radioactive waste (3%) and plutonium (1%).

    All nuclear reactors produce plutonium, but military types produce it more efficiently than others.

    A reprocessing plant and a reactor to produce sufficient plutonium could be housed inconspicously in an ordinary-looking building.

    This makes extracting plutonium by reprocessing an attractive option to any country wishing to pursue a clandestine weapons programme.

    --
    Uranium bomb

    The aim of all nuclear bomb designers is to create a supercritical mass which will sustain a chain reaction and violently release vast amounts of heat.

    One of the simplest is a so-called 'gun' design.

    Here, a smaller subcritical mass is fired at a larger one, causing the combined mass to go supercritical triggering a nuclear explosion.

    The process occurs in less than a second.


    To make fuel for a uranium bomb, highly-enriched uranium hexafluoride is first converted into uranium oxide, and then uranium metal ingots.

    This can be done using relatively simple chemical and engineering processes.

    The most powerful basic fission weapon - an atom bomb - will detonate with an explosion the force of 50 kilotons.

    This force can be increased by a technique called boosting, which harnesses the properties of nuclear fusion.

    Fusion consists of the joining together of the nuclei of atoms of hydrogen isotopes to produce nuclei of helium. This process occurs when hydrogen nuclei are subjected to intense heat and pressure, both of which are produced by a nuclear bomb.
    Nuclear fusion has the effect of injecting more energetic neutrons into the fission reaction, resulting in a bigger explosion.

    Such fission-fusion-fission devices are known as hydrogen bombs, or thermonuclear weapons.

    ===


    Plutonium bomb

    Plutonium offers several advantages over uranium as a component in a nuclear weapon. Only about 4kg of plutonium is needed to make a bomb. Such a device would explode with the power of 20 kilotons.

    To produce 12kg of plutonium per year, only a relatively small reprocessing facility would be needed.

    A warhead consists of a sphere of plutonium surrounded by a shell of material such as beryllium, which reflects neutrons back into the fission process.

    This means that less plutonium is needed to achieve critical mass, and produce a self sustaining fission reaction.

    A terrorist group or country may find it easier to acquire plutonium from civil nuclear reactors, rather than enriched uranium, to produce a nuclear explosive.

    Experts believe a crude plutonium bomb could be designed and assembled by terrorists possessing no greater level of skill than needed by the AUM cult to attack the Tokyo underground with nerve gas in 1995.
    A nuclear explosive of this nature could explode with the power of 100 tonnes of TNT - 20 times more powerful than the largest terrorist bomb attack to date.

    ==

    ===========

    Recent Comments on All Posts

    BosoBoss at 07:47 PM JST - 12th March

    NHK says that the evacuation area around the no.2 plant has been extended from 10km to 20km. So they are getting people well away from it. That's a good sign that they are taking this seriously and not trying to hide anything. While it's great to be able to inform…

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:47 PM JST - 12th March


    kawachi at 07:42 PM JST - 12th March

    @Patrick Smash & Roppongi: I hadn't heard him called "blinky" before. And yes, certainly a sign that he speaks falsely.

    Posted in Tokyo Gov. Ishihara to seek 4th term in April election at 07:42 PM JST - 12th March


    Sarge at 07:41 PM JST - 12th March

    Moderator, would you please post the URL to the Red Cross for people to make donations to the relief effort?
    I tried, but got the "Your comment was not posted because it contains potentially offensive content."

    Posted in Damage from megaquake increasing, death toll feared to top 1,600 at 07:41 PM JST - 12th March


    kawachi at 07:40 PM JST - 12th March

    OK, Zenny11. Now I understand what you are talking about.

    Posted in What do you think about all the various products that go on the market every year at this time to combat the effects of hay fever? What do you recommend? at 07:40 PM JST - 12th March


    USNinJapan2 at 07:39 PM JST - 12th March

    les grandes

    You're the one in need of a clue. We in the US military here in Japan are already providing assitance in many forms, life saving equipment, manpower, fuel, you name it. We're also deploying all of our helicopters and our ships capable of helo ops to the Sendai…

    Posted in Obama: Japan earthquake potentially 'catastrophic' at 07:39 PM JST - 12th March


    recherche88 at 07:35 PM JST - 12th March

    Also in the news here is the difference between the Fukushima incident and Three Mile: at Three mile you had the disaster of the meltdown, but no assault on the structure of the plant by other forces. At Fukushima there is damage to the structure from the massive earthquake and…

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:35 PM JST - 12th March


    Shumatsu_Samurai at 07:32 PM JST - 12th March

    The situation at the plant is dangerous, but other nuclear experts have said this shouldn't be another Chernobyl (touch wood). Densely populated areas such in the Kanto should be fine.

    spucky, you may think you're being funny but encouraging tens of millions of people to flee in panic would probably…

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:32 PM JST - 12th March


    Madverts at 07:32 PM JST - 12th March

    Jesus just seen the news about the explosion at the nuclear plant. I hope you guys are ok over there, looks like this catastrophe is getting worse.

    Posted in Obama: Japan earthquake potentially 'catastrophic' at 07:32 PM JST - 12th March


    Foxie at 07:28 PM JST - 12th March

    If you want more detailed info, read up on the Three Mile Island incident which happened in the US in the 70s and is like the one we have today. The government has evacuated all the people living around, so there is not much to worry about. Even if we…

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:28 PM JST - 12th March


    PT24881 at 07:26 PM JST - 12th March

    The whole mankind should actively participate in offering Japan ( and wherever such natural disasters take place ) a help hand ! Deep condolence to those familes that have friends / relatives passed away and do hope more survivors are discivered & rescured !

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:26 PM JST - 12th March


    sqwak at 07:22 PM JST - 12th March

    @3RENSHO - Unit One exploded at 3:26pm and is destroyed. Six Tepco subcontractors injured; four unconscious and two dead.

    Thanks for this latest info. When there was no mention on the news of any deaths except that 4 were injured, I could not believe that there were no deaths in…

    Posted in Work underway to release nuke container pressure to avert meltdown at 07:22 PM JST - 12th March


    Sarge at 07:22 PM JST - 12th March

    "One U.S. aircraft carrier is already in Japan,and a second is on its way to assist with the recovery efforts... Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan said U.S. and Japanese officials are talking constantly to determine exactly what type of assistance is needed. He said aid could include food, water, shelter…

    Posted in Obama: Japan earthquake potentially 'catastrophic' at 07:22 PM JST - 12th March


    recherche88 at 07:21 PM JST - 12th March

    News here in the US on the Fukushima reactor is suggesting meltdown and breach of the containment building and saying not safe to go within 50 miles of the site.

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:21 PM JST - 12th March


    hoserfella at 07:21 PM JST - 12th March

    Its been 4hrs since the explosion and still no word on how serious it is, or any possible danger 14 million people in the Kanto might be facing. Anyone hear anything?

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:21 PM JST - 12th March


    Richard_the_First at 07:21 PM JST - 12th March

    I think by nuclear explosion, we mean a fission explosion. That's not going to happen people.

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:21 PM JST - 12th March


    spucky at 07:20 PM JST - 12th March

    So, it is gone, the Reactor is broken. It is not a bad idea to buy Food and Water and try to escape at least until the Kansai or/and Sanyo area!

    Soundtrack: Cold- the End of the World (Accoustic Version)

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:20 PM JST - 12th March


    vctokyo at 07:17 PM JST - 12th March

    no immediate effect, but longer term ones...gees someone give the japanese public answers on this disaster!

    Posted in Kan inspects quake-hit nuclear plant in Fukushima at 07:17 PM JST - 12th March


    smithinjapan at 07:17 PM JST - 12th March

    As Jobs himself said, while all the other companies desperately scramble for their first generation tablets, Apple comes out with its newest. Xoom may be the 'first real competitor', but only at next to zero percent. Buying a Xoom would be like buying a Sega Game Gear.

    Posted in Xoom emerges as first real iPad competitor at 07:17 PM JST - 12th March


    YongYang at 07:17 PM JST - 12th March

    STILL no news on prevailing winds. OUTRAGEOUS.

    Posted in Work underway to release nuke container pressure to avert meltdown at 07:17 PM JST - 12th March


    CruzControl at 07:16 PM JST - 12th March

    Damn 20km now...

    Posted in Work underway to release nuke container pressure to avert meltdown at 07:16 PM JST - 12th March


    YongYang at 07:14 PM JST - 12th March

    I and my family are now leaving the region. I do not trust this information. Although Japan has a long and largely successful nuclear power programme, officials have been less than honest about some incidents in the past, meaning that official re-assurances are unlikely to convince everyone this time round.

    Posted in Work underway to release nuke container pressure to avert meltdown at 07:14 PM JST - 12th March


    vctokyo at 07:14 PM JST - 12th March

    hard not to feel abit concerned after being asked to evacuate within 2km, then to 5km and now to 20km...there must be something wrong...

    Posted in Work underway to release nuke container pressure to avert meltdown at 07:14 PM JST - 12th March


    CruzControl at 07:13 PM JST - 12th March

    nuclear explosion I mean... light reactors just shut down - not like Chernobyl at all.

    You can't just stop a nuclear reaction like flipping a light switch. The core will still be the temperature of the sun for a while and the problem is they can't cool it down. Explosions…

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:13 PM JST - 12th March


    hoserfella at 07:13 PM JST - 12th March

    nuclear explosion I mean... light reactors just shut down - not like Chernobyl at all.

    nec123 - so what do we call the explosion we've just seen on TV?

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:13 PM JST - 12th March


    smithinjapan at 07:08 PM JST - 12th March

    Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if Ozawa said the earthquake wouldn't have happened if he were PM. The guy's a lout, a liar, and a criminal.

    Posted in Ozawa eyes comeback, expresses hope to create stable gov't at 07:08 PM JST - 12th March


    owenfinn at 07:05 PM JST - 12th March

    What I really need to know, at this point, is if I should be getting my family in Yokohama, on a train or plane and out of harms way. What is truthfully going on?

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:05 PM JST - 12th March


    nec123 at 07:04 PM JST - 12th March

    nuclear explosion I mean... light reactors just shut down - not like Chernobyl at all.

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:04 PM JST - 12th March


    3RENSHO at 07:04 PM JST - 12th March

    Evacuation order has now been increased from 10km radius to 20 kilometres.

    Posted in Work underway to release nuke container pressure to avert meltdown at 07:04 PM JST - 12th March


    Alphaape at 07:02 PM JST - 12th March

    Japan, my suggest is to continue to lag behind. Reports from places with widn farms have reported people complaiing of the high pitched huming noise that comes from the turing of the windmills, and the increase of birds hitting the blades (remember, before we came into the jet age pilots…

    Posted in Japan trails behind in 2010 wind power capacity rankings: survey at 07:02 PM JST - 12th March


    jhk at 07:00 PM JST - 12th March

    Obama is just chewy words, but reality is he will always place bits of 9-11 debris, needles used for abortion, sperm from gay queens, in every morsel you swallow. Since he claims that he's Christian, he should know that God was responsible for this, and therefore potentially 'catastrophic' to Obama's…

    Posted in Obama: Japan earthquake potentially 'catastrophic' at 07:00 PM JST - 12th March


    nec123 at 07:00 PM JST - 12th March

    light water reactors cannot melt down or explode

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 07:00 PM JST - 12th March


    Jbeezy at 06:56 PM JST - 12th March

    ^^^ Pretty crazy how things happen sometimes. Nice to see a humane response.

    Posted in Sporting events scrapped across Japan after powerful quake at 06:56 PM JST - 12th March


    smithinjapan at 06:56 PM JST - 12th March

    "‘‘This is the largest earthquake since the Meiji Era, and it is believed that more than 1,000 people have lost their lives.’‘"

    Weren't some people saying it was the worst in 1200 years? Was that the Meiji era? :)

    Bicultural: Take care, my friend. Glad you are safe.

    Posted in Damage from megaquake increasing, death toll feared to top 1,600 at 06:56 PM JST - 12th March


    Kajsa at 06:55 PM JST - 12th March

    We from Russia. We very much sympathize with Japanese. The event is monstrous...

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 06:55 PM JST - 12th March


    smithinjapan at 06:53 PM JST - 12th March

    What does he think? third time's a charm?

    I guess he really DOES think Japan needs a criminal at the helm.

    Posted in Ozawa eyes comeback, expresses hope to create stable gov't at 06:53 PM JST - 12th March


    smithinjapan at 06:51 PM JST - 12th March

    Geez.... I hope the people working there are okay. I've no doubt TEPCO will downplay what's going on, but it won't stop their workers from dying if it gets any worse (if they aren't already). PLEASE don't let there be a meltdown -- Japan cannot afford a Chernobyl.

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 06:51 PM JST - 12th March


    sqwak at 06:50 PM JST - 12th March

    Judging from the news reports on tv (tv running full time since this a.m.)it looks like concerns now have shifted to the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, and the possibility of radiation contamination of the atmosphere.

    Posted in Damage from megaquake increasing, death toll feared to top 1,600 at 06:50 PM JST - 12th March


    alladin at 06:50 PM JST - 12th March

    I pray for all of the people that are affected from this earth quake. May god bless everyone in Japan and keep everyone safe.

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 06:50 PM JST - 12th March


    BosoBoss at 06:49 PM JST - 12th March

    A video of that explosion can be seen on BBC international. It looked massive.

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 06:49 PM JST - 12th March


    Disillusioned at 06:49 PM JST - 12th March

    So! When are these diks gonna stop censoring the news and tell the people what is really going on? This reactor is an hour away from total meltdown and they know it! And, for anybody within a 100K's of it there is no escape!!!

    Those of us in Tokyo are…

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 06:49 PM JST - 12th March


    Papigiulio at 06:46 PM JST - 12th March

    jeez that too.

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 06:46 PM JST - 12th March


    SamuraiBlue at 06:43 PM JST - 12th March

    Wait till the summer. If the temperature goes up like last year there will be a serious black out since the nuclear power plants would not come back on line.

    Posted in TEPCO warns of blackouts, calls for energy saving at 06:43 PM JST - 12th March


    nec123 at 06:43 PM JST - 12th March

    There is no god - but we can help ourselves

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 06:43 PM JST - 12th March


    Mocheake at 06:42 PM JST - 12th March

    Oh God, please help all of us. I agree with you, behappy but this is just the beginning. I wonder where's next?

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 06:42 PM JST - 12th March


    Mocheake at 06:39 PM JST - 12th March

    He probably said 'potentially catastrophic' because that's the information he was provided with. It's not like he's living here and he does have other items on his plate. CNN also said Japan was devastated but that isn't totally true now, is it? The Sendai area has been devastated but Tokyo…

    Posted in Obama: Japan earthquake potentially 'catastrophic' at 06:39 PM JST - 12th March


    behappy at 06:36 PM JST - 12th March

    Oh God, please help Japan!

    Posted in Explosion heard at Fukushima nuclear plant, 4 injured: TEPCO at 06:36 PM JST - 12th March


    Livvie at 06:35 PM JST - 12th March

    I've been ripped off a few times, ignored when trying to flag a cabbie down, taken where I didn't want to go and then dropped off in the middle of nowhere (in the pouring rain no less!) but even still I've had more positive experiences than negative ones. If the…

    Posted in Why are Tokyo cabbies so clueless? at 06:35 PM JST - 12th March


    PepinGalarga at 06:35 PM JST - 12th March

    we are lucky that the weather today was very warm, reducing the load. If this would have happened last week there would be way more blackouts for sure.

    went to the supermarket today and people were buying perishable food like meats, etc, and not canned goods. I guess they dont…

    Posted in TEPCO warns of blackouts, calls for energy saving at 06:35 PM JST - 12th March


    YongYang at 06:34 PM JST - 12th March

    If you haven't got them it is already too late.

    Posted in Work underway to release nuke container pressure to avert meltdown at 06:34 PM JST - 12th March


    PepinGalarga at 06:32 PM JST - 12th March

    Does anyone know where to score Potassium Iodide tablets in Japan? I searched online and it seems no noone knows even what this is. This is very ironic for a country dependent on a lot of nuclear power, and by the way the only place where atomic weapons have been…

    Posted in Work underway to release nuke container pressure to avert meltdown at 06:32 PM JST - 12th March

    ===
    Tragic quake may add to inflation pressures

    -- The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

    By Ian Campbell
    LONDON, March 11 (Reuters Breakingviews) - The full economic impact of the sixth most powerful earthquake ever recorded is not yet known. Many hundreds of lives have been reported lost in Japan. Aftershocks are a danger and other nations fear a tsunami running across the Pacific will spread the damage more widely. Though uncertainty is rife, the earthquake is more likely to add to global growth and attendant inflationary pressures than subtract from them. It also raises concerns about Japan's long-running fiscal dangers.
    The earthquake struck close to a relatively sparsely populated area of Japan. In contrast, the Kobe earthquake in January 1995 struck one of the most populated and industrialized regions, killing 6,434 people and causing damage estimated at around $100 billion. The current quake will leave a large reconstruction bill -- but, on current indications, a smaller one than for Kobe.
    Industrial and agricultural output in the area of the earthquake will be harmed. Some automobile and other industrial plants have had to close and may require repairs. Japan's exports may be dented temporarily. Food prices in Japan may be pushed higher.
    But spending over the coming months to remedy the destruction will tend to more than offset the economic losses suffered. There are already calls for a supplementary budget and there is no doubt that the government will be quick to repair infrastructure in the northeastern region -- and will have to borrow more as a result. The Bank of Japan has promised to provide ample liquidity. Firms, meanwhile, will rebuild capacity, with insurance companies bearing much of that cost.
    The earthquake will therefore mean an at least partial reversal of the austerity which the already embattled prime minister, Naoto Kan, has sought. The risks for Japan of fresh government spending when public debt is double the country's GDP are plain, though bond yields are still very low and fiscal crisis is not imminent. But economic growth is more likely to be stimulated than to fall.
    Markets have initially seen the opposite risk, that global growth and demand will be hurt by the earthquake. But if Japan, the world's third largest economy, must spend to rebuild, Asian and global growth are likely to be a little stronger, too. That also means global commodity demand and inflationary pressure are more likely to be pushed up by the earthquake than to be reduced. Supply of some commodities may be harmed; the need for them increased.
    The earthquake leaves the world shocked. Yet its economic impact may ultimately be to reinforce current trends: the global economy is recovering, but rising government spending and borrowing will one day have its toll.

    CONTEXT NEWS
    -- An 8.9 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful since Japan began keeping records 140 years ago, struck the country's northeast coast on March 11, triggering a 10-metre high tsunami. Domestic media said the death toll was expected to exceed 1,000, most of whom appeared to have drowned. Many other Pacific nations have issued tsunami warnings.
    -- The British Geological Survey said the earthquake was the sixth largest recorded since seismographic records began in 1900.
    -- The earthquake caused falls in equity markets. MSCI's all-country world index of global stocks dropped to a five-week low. Oil prices fell by more than $3 a barrel, with the price per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropping slightly below $100.

    (Editing by Robert Cole and Martin Langfield)



    Japan warns of radiation leak from quake-hit plants11 Mar 2011 23:59

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    * Thousands of residents evacuated as precautionary measure

    * Pressure building in reactor set to be released soon

    * PM Kan to visit the plant on Saturday (Adds second plant may also suffer radiation leak.)

    By Osamu Tsukimori and Chisa Fujioka

    TOKYO, March 12 (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, but said thousands of residents in the area had already been moved out of harm's way.
    Pressure was building in reactors of two plants at Tokyo Electric Power Co 's Fukushima facility, located some 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo. At one of them, the Daiichi plant, pressure was set to released soon , which could result in a radiation leak, officials said.

    "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 towards the sea will be considered," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference.

    "Residents are safe after those within a 3 km radius were evacuated and those within a 10 km radius are staying indoors, so we want people to be calm," he added.
    A trade ministry official said that T EPCO was also considering releasing pressure at its other plant, the Daini plant.

    TEPCO said it had lost ability to control pressure in some of the reactors at the 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.

    Some 3,000 people who live within a 3 km radius of the plant had been evacuated, Kyodo news agency said.


    Pressure at one Daiichi reactor may have risen to 2.1 times the designed capacity, the trade ministry said. Media also said the radiation level was rising in the turbine building.

    Preparatory work for the releasing of the pressure was expected to take time , Kyodo reported. Radiation levels outside the main gate of the plant were eight times normal levels .

    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.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists, a U.S.-based nonprofit organisation, 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 organisation 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 Andrew Marshall)


    ==========

    Japan quake interrupts Toshiba chip plants12 Mar 2011 00:31

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    * Toshiba-SanDisk chip facility briefly shuts production

    * Analysts eye higher memory prices

    * Toshiba warns of logistics risks

    * Micron shares jump (Rewrites first paragraph; adds quotes, background)

    By Noel Randewich and Paul Sandle

    SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) - Japan's biggest-ever earthquake halted production briefly at Toshiba's chip plants on Friday and could delay crucial shipments, although partner SanDisk said output losses were minor.

    The 8.9 magnitude earthquake -- the largest ever on record, killing over 1,000 people -- is expected to pinch microchips supplies from Japan, where a fifth of the world's semiconductors are made.

    Micron Technology Inc shares jumped 3.17 percent on expectations prices for NAND flash memory used in smartphones and tablets will rise in the quake's aftermath. SanDisk Corp shares rose 1.8 percent, but gave up most of its gains by the close.
    Toshiba Corp 6502.T and SanDisk share cutting-edge facilities in Yokkaichi, where they make NAND chips increasingly in demand by Apple and other mobile device makers.

    A SanDisk spokesman told Reuters some silicon wafers in the delicate manufacturing process had been spoiled, while Toshiba warned of delivery delays due to problems with road, rail and other transportation.

    "All it takes is a little vibration to screw up wafers," said said Kevin Cassidy, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. "We would expect NAND flash prices to increase on this."

    A separate Toshiba plant in Awate appears to have been affected by a power outage and all are being inspected for damage, Toshiba said in a statement.

    Japan is a major electronics manufacturer, accounting for 14 percent of the global production of computers, consumer electronics and communications gear last year, according to IHS iSuppli.

    Also due to the quake, Sony Corp 6758.T shut six factories, two in Fukushima and four in Miyagi, including a plant making laser diodes used in DVD, Blu-ray players and Playstations. Panasonic Corp 6752.T also halted production. [ID:nL3E7EB0X4]
    Boise, Idaho-based Micron has had no reported problems or production interruptions at its DRAM chip plant in Nishiwaki, its only facility in Japan, spokesman Dan Francisco told Reuters.
    Demand from Apple Inc and other manufacturers for NAND memory, used in mobile gadgets to store songs, photos and other media, is already expected to rise this year and any production setbacks could push prices higher.

    "SanDisk continues to assess the situation for any potential future impact that may arise from issues related to Japanese infrastructure and the supply chain," the company said.
    SUPER-SENSITIVE

    Underlying the sensitivity of high-tech manufacturing, a split-second power interruption at Toshiba's NAND facility threw off production in December and forced the company to warn that its output could be cut by 20 percent in the following two months.

    Any delivery slowdowns Toshiba's plants would be seen as positive for Micron.

    "Micron -- you would anticipate and the stock said that today -- would be a beneficiary of both lower supply for the industry, which is pricing leverage, as well as lower supply from a competitor, which is share gain," said JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna.

    Toshiba supplies more than a third of the NAND memory chips used worldwide in devices such as Apple's iPad.

    Analyst Mark Harding at Maxim Group in New York said the disaster would clearly have a negative impact on Sony, although it was too early to say to what extent.

    "From the onset, it's going to be marginally negative and the longer it takes the worse it's going to be," he said.
    However, the impact would be slightly mitigated because Sony had moved some manufacturing outside Japan and the disruption had not come at a peak time.

    "At this time, it's typically the seasonally slower period in terms of consumer consumption," he added. (Reporting by Paul Sandle and Noel Randewich; editing by Phil Berlowitz and Andre Grenon)



    ====
    Recent Comments on All Posts

    Dewaashita at 03:30 AM JST - 12th March

    Be honest and be prepared for lots of questions.

    Posted in Based on your experience, what is the best way to approach ending a friendship (not a relationship)? at 03:30 AM JST - 12th March


    sheilasspadger at 03:30 AM JST - 12th March

    nature be nature. a whole bunch of people feeling shock won't change that

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 03:30 AM JST - 12th March


    digitalnatives at 03:27 AM JST - 12th March

    Sendai, with a population of more than one million, is the largest city and commercial centre of the Tohoku region in northern Honshu.

    The capital of Miyagi prefecture, the sprawling city lies about 300 km (180 miles) north-east of Tokyo. It is located between the Nanakita River and the Hirose-gawa…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 03:27 AM JST - 12th March


    delitachan at 03:27 AM JST - 12th March

    My fiance in the Sendai area says that there's no water, electricity, gas or even food. At the supermarket, all there was was cup noodle. It's so scary.

    People can't get out of Sendai either. The highways are mad jammed and Sendai is a disaster zone. His computer and mobile…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 03:27 AM JST - 12th March


    owenfinn at 03:19 AM JST - 12th March

    The aftershocks are bad, but this is what`s keeping me up tonight.

    Posted in 2,000 residents near Fukushima nuclear plant advised to evacuate at 03:19 AM JST - 12th March


    YuriOtani at 03:16 AM JST - 12th March

    JennyTalwart, the tracks are near the coast because that is where people live.

    Posted in Train unaccounted for in tsunami-hit coastal area of Miyagi at 03:16 AM JST - 12th March


    Fadamor at 03:11 AM JST - 12th March

    To the victims, Godspeed. My thoughts and prayers are with the injured, their families, and those who otherwise have received a devastating blow to their livelihoods.

    Posted in Quake Damage at 03:11 AM JST - 12th March


    CanadaKen at 03:11 AM JST - 12th March

    Thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan, I can't even imagine the magnitude of this disaster.

    I did hear that in Tokyo that people are calm and maintaining order ... this is such a credit to your citizens in the face of such an event.

    This Canadian is…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 03:11 AM JST - 12th March


    digitalnatives at 03:10 AM JST - 12th March

    My deepest prayers to everyone who suffers from todays disaster and Rescue on way don:t loss hope

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 03:10 AM JST - 12th March


    hashira at 03:09 AM JST - 12th March

    **erinicerose84 ** as far as we can tell from TV news, Saitama has not been seriously affected. They probably had a really big shake, but other than that are probably fine. If you can post a phone # or hotel name, I'm sure we will cooperate to try to confirm…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 03:09 AM JST - 12th March


    tomwong4 at 03:07 AM JST - 12th March

    From my experience. Is a polite think if the taxi driver ask you to tell the way to go to your destination, because they think you know how to go to the destination. But if you don't know usually they will tell what road they will take to make sure…

    Posted in Why are Tokyo cabbies so clueless? at 03:07 AM JST - 12th March


    digitalnatives at 03:07 AM JST - 12th March

    it was a tragic day for japan todays earthquake was 8thousand bigger then newzealand earthquake. i was in my mention in nagoya komaki oh my god the 20floor mansion was shake almost 3 mins...

    To all the people of japan who loss their loved ones my deepest condolences and don:t…

    Posted in Train unaccounted for in tsunami-hit coastal area of Miyagi at 03:07 AM JST - 12th March


    Fadamor at 03:05 AM JST - 12th March

    I would think the control rods would have a gravity-based fail-safe in case of mechanical/electrical failure.

    Posted in 2,000 residents near Fukushima nuclear plant advised to evacuate at 03:05 AM JST - 12th March


    icuryy4me at 03:01 AM JST - 12th March

    :( I hope the worst is past at least.

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 03:01 AM JST - 12th March


    Fadamor at 02:57 AM JST - 12th March

    Horrible news. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 02:57 AM JST - 12th March


    zeynedime at 02:56 AM JST - 12th March

    all my heart whit Japan people...from İstanbul Turkey.

    Posted in 2,000 residents near Fukushima nuclear plant advised to evacuate at 02:56 AM JST - 12th March


    asianTourist at 02:53 AM JST - 12th March

    Historical facts and true events were recorded in different forms, but we hope to have a most accuracy, not perfection. Entertainment products are also imitated at a certain image to reach Audience. Ninjitsu is Japan's legendary martial arts, but most of Ninjitsu masters have not passed on their martial art…

    Posted in True Path of the Ninja: The Definitive Translation of the Shoninki at 02:53 AM JST - 12th March


    asianTourist at 02:47 AM JST - 12th March

    Municipal committee and local businesses may choose more alternative plans to keep a year-around-business boom from Spring to Winter, from Monday to Sunday. Creative entrepreneurs and investors can discover opportunities and solutions soon.

    Posted in China's growing sway felt in Niseko ski town at 02:47 AM JST - 12th March


    sailornb at 02:46 AM JST - 12th March

    As time draws on , the damage and death toll will rise, with the dawn of a new day in Japan the real damage will be seen, we are sure that the rescue workers are out looking for the train, and we can only hope for a good outcome. good…

    Posted in Train unaccounted for in tsunami-hit coastal area of Miyagi at 02:46 AM JST - 12th March


    asianTourist at 02:45 AM JST - 12th March

    Safety and transportation necessarily provided to accelerate the evacuation ... a road traffic is low.

    Posted in 2,000 residents near Fukushima nuclear plant advised to evacuate at 02:45 AM JST - 12th March


    nisegaijin at 02:43 AM JST - 12th March

    I want one!

    Posted in Xoom emerges as first real iPad competitor at 02:43 AM JST - 12th March


    sailornb at 02:43 AM JST - 12th March

    I wish the workers there the best in securing the reactor, The danger they face will be high, good luck,

    Posted in 2,000 residents near Fukushima nuclear plant advised to evacuate at 02:43 AM JST - 12th March


    asianTourist at 02:41 AM JST - 12th March

    Skylark restaurants chain will depended on domestic economic recovery and overseas franchising growth. U.S. INVESTMENT firm can manage this dining business at a larger scale to guarantee a return for what it has financed from the bank loans.

    Posted in Nomura eyes selling stake in Skylark restaurants to U.S. fund at 02:41 AM JST - 12th March


    sailornb at 02:41 AM JST - 12th March

    I am sure that All countries and here in Canada wish Japan and all its people the best and our prayers are with you as you recover from this terrible event.

    Posted in Quake Damage at 02:41 AM JST - 12th March


    ca1ic0cat at 02:40 AM JST - 12th March

    Not sure which way to go on this. The US supported the Afghans to oust the Taliban after their proxy, bin Laden, attacked the US. Qaddafi has attacked the US twice and France at least once - all terrorist attacks sponsored by Qaddafi. Is that the same thing? I'm sure…

    Posted in US, Europe pressure Libya but ease off militarily at 02:40 AM JST - 12th March


    TheMarion at 02:38 AM JST - 12th March

    First, I tried to contact my relatives in both Japan and Okinawa, but I was unable to contact anyone who could assure me whether they were safe. I used both the telephone and E-mail. However, my calls went unanswered MagicJack rings through. but no one picks up the phone and…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 02:38 AM JST - 12th March


    delitachan at 02:37 AM JST - 12th March

    Teraseru or something like OR anyone traveling to Japan:

    Postpone your trip. My fiance lives in the Tohoku region and it's an absolute disaster. Even as far as Tokyo, there's a lot of madness and chaos regarding travel and transportation. The airport is closed (NRT) and there's a huge backlog…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 02:37 AM JST - 12th March


    asianTourist at 02:34 AM JST - 12th March

    Japan, Gods Bless you. It had better to move south or more helicopters and air lifts are used to rescue people out of the quake-hit areas .... human assets are priority.

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 02:34 AM JST - 12th March


    erinicerose84 at 02:31 AM JST - 12th March

    Does anyone know the current status of Saitama, Japan? I have family living there and cannot reach them. Please email me or post here if you have any news. My email is erinicenhour@hotmail.com, thank you so much!

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 02:31 AM JST - 12th March


    ca1ic0cat at 02:29 AM JST - 12th March

    I thought Kan said that there was no radioactive leakage. But if you are saying the control rods won't insert, that is going to be a problem.

    Posted in 2,000 residents near Fukushima nuclear plant advised to evacuate at 02:29 AM JST - 12th March


    tokyochris at 02:25 AM JST - 12th March

    And why do they stop the trains, why the Japanese make it impossible to evacuate? I understand it when the Railsroads are damaged but this is not the case here in Tokyo but it seems impossible to leave downtown

    As I was walking home from Shinjuku to Ogikubo, there was…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 02:25 AM JST - 12th March


    Youdontknow at 02:22 AM JST - 12th March

    Trains are stopped because of damage to lines outside the capital. Standard protocol when there's an earthquake. Many areas look like a warzone, and will take years to recover. NHK has been showing news reports in English, Chinese, Tagalog, Korean and Japanese. Spucky...you obviously watched the wrong channel! There was…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 02:22 AM JST - 12th March


    nipponhouseplayer at 11:35 PM JST - 11th March

    Best of luck for all the Helicopter Rescue crews, All that practice doing hoist exercises will now be put to use!Save Japan!

    Posted in Train unaccounted for in tsunami-hit coastal area of Miyagi at 11:35 PM JST - 11th March


    sqwak at 11:34 PM JST - 11th March

    CCTV is still covering this Quake for the last 2 1/2 hours already. One worrisome point I find about this Quake is that it is still very cold in Japan. I hope those survivors who are waiting to be rescued will be able to make it through the night. BTW…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 11:34 PM JST - 11th March


    ThonTaddeo at 11:31 PM JST - 11th March

    If the cabbie can accuse Daniel of a crime be use he didn't pay the overcharge, can he accuse the cabbie of "kidnapping" in that he took him through an unasked-for location, and for longer than the normal rode would have warranted?

    My experience as a cab rider has been…

    Posted in Why are Tokyo cabbies so clueless? at 11:31 PM JST - 11th March


    spucky at 11:26 PM JST - 11th March

    Oh, did not know that! Domo for this valuable Information!

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 11:26 PM JST - 11th March


    tMMt at 11:20 PM JST - 11th March

    @spucky - you are so wrong. NHK have been broadcasting in English , Chinese, Korean Portugese, maybe Tagalog, I wouldn't recognize it. They have been doing it all day. Learn how to use your remote, my friend!

    Gas and water just came back here.

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 11:20 PM JST - 11th March


    Badge213 at 11:08 PM JST - 11th March

    Tokyo dodged a big one here...

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 11:08 PM JST - 11th March


    Heda_Madness at 11:05 PM JST - 11th March

    CNN report that 2-300 bodies have been washed up in Sendai.

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 11:05 PM JST - 11th March


    bass4funk at 11:05 PM JST - 11th March

    This is crazy! My heart goes out to everyone that are hurt or suffered any injury is this disaster, deep prayers. I live in Kyushu so all is well, but I have family in California and ironically, my parents live right on the beach and I can't seem to reach…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 11:05 PM JST - 11th March


    IfeelImust at 11:03 PM JST - 11th March

    Thrown clean across the room, loads of damage to the house and here comes yet another powerful after shock as I type!

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 11:03 PM JST - 11th March


    octopussy at 10:58 PM JST - 11th March

    If you start going after the rich, they'll just find some loophole to stash the cash. Breadline time, baby!

    Posted in Michael Moore rallies pro-union protesters in Wisconsin at 10:58 PM JST - 11th March


    Zenny11 at 10:55 PM JST - 11th March

    spucky.

    I been listening all day to NHK english, etc coverage. I get the digital signal and only need to switch the soundtrack, same as with movies, etc.

    For analog they might only do it on NHK-BS though.

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 10:55 PM JST - 11th March


    Hurtado at 10:54 PM JST - 11th March

    its rediculous people are getting killed, dont they watch they news??

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 10:54 PM JST - 11th March


    Antonios_M at 10:52 PM JST - 11th March

    Death toll has reached 77 so far according to TBS...still shocked by the damage of this earthquake. My prayers to everyone in the areas where tsunami struck.

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 10:52 PM JST - 11th March


    isissuperb1986 at 10:51 PM JST - 11th March

    I was really shocked when I heard the news.That showed the powerful rage of nature with many disastrous consequences! Now everybody needs to be united. I trully hope that everyone is safe and their beloved ones as well. May God ( Okami- sama) protect and bless people!And may rest their…

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 10:51 PM JST - 11th March


    chotto at 10:45 PM JST - 11th March

    Absolutely gutted to be stuck in London not being able to help my friends in Iwate.

    Hope Japan recovers soon.

    Posted in At least 59 dead, numerous others missing, injured after quake at 10:45 PM JST - 11th March


    alphawolf at 10:44 PM JST - 11th March

    Marion, you could have ate salads for three months in the states and dropped your glucose readings as well. They have goya in the USA also, locally grown, the exterior is smoother in appearance. Glad you're moving to the place you love and hope you enjoy it. Not sure if…

    Posted in Okinawa governor dismayed by U.S. official's 'extortion' remark at 10:44 PM JST - 11th March


    alphawolf at 10:41 PM JST - 11th March

    Marion, you say noone in Okinawa has diabetes? Not true, many have diabetes and not many Okinawans actually eat the seasonal bitter melon called Goya. I like it, but don't eat enough to benefit from any of it's health benefits since I only eat it about once a week when…

    Posted in Okinawa governor dismayed by U.S. official's 'extortion' remark at 10:41 PM JST - 11th March


    donkusai at 10:40 PM JST - 11th March

    This is not good at all. And all those cars bobbing in the water... I was watching people in cars driving unawares toward the tsunami wave on TV before the camera pulled away... I really feel for the people in the affected areas and hope like anything for good outcomes…

    Posted in Train unaccounted for in tsunami-hit coastal area of Miyagi at 10:40 PM JST - 11th March


    =============
    Hundreds killed in tsunami after 8.9 Japan quake
    . Play Video AP – Raw Video: Earthquake triggers tsunami in Japan
    . Slideshow:Huge Japan quake spawns tsunami .
    Play Video Video:Japan quake triggers giant tsunami Reuters .
    Play Video Video:People gather on Tokyo streets after massive quake AFP .
    AP – Tsunami waves swirl near a port in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture (state) after Japan was struck by a strong …
    By MALCOLM FOSTER, Associated Press Malcolm Foster, Associated Press – 28 mins ago
    TOKYO – A ferocious tsunami unleashed by Japan's biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday, killing hundreds of people as it carried away ships, cars and homes, and triggered widespread fires that burned out of control.

    Hours later, the waves washed ashore the U.S. West Coast, where evacuations were ordered from California to Washington but little damage was sustained. The entire Pacific had been put on alert — including coastal areas of South America, Canada and Alaska — but waves were not as bad as expected.

    In northeastern Japan, the area around a nuclear power plant was evacuated after the reactor's cooling system failed and pressure began building inside.

    Police said 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai, the city in Miyagi prefecture, or state, closest to the epicenter. Another 137 were confirmed killed, with 531 people missing. Police also said 627 people were injured.

    The magnitude-8.9 offshore quake unleashed a 23-foot (seven-meter) tsunami and was followed for hours by more than 50 aftershocks, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0.

    Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the epicenter. A large section of Kesennuma, a town of 70,000 people in Miyagi, burned furiously into the night with no apparent hope of being extinguished, public broadcaster NHK said.

    Koto Fujikawa, 28, was riding a monorail when the quake hit and had to later pick her way along narrow, elevated tracks to the nearest station.

    "I thought I was going to die," Fujikawa, who works for a marketing company, said. "It felt like the whole structure was collapsing."

    Scientists said the quake ranked as the fifth-largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and was nearly 8,000 times stronger than one that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month.

    "The energy radiated by this quake is nearly equal to one month's worth of energy consumption" in the United States, U.S. Geological Survey Scientist Brian Atwater told The Associated Press.

    As night fell and temperatures hovered just above freezing, tens of thousands of people remained stranded in Tokyo, where the rail network was still down. The streets were jammed with cars, buses and trucks trying to get out of the city.

    The city has set up 33 shelters in city hall, on university campuses and in government offices, but many planned to spend the night at 24-hour cafes and hotels.

    The government ordered thousands of residents near a nuclear power plant in the city of Onahama to move back at least two miles (three kilometers) from the plant. The reactor was not leaking radiation but its core remained hot even after a shutdown. The plant is 170 miles (270 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

    The Defense Ministry said it had dispatched dozens of troops trained to deal with chemical disaster to the plant in case of radiation leak.

    Trouble was reported at two other nuclear plants as well, but there was no radiation leak at either of them.

    Japan's coast guard said it was searching for 80 dock workers on a ship that was swept away from a shipyard in Miyagi.

    Even for a country used to earthquakes, this one was of horrific proportions because of the tsunami that crashed ashore, swallowing everything in its path as it surged several miles (kilometers) inland before retreating. The apocalyptic images on Japanese TV of powerful, debris-filled waves, uncontrolled fires and a ship caught in a massive whirlpool resembled scenes from a Hollywood disaster movie.

    Large fishing boats and other vessels rode high waves ashore, slamming against overpasses or scraping under them and snapping power lines along the way. Upturned and partially submerged cars bobbed in the water. Ships anchored in ports crashed against each other.

    The tsunami roared over embankments, washing anything in its path inland before reversing directions and carrying the cars, homes and other debris out to sea. Flames shot from some of the homes, probably because of burst gas pipes.

    Waves of muddy waters flowed over farmland near Sendai, carrying buildings, some of them ablaze. Drivers attempted to flee. Sendai airport was inundated with thick, muddy debris that included cars, trucks, buses and even light planes.

    Highways to the worst-hit coastal areas buckled. Telephone lines snapped. Train service in northeastern Japan and in Tokyo, which normally serve 10 million people a day, were suspended, leaving untold numbers stranded in stations or roaming the streets. Tokyo's Narita airport was closed indefinitely.

    In one town alone on the northeastern coast, Minami-soma, some 1,800 houses were destroyed or badly ravaged, a Defense Ministry spokeswoman said.

    President Barack Obama said the U.S. "stands ready to help" Japan.

    Jesse Johnson, a native of the U.S. state of Nevada who lives in Chiba, north of Tokyo, was eating at a sushi restaurant with his wife when the quake hit.

    "At first it didn't feel unusual, but then it went on and on. So I got myself and my wife under the table," he told The Associated Press. "I've lived in Japan for 10 years, and I've never felt anything like this before. The aftershocks keep coming. It's gotten to the point where I don't know whether it's me shaking or an earthquake."

    NHK said more than 4 million buildings were without power in Tokyo and its suburbs.

    A large fire erupted at the Cosmo oil refinery in the city of Ichihara and burned out of control with 100-foot (30-meter) flames whipping into the sky.
    "Our initial assessment indicates that there has already been enormous damage," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. "We will make maximum relief effort based on that assessment."

    He said the Defense Ministry was sending troops to the hardest-hit region. A utility aircraft and several helicopters were on the way.

    Also in Miyagi prefecture, a fire broke out in a turbine building of a nuclear power plant, but it was later extinguished, said Tohoku Electric Power Co.
    A reactor area of a nearby plant was leaking water, the company said. But it was unclear if the leak was caused by the tsunami or something else. There were no reports of radioactive leaks at any of Japan's nuclear plants.

    Jefferies International Ltd., a global investment banking group, estimated overall losses of about $10 billion.
    Hiroshi Sato, a disaster management official in northern Iwate prefecture, said officials were having trouble getting an overall picture of the destruction.

    "We don't even know the extent of damage. Roads were badly damaged and cut off as tsunami washed away debris, cars and many other things," he said.

    The U.S. Geological Survey said the 2:46 p.m. quake was magnitude 8.9, the biggest to hit Japan since record-keeping began in the late 1800s and one of the biggest ever recorded in the world.

    The quake struck at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers), about 80 miles (125 kilometers) off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles (380 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo. Several quakes hit the same region in recent days, including one measured at magnitude 7.3 on Wednesday that caused no damage.

    A tsunami warning was extended to a number of areas in the Pacific, Southeast Asia and Latin America, including Japan, Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Chile. In the Philippines, authorities ordered an evacuation of coastal communities, but no unusual waves were reported.

    Thousands fled 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.
    The first waves hit Hawaii about 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT). A tsunami about 7 feet (2.1 meters) high was recorded on Maui and a wave at least 3 feet (a meter) high was recorded on Oahu and Kauai. Officials warned that the waves would continue and could get larger.

    Japan's worst previous quake was a magnitude 8.3 temblor in 1923 in Kanto that killed 143,000 people, according to USGS. A 7.2-magnitude quake in Kobe in 1995 killed 6,400 people.

    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 nations. A magnitude-8.8 temblor that shook central Chile in February 2010 also generated a tsunami and killed 524 people.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Jay Alabaster, Mari Yamaguchi, Tomoko A. Hosaka and Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo; Jaymes Song in Honolulu and Mark Niesse in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, and Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report.



    Tsunami may quicken investors' rush to safe havens

    -- The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

    By Wayne Arnold
    HONG KONG, March 11 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Japan's earthquake and resulting tsunami have helped shake investor confidence in the global economy. Tensions are especially high because investors have so much to lose. Soft commodities and base metals have soared on hopes for a global recovery. Now protests in Saudi Arabia, weak Chinese trade data and sticky U.S. unemployment have left these risk assets looking vulnerable.

    Confidence and commodities have been the theme for most of the past year. Investors were preoccupied with hedging the risk of a sinking dollar in the context of a booming Asian recovery. The result was a pell-mell(In a jumbled, confused manner; helter-skelter.
    ) rush of cheap dollars into relatively risky assets: emerging market currencies, bonds and stocks, precious metals like gold and silver, oil, raw materials such as copper and coal, and foodstuffs like wheat and corn.

    Even as optimism about the U.S. economy sent emerging markets into reverse, the high price of traditional hedges like gold and oil meant investors continued to buy base metals and soft commodities. That helped push the Commodities Research Bureau Index up 46 percent between May 25 last year and March 4. But strong gains mean investors now have more wealth tied up in these assets. As a result, they are very sensitive to suggestions that either commodities demand or inflation might be heading south.
    Fear is now with us. Even before the 8.9 Richter-scale earthquake hit north-east Japan, China dealt a blow to confidence by reporting a rare trade deficit for February.

    Disappointing numbers on U.S. jobless claims served as another blow. Further west, news that Saudi Arabia's police fired on Shi'ite protesters has stoked fears that spiralling oil prices could hurt global growth.

    This doesn't change the long-term prospects for the commodities needed to feed and house an increasingly prosperous Asia. But many investors have been playing commodities because of inflation, not long-term demand. That means that even a small shock is enough to send risk assets into a spiral. The economic impact of Japan's earthquake remains to be seen, but when expectations are high, even a relatively modest knock can produce a severe reaction.

    CONTEXT NEWS
    -- An earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale hit north-east Japan on March 11, triggering a 10-metre tsunami that killed at least 22 people and forced the closure of nuclear power plants and of Japan's second busiest airport. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 1.75 percent.
    -- The cost of insuring Asian debt climbed sharply and stock markets fell on fears over the effects of the earthquake and unrest in the Middle East. Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell as much as 1 percent, while stocks in Kuala Lumpur dropped 1.4 percent and Jakarta stocks fell 1.3 percent.
    -- Brent crude slipped almost 2 percent ahead of a day of protests in Saudi Arabia called by activists for March 11. Protests were also planned in other Gulf countries such Kuwait and Bahrain. Brent has climbed 20 percent so far this year.
    -- The U.S. Labor Department said on March 10 that first-time claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose for the week ended March 5 to 397,000. Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department said the trade deficit rose in January to its highest level in seven months thanks to rising oil prices.
    -- China posted a $7.3 billion trade deficit for February on March 10 as imports soared and the Lunar New Year disrupted export shipments.

    ((wayne.arnold@thomsonreuters.com))
    (Editing by John Foley and David Evans)


    ============
    Tsunami washes away vehicles
    The Meteorological Agency says a tsunami more than 7.3 meters high hit Soma Port in Fukushima Prefecture at 3:50 PM on Friday.

    Thirty minutes earlier, tsunami more than 4 meters high hit the ports of Kamaishi and Miyako in Iwate Prefecture.
    Tsunami over 3 meters high were observed at Oarai Port in Ibaraki Prefecture, Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture, and Ofunato Port in Iwate Prefecture.

    NHK helicopter footage on live TV has shown a large number of houses being washed away in Miyagi Prefecture and elsewhere.
    In Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture, many oceanside houses are under water.

    An NHK camera installed at the Hachinohe Port in Aomori Prefecture has shown seawaters flooding parked cars.
    The tsunami aftermath was also captured by another NHK camera in Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture, where ships and containers have been swept away from the port, before the wave hit a seaside road.

    A large number of buildings and oil facilities can be seen burning in wide areas of the Pacific coast.

    Friday, March 11, 2011 17:09 +0900 (JST)



    =========

    Factbox: Factories located near Japan quake regionTweet Share thisLink this
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    Panasonic Corp
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    TOYOTA MOTOR CORP
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    Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:15am EST

    (Reuters) - Following is a partial list of companies with factories and offices located in northeast Japan in the areas worst hit by Japan's earthquake and tsunamis.

    Toyota Motor Corp
    - Subsidiary Central Motor Co: Miyagi prefecture, near Sendai. Started production in January 2011, builds Yaris subcompact sedan. Capacity: 120,000 units a year.
    - Subsidiary Kanto Auto Works: Iwate prefecture. Builds smaller cars such as Belta sedan, Auris, Blade, ist.

    - Joint venture with Panasonic Corp , Prime Earth EV Energy, in Miyagi prefecture. Makes batteries for hybrid cars. Production suspended.
    - Toyota Motor Tohoku car parts factory. Operations started in Oct 1998. Production stopped, no injuries.
    Honda Motor Co

    - Tochigi factory, makes engine parts, transmissions. Established in December 1970. National broadcaster NHK reports one woman, one man dead after damage to building.
    - Also has major R&D centers in Tochigi.

    - Company confirming situation.

    Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd

    - Maker of Subaru cars and aircraft. Has aircraft factory and industrial vehicles factory in Tochigi prefecture. Company could not be immediately reached for comments.
    Sony Corp
    - Two factories in Fukushima, four in Miyagi. All are closed and employees evacuated. Extent of damage not yet known. One Miyagi factory makes semiconductors, the other three make optical film and various other parts. The two Fukushima factories make batteries.
    Citigroup Holdings Japan
    - No damage to trading facilities, operating normally after quake. All staff in central Tokyo safe. Company will send staff home early. No confirmation of safety of all staff in retail branch offices outside Tokyo. Has no office in Sendai.

    (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim, Isabel Reynolds and Chikafumi Hodo; Editing by Anshuman Daga)



    ===========
    Quake damage

    The fire department in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, says a building in Tsuzuki Ward has collapsed and 3 people may be trapped inside. Firefighters are trying to rescue them.

    In Yamagata, northern Japan, firefighters rushed to a hotel in the center of the city that is reportedly on fire after the powerful quake. It is not known if there are any casualties.

    A tremor with an intensity of 6-plus on the Japanese scale of 0 to 7 was registered in Utsunomiya City, north of Tokyo. Firefighters were mobilized after receiving several reports of fires. The local fire department said there are reports of injuries.
    The anti-disaster office for Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture, in northeastern Japan, says quite strong tremors continued for about a minute.

    It says the city office building has no power, and a seismometer cannot be checked.

    It adds that the city is issuing radio alerts for major tsunami.

    Friday, March 11, 2011 16:11 +0900 (JST)



    ============
    Zenny11 at 08:51 PM JST - 11th March

    Hope everyone is fine.

    In my area(west of Tokyo) just a lot of shaking. My friends company in Tochigi got hit badly though.

    But looks like cel-phones are starting to work again, managed to get hold of his GF and they got talking. Trains are also starting to run again.…

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 08:51 PM JST - 11th March


    T_rexmaxytime at 07:59 PM JST - 11th March

    This earthquake and tsunami was terrifing!!! I am still a bit woed!

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 07:59 PM JST - 11th March


    Ah_so at 07:48 PM JST - 11th March

    The quake went on for so long that my in-laws in Niigata all suffered from motion sickness.
    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 07:48 PM JST - 11th March









    ==========
    Reactor cooling equipment fails at TEPCO

    The government has declared an emergency situation at one of Tokyo Electric Power company's nuclear power plants in quake-stricken Fukushima Prefecture. It says no radioactive materials have been leaked.

    Tokyo Electric said an equipment failure has made it impossible to cool two reactors at the Fukushima Number One plant.

    The firm says it does not have enough electric power to cool the reactors, which automatically stopped operating when the quake struck.

    The government has taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of nearby residents. But it says that the residents should remain calm, and that currently no evacuation is needed.

    The power company is sending eight power generators to the site, and the Ground Self Defense Force is sending one more.

    Friday, March 11, 2011 19:53 +0900 (JST)



    Huge tsunami slams Japan, sweeps across Pacific basin

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    1 / 9 Natural gas storage tanks burn at a facility in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, Japan March 11, 2011.
    Credit: Reuters/KYODO
    By Chisa Fujioka and Elaine Lies

    TOKYO | Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:00am EST

    TOKYO (Reuters) - The biggest earthquake to hit Japan since records began 140 years ago struck the northeast coast on Friday, triggering a 10-meter tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, ships, cars and farm buildings on fire.
    The Red Cross in Geneva said the wall of water was higher than some Pacific islands and a tsunami warning was issued for the whole of the Pacific basin, except for the United States and Canada, but Hawaii ordered the evacuation of coastal areas.

    At least 22 people were killed in the quake and tsunami, Kyodo news agency said, and the extent of the destruction, and the forecast for the tsunami, suggested the death toll could rise significantly.

    The 8.9 magnitude quake caused many injuries, sparked fires and the wall of water, prompting warnings to people to move to higher ground in coastal areas.

    "I was terrified and I'm still frightened," said Hidekatsu Hata, 36, manager of a Chinese noodle restaurant in Tokyo's Akasaka area. "I've never experienced such a big quake before."

    Some nuclear power plants and oil refineries were shut down and a refinery and a major steel plant was ablaze.
    Cabinet ministers were meeting about nuclear issues after media reports said the government would declare a nuclear power emergency, which occurs if there is confirmation of radioactivity leaks or a reactor cooling system breakdown.

    Around 4.4 million homes were without power in northern Japan, media said. A hotel collapsed in the city of Sendai and people were feared buried in the rubble.

    Electronics giant Sony Corp, one of the country's biggest exporters, shut six factories, Kyodo reported, as air force jets raced toward the northeast coast to determine the extent of the damage.
    The Bank of Japan, which has been struggling to boost the anemic economy, said it would do its utmost to ensure financial market stability as the yen and Japanese shares fell.

    The Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia all issued tsunami alerts, reviving memories of the giant tsunami which struck Asia in 2004. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued alerts for countries to the west and across the Pacific as far away as Colombia and Peru.

    There were several strong aftershocks. In Tokyo, buildings shook violently. An oil refinery near the city was on fire, with dozens of storage tanks under threat.
    Stunning TV footage showed the tsunami carrying the debris and fires across a large swathe of coastal farmland near the city of Sendai, which has a population of one million. Ships in once coastal area were lifted from the sea into a harbor where they lay helplessly on their side.
    Sendai is 300 km (180 miles) northeast of Tokyo and the epicenter at sea was not far away.
    NHK showed flames and black smoke billowing from a building in Odaiba, a Tokyo suburb, and bullet trains to the north of the country were halted. Thick smoke was also pouring out of an industrial area in Yokohama's Isogo area. TV footage showed boats, cars and trucks tossed around like toys in the water after a small tsunami hit the town of Kamaichi in northern Japan. An overpass, location unknown, appeared to have collapsed and cars were turning around and speeding away. Kyodo news agency said there were reports of fires in Sendai where waves carried cars across the runway at the airport.


    TOKYO | Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:54am EST

    "The building shook for what seemed a long time and many people in the newsroom grabbed their helmets and some got under their desks," Reuters correspondent Linda Sieg said in Tokyo. "It was probably the worst I have felt since I came to Japan more than 20 years ago."

    The quake struck just before the Tokyo stock market closed, pushing the Nikkei down to end at a five-week low. Nikkei futures trading in Osaka tumbled as much as 4.7 percent in reaction to the news. Nikkei: A trademark used for an index of the relative price of selected stocks listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

    The disaster also weighed on markets elsewhere, pushing shares in European insurance companies down. Large reinsurers -- Swiss Re, Hannover Re and Munich Re -- were all down more than 4 percent.

    British, French and German insurers were also sold off in early trade, with Aviva down more than 2 percent, Allianz off 1.7 percent and Axa 1.3 percent lower.
    GREAT KANTO QUAKE The quake was the biggest since records began 140 years ago, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. It surpasses 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.

    Passengers on a subway line in Tokyo screamed and grabbed other passengers' hands during the quake. The shaking was so bad it was hard to stand, said Reuters reporter Mariko Katsumura.

    Hundreds of office workers and shoppers spilled into Hitotsugi street, a shopping street in Akasaka in downtown Tokyo.
    Household goods ranging from toilet paper to clingfilm were flung into the street from outdoor shelves in front of a drugstore.

    Crowds gathered in front of televisions in a shop next to the drugstore for details. After the shaking from the first quake subsided, crowds watched and pointed to construction cranes on an office building up the street with voices saying, "They're still shaking!," "Are they going to fall?"
    Asagi Machida, 27, a web designer in Tokyo, sprinted from a coffee shop when the quake hit.

    "The images from the New Zealand earthquake are still fresh in my mind so I was really scared. I couldn't believe such a big earthquake was happening in Tokyo."

    The U.S. Geological Survey earlier verified a magnitude of 7.9 at a depth of 15.1 miles and located the quake 81 miles east of Sendai, on the main island of Honshu. It later upgraded it to 8.9.
    Japan's northeast Pacific coast, called Sanriku, has suffered from quakes and tsunamis in the past and a 7.2 quake struck on Wednesday. In 1933, a magnitude 8.1 quake in the area killed more than 3,000 people.
    Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas. The country accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

    (Writing by John Chalmers; Tokyo bureau and Asia Desk, Editing by Dean Yates; Singapore +65 6870 3815)



    ===============
    Recent Comments on All Posts

    Roppongi at 07:45 PM JST - 11th March

    @ pacific08 "its the first time i have been afraid for my life" I was also very scar3ed. when I watched the walls move side to side..at first ok here comes the "g" shing...then the opposite walls started to move side to...and then I said oh shyt!. the thewalls shook…

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 07:45 PM JST - 11th March


    METinTokyo at 07:35 PM JST - 11th March

    The kicker for me is that today is my wifes birthday, she's in Tokyo and I'm down in Shizuoka-ken on business. She wasn't expecting me back until tomorrow, but for the first time in a few years I made a point of remembering and also made plans as I was…

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 07:35 PM JST - 11th March


    Sarge at 07:31 PM JST - 11th March

    First time in about a decade I've seen a line in front of a public telephone booth.
    My prayers are with the dead and their families.

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 07:31 PM JST - 11th March


    v4vendetta at 07:26 PM JST - 11th March

    Wow, this was definitely the worst one I've ever been through. What a terrible experience. I thank God that I survived unscathed.

    Posted in Quake Damage at 07:26 PM JST - 11th March


    himehentai at 07:16 PM JST - 11th March

    dirisaya - you do realize that Japan is not a Christian nation?
    Posted in Quake-triggered floods submerge Miyagi residential areas at 07:16 PM JST - 11th March


    sqwak at 07:10 PM JST - 11th March

    Been watching CCTV here over at my end - tv station been breaking news about this major Quake for the past few hours, non stop. The pictures were/are taken life thro NHK, aerial view. Watched the first tsunami rushing in miles away from the sea was frightening. More so, when…
    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 07:10 PM JST - 11th March


    cadmium at 07:08 PM JST - 11th March

    It's been upgraded to 8.9, the strongest ever.

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 07:08 PM JST - 11th March


    Nessie at 07:07 PM JST - 11th March

    Softbank what happen to you? can`t make any calls!

    Just another day for SoftBank.

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 07:07 PM JST - 11th March


    dirisaya at 07:07 PM JST - 11th March

    Dear people of Japan / minna san Nihon,

    May GOD be with you!

    I am sure the people of Japan will help each other and rise from this natural disaster strong as ever. As always. You are strong.

    Posted in Quake-triggered floods submerge Miyagi residential areas at 07:07 PM JST - 11th March


    wacjapan at 07:02 PM JST - 11th March

    Wow! Iron Maiden really knows how to announce their arrival in Japan! See you at the concert tomorrow night!

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 07:02 PM JST - 11th March


    sabiwabi at 06:56 PM JST - 11th March

    It seems that calling cell phone to cell phone does not work, but calling from a phone with a land line to a cell phone seems to work. Try that if you need to reach someone.
    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 06:56 PM JST - 11th March


    cynthwn at 06:56 PM JST - 11th March

    Smithinjapan: Thanks so much!!!! It's greatly appreciated!!! I've been sitting in front of the TV and computer since this happened to get the latest news. I'm so worried. Thanks for giving me some relief. Can you let me know how about the train system there? Is there still trains to…

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 06:56 PM JST - 11th March


    Sarge at 06:53 PM JST - 11th March

    The tsunami is a monster, sweeeping houses out to sea...

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 06:53 PM JST - 11th March


    WordStar at 06:39 PM JST - 11th March

    is Playboy Weekly the best Japan Today could find? Isn't there a more respectable and reliable source of information than the usual scaremongers?

    Respectability notwithstanding, it turns out they were right.

    Posted in Christchurch quake may portend major seismic activity for Japan at 06:39 PM JST - 11th March


    apecNetworks at 06:38 PM JST - 11th March

    Correct if in error, but this foreign political donation charge actually carries a jail term. If so, both FM Maehara and PM Kan may have to resign to avoid the indictment and possible jail term.
    Posted in Kan admits receiving donations from S. Korean, will not resign at 06:38 PM JST - 11th March


    SolidariTea at 06:38 PM JST - 11th March

    I would like to thank any American democrats here. Your side put on quite a spectacle - trashing the capitol, physically attacking Republicans and showing the contempt for our Constitution that now pretty much defines your party.

    Posted in Wisconsin approves anti-union measure at 06:38 PM JST - 11th March


    sensei258 at 06:21 PM JST - 11th March

    pacific08-same here. Stuff was flying off our shelves, doors were sliding open and closed, all the water splashed out of the toilet bowl, etc. That's the first time I've ever been really scared I was about to die. I just kept saying "Not now, not now, please"Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 06:21 PM JST - 11th March


    smithinjapan at 06:20 PM JST - 11th March

    cynthwn: Osaka is completely fine, aside from anyone who feels shook up from the minor tremors. There are some minor tsunami (about a foot high) hitting from what I've heard, but should be zero damage and no injuries. I cannot speak for all of Kansai. The coastal areas of Kansai,…

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 06:20 PM JST - 11th March


    pacific08 at 05:34 PM JST - 11th March

    In my 36 years in Tokyo (now in Koto-ku) its the first time i have been afraid for my life, many things broken here in my apptment...still some secouss are felt, just now ! I cant call (docomo and ntt are out of order) my daughter and great chidreen in…

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 05:34 PM JST - 11th March


    cynthwn at 05:15 PM JST - 11th March

    Can anyone please kindly let me know whether Osaka (Namba/Kansai area) is safe? any injuries?? Is the airport closed?

    my parents are there now but will depart from Kansai airport tonight, I have lost touch with them as they don't have mobile phone, please kindly keep me posted if possible..…

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 05:15 PM JST - 11th March


    lalasalama at 04:41 PM JST - 11th March

    omg, magnitude 8.4!

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 04:41 PM JST - 11th March


    ironchef at 04:39 PM JST - 11th March

    phone lines are dead..Docomo is also dead Try using skype for calls, taht's what i did.
    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 04:39 PM JST - 11th March


    METinTokyo at 04:37 PM JST - 11th March

    I picked a heck of a day to stop smoking!

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 04:37 PM JST - 11th March


    TeruSensei at 04:18 PM JST - 11th March

    I am leaving for Japan on sunday, fingers crossed everything will be alright. It looks pretty grim on TV here in Australia.
    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 04:18 PM JST - 11th March


    donkusai at 04:16 PM JST - 11th March

    Wow. I'm watching live on the NHK World feed as sets of tsunami waves are rolling in in the Sendai area. You can see cars and people on the roads as the inundation sweeps across the rice fields. Not good at all.
    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 04:16 PM JST - 11th March


    sn00z3 at 04:13 PM JST - 11th March

    Thank God I`m alive.

    Softbank what happen to you? can`t make any calls!

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 04:13 PM JST - 11th March


    SamuraiBlue at 04:12 PM JST - 11th March

    I see the operation of trains are suspended and a fire in Odaiba but beside that I have not heard of any fatalities nor building collapsing.

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 04:12 PM JST - 11th March


    jason6 at 03:54 PM JST - 11th March

    As long as the CP keeps on selecting ministers based on their skill at managing a particular portfolio rather than politicking, AKA technocratic rule, they shouldn't get into too much trouble. If people or groups within the ruling class start doing power-grabs or try to hold onto power when they…

    Posted in Freer political system could bring 'internal disorder' to China: Wu at 03:54 PM JST - 11th March


    Zenny11 at 03:51 PM JST - 11th March

    My IP-phone was not disrupted, had one miss-connection to sons school.

    Big Tsunami incoming.

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:51 PM JST - 11th March


    WordStar at 03:47 PM JST - 11th March

    That item in Kuchikomi two weeks ago forecasting a major quake turned out to be spot-on.

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:47 PM JST - 11th March


    ebonyninja at 03:39 PM JST - 11th March

    10th floor in Yokohama MM21 area and it was crazy!! Aftershocks continue...

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:39 PM JST - 11th March


    Damien15 at 03:39 PM JST - 11th March

    Does anyone know about that smoke coming off of Odaiba? Is there a fire?

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:39 PM JST - 11th March


    smithinjapan at 03:38 PM JST - 11th March

    Sushi: It's probably all messed up. I was in a mere Ice Storm once when power lines went down and everything was crossed.

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:38 PM JST - 11th March


    smithinjapan at 03:38 PM JST - 11th March

    Sushi: It's probably all messed up. I was in a mere Ice Storm once when power lines went down and everything was crossed. Tsunami is GROWING kiddies!! Anyone close to the water GET OUT!

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:38 PM JST - 11th March


    smithinjapan at 03:36 PM JST - 11th March

    Wow... could feel this in Osaka. For a minute I was sure my body was just telling me it was going to collapse from fatigue, but the rhythm of it seemed too regular. That, and the fact that the tea I was drinking was moving as well, confirmed what I…

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:36 PM JST - 11th March


    jonswan at 03:36 PM JST - 11th March

    Iidabashi Tokyo was shaking like a leaf - I was under the table with my iMac. Still trembling (me that is, not the building). I hope this doesn't mean casualties. Now it's coming back again...

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:36 PM JST - 11th March


    reika99 at 03:36 PM JST - 11th March

    i'm afraid. let's all pray. hope everyone is okay. theres no time for selfishness. I pray for everyone to be okay.

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:36 PM JST - 11th March


    jason6 at 03:36 PM JST - 11th March

    Anytime a controversy connected with China comes up, paid commenters based in China usually come crawling out of the woodwork and start spouting propaganda. They're like roaches.

    Posted in Dalai Lama says he'll give up political role at 03:36 PM JST - 11th March


    nothereillegal at 03:32 PM JST - 11th March

    in Tokyo jesus....scary or what

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:32 PM JST - 11th March


    SushiSake3 at 03:32 PM JST - 11th March

    Can't get through to phones in Tokyo either landlines or mobiles

    I second that. Text from phones leaves but I don't know if it arrives.

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:32 PM JST - 11th March


    jason6 at 03:31 PM JST - 11th March

    New Zealand is thought of as a small island and this was a big earthquake where buildings failed catastrophically and many people died. It's understandable for people not familiar with New Zealand to treat the Christchurch area disaster as a nationwide event (even though it isn't).

    I get this all…

    Posted in Japanese tours, exchange visits to NZ being canceled after quake at 03:31 PM JST - 11th March


    skipthesong at 03:31 PM JST - 11th March

    Who will control monetary policy then?" Well, considering so many of those on board have had issues with taxes, I should apply for it. I've never had a money issue even when I was making hardly anything.

    Posted in Wisconsin approves anti-union measure at 03:31 PM JST - 11th March


    skipthesong at 03:28 PM JST - 11th March

    I don't care about no tea party, dem party, repub party... I do care about non-performing workers getting paid for stellar performing workers and I also care about taxes. Someone with the same credentials of these teachers gets paid less and still pays into their own retirement and health care.…

    Posted in Wisconsin approves anti-union measure at 03:28 PM JST - 11th March


    lastog at 03:25 PM JST - 11th March

    Maher is correct. If Futenma is not relocated within Okinawa the base will not be returned and operations will continue.

    Posted in Maher, Clinton saw no problem even if Futenma cannot be relocated at 03:25 PM JST - 11th March


    shady86 at 03:25 PM JST - 11th March

    I can' imagine how many lives will be lost today. Cars and building are flowing like boats in Iwate.

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:25 PM JST - 11th March


    minello7 at 03:24 PM JST - 11th March

    On the other side of the coin,what if these donations had been donated illegally to multi politicians on purpose, for use at a future date to discredit a politician.These two incidents, Kan and Maehara together, a bit to much of a coincidence.Power plus politics are a dirty business.Who stands to…

    Posted in Kan admits receiving donations from S. Korean, will not resign at 03:24 PM JST - 11th March


    Carcharodon at 03:24 PM JST - 11th March

    Usgs are reporting two quakes, both 7.9!

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:24 PM JST - 11th March


    Nessie at 03:24 PM JST - 11th March

    I'm all for summary execution

    Why even wait 'til summer?

    Posted in Pirates to be brought to Japan after attack on tanker in Indian Ocean at 03:24 PM JST - 11th March


    globalwatcher at 03:23 PM JST - 11th March

    Tea Party movement and Walker?

    You can google what they stand for. It fits to your ideology, then you go for it. They are trying to abolish FED. Very dangerous ideology here. Who will control monetary policy then?

    Posted in Wisconsin approves anti-union measure at 03:23 PM JST - 11th March


    METinTokyo at 03:22 PM JST - 11th March

    Can't get through to phones in Tokyo either landlines or mobiles

    Posted in Many injured as strong quake jolts northeastern Japan at 03:22 PM JST - 11th March



    ===============
    FACTBOX-Japan and earthquakes11 Mar 2011 10:28

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    TOKYO, March 11 (Reuters) - The biggest earthquake to hit Japan since records began 140 years ago struck the northeast coast on Friday, triggering a 10-metre tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, ships, cars and farm buildings on fire.


    Following are some facts about Japan and earthquakes.

    * Japan, situated on the "Ring of Fire" arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that partly encircles the Pacific Basin, accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

    * A tremor occurs in Japan at least every five minutes, and each year there are up to 2,000 quakes that can be felt by people.

    * The Great Kanto earthquake of Sept. 1, 1923,19th Moharram -1342(SAT) which had a magnitude of 7.9, killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area. Seismologists have said another such quake could strike the city at any time.


    Bazzer - that's an interesting point and one that has been put forward before by scientists. Apparently (and of course we're no experts) previous so-called 'supermoons' have accompanied severe weather events, such as the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Next Saturday the moon will come within 221,567 miles of the earth, the closest since 1992. Again we stress that this is scientific theory, but we'll try and look into it.
    * On Jan. 16, 1995, 14th Shaaban -1415 an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 hit central Japan, devastating the western port city of Kobe. It was the worst earthquake to hit Japan in 50 years, killing more than 6,400 and causing an estimated $100 billion in damage.

    * On Oct. 23, 2004, Sat, 9th Ramadan 1425, a 6.8 magnitude quake struck the Niigata region, about 250 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, killing 65 people and injuring 3,000.
    * On March 25, 2007, 6th Rabi-I 1428, SUN, a 6.9 magnitude quake struck the Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, about 300 km west of Tokyo, killing one person, injuring more than 200 and destroying hundreds of homes.

    * On July 16, 2007,1st Rajab-1428, Monday, a 6.8 magnitude quake struck Niigata prefecture, about 250 km (150 miles) northwest of Tokyo, killing 11 people and injuring 1,950. The tremor caused radiation leaks at the world's largest nuclear plant, which officials said were within safety regulations and posed no threat to the environment. The leaks nonetheless reignited fears about nuclear safety in the quake-prone country.
    * A government panel has estimated that a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hitting Tokyo Bay would probably kill up to 11,000 people and leave 7 million homeless. Estimates of economic damage have topped more than $1 trillion.

    * In a report published in 2004, German insurer Munich Re was even more pessimistic, saying a severe earthquake in the Tokyo-Yokohama area would kill hundreds of thousands of people, cause damage running into trillions of dollars and have global economic repercussions.
    * The Tokyo-Yokohama metropolis, with a population of 35 million, has the highest "at risk" rating from natural disasters such as earthquakes of any of the world's 30 "megacities", the report said. (Editing by Edwina Gibbs)


    ==========
    SNAPSHOT-Developments after major Japan earthquake11 Mar 2011 08:07

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    TOKYO, March 11 (Reuters) - Following are main developments in the earthquake measuring 8.9 that struck northeast Japan on Friday.

    - At least two people reported dead, one hit by a collapsing wall at a Honda factory. Several people buried in landslide.
    - Quake triggers tsunami up to 10 metres (30 feet), waves sweep across farmland, sweeping away homes, crops, vehicles, triggering fires. Tsunami of 7 metres later hits northern Japan. Inn collapses in Sendai city, many are feared buried in rubble.

    - Strong aftershocks hit northern Japan.

    - Tsunami warnings issued for eastern Indonesia, Taiwan's north and east coasts.

    - Power cut to four million homes in and around Tokyo. Fourteen fires blaze in Tokyo.

    - Many sections of Tohoku expressway serving northern Japan damaged. Major fire at Chiba refinery near Tokyo.
    - Bullet trains to the north of the country stopped. The government was to dispatch 900 rescue workers to stricken regions.

    - Narita airport closed, flights halted, passengers evacuated. Tokyo underground, suburban trains halted. Sendai airport in the north flooded.
    - Eight military planes scrambled to survey damage. Prime Minister Naoto Kan asks people to remain calm and orders the military to do their utmost to act. Cabinet to meet. The government says more tsunami possible.

    - Central bank vows to do utmost to ensure financial market stability

    - Several nuclear power plants shut down automatically. Tepco's Fukushimi No. 1 plant had an equipment problem after the quake, but safety is ensured, officials say. At least one nuclear power station operating normally. Oil refineries have shut down and a major steel plant was ablaze.
    (Tokyo bureau; Asia Desk, Singapore +65 6870 3815)



    =============
    11 Mar 2011 07:56

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    March 11 (Reuters) - A massive 8.9 magnitude quake hit northeast Japan on Friday, triggering a 10-metre tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, cars, farm buildings on fire and boats, media and witnesses said. ***************************************************************

    KEY POINTS:

    - Quake triggers tsunami up to 10 metres (30 feet), waves sweep across farmland, sweeping away homes, crops, vehicles, triggering fires. Tsunami warnings up to 10 metres (30 feet)

    - Several people buried in landslide. One person reported killed.

    - Power cut to four million homes in and around Tokyo

    - Many sections of Tohoku expressway serving northern Japan damaged. Major fire at Chiba refinery near Tokyo.

    - Bullet trains to the north of the country stopped

    - Tokyo's Narita airport closed, flights halted, passengers evacuated. Tokyo underground, suburban trains halted.

    - Eight military planes scrambled to survey damage. Prime Minsiter Naoto Kan orders military to do utmost to act in response to quake. Cabinet to meet. The government says more tsunami possible.

    - Central bank vows to do utmost to ensure financial market stability

    - Several nuclear power plants shut down automatically. At least one station operating normally. COMMENTARY: TSUYOSHI SEGAWA, EQUITY STRATEGIST, MIZUHO SECURITIES
    As far as I can see on TV, Tokyo and northern Japan have been significantly damaged and that might trigger panic-selling after the weekend.

    There is a possibility that some construction-related companies' shares rise just like back in 1995 when we had the Kobe earthquake. But we are still unsure about macroeconomic effects at this moment so investors should not be making guesses and carefully assess the situation.
    YASUO YAMAMOTO, SENIOR ECONOMIST, MIZUHO RESEARCH INSTITUTE, TOKYO

    "We still don't know the full scale of the damage, but considering what happened after the earthquake in Kobe, this will certainly lead the government to compile an emergency budget.

    "The government would have to sell more bonds, but this is an emergency, so this can't be avoided.

    "Given where the Bank of Japan's benchmark interest rate is now, they can't really lower rates. The BOJ will focus on providing liquidity, possibly by expanding market operations.

    "There are car and semiconductor factories in northern Japan, so there will be some economic impact due to damage to factories. We can expect consumption to fall. This could temporarily pull down gross domestic product." MARKET REACTION:


    -- For yen updates click ; for prices click

    -- For JGB updates, click , for prices click

    -- For stocks click , for Nikkei average click


    ====


    ANALYST VIEW 6-Japan hit by massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake

    11 Mar 2011 09:05

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    March 11 (Reuters) - A massive 8.9 magnitude quake hit northeast Japan on Friday, triggering a 10-metre tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, cars, farm buildings on fire and boats, media and witnesses said. Nikkei futures plunged nearly 5 percent and the yen dipped.

    ***************************************************************

    KEY POINTS:

    - Quake triggers tsunami up to 10 metres (30 feet), waves sweep across farmland, sweeping away homes, crops, vehicles, triggering fires. Tsunami warnings up to 10 metres (30 feet)

    - Nikkei futures plunge nearly 5 percent, yen dips
    - Several people buried in landslide. At least six dead.

    - Power cut to four million homes in and around Tokyo
    - Some plants, refineries on fire.

    - Central bank vows to do utmost to ensure financial market stability

    COMMENTARY:

    ADRIAN FOSTER, HEAD OF FINANCIAL MARKETS RESEARCH WITH RABOBANK INTERNATIONAL IN HONG KONG
    "If you think about the weather damage that we have seen around in Australia and (the quake in)New Zealand of course recently, I think New Zealand was the only central bank to cut rates in reaction, so that was some bit of an unusual move and I don't think that monetary policy reaction is a conventional reaction anyway, so this is clearly a massive fiscal challenge.

    "The pictures of the tsunami -- seems like it's extremely devastating. I am still looking at the event which is unfolding and I don't know what their policy reaction will be. But clearly Japan is experienced with earthquakes, so I am sure they have the reactionary capabilities. What the government sits down and comes up with is anybody's guess. Seeing the way the situation is still, there is no other conclusion that one can come up with for now"


    VINCENT TSUI, ECONOMIST AT STANDARD CHARTERED BANK IN HONG KONG
    "It is still too early to assess the damages as we are still seeing aftershocks.

    We see a sharp correction in the yen and the BOJ might maintain its dovish(A person who advocates peace, conciliation, or negotiation in preference to confrontation or armed conflict.
    ) policy stance at a meeting next week. At a time when the global oil price surge has hit the global economic recovery outlook on which Japan is heavily dependent on, this development will influence them to maintain a dovish stance on policy."

    TIM CONDON, CHIEF ECONOMIST FOR ASIA AT ING IN SINGAPORE

    "The wisdom of the crowds show that the markets are taking it very badly but I would wait for a clearer picture to assess how bad it is.

    "Some are drawing a parallel with the RBNZ here and are expecting the BOJ to act but I think the BOJ is fairly stingy in this matter as evident from the Kobe earthquake. It is still too early to tell whether there will be continued selling in the stock markets. The construction sector might get a big boost out of this."

    TSUTOMU YAMADA, MARKET ANALYST, KABU.COM SECURITIES
    "The extent of the damage is hard to tell but it seems devastating for the northern Japan economy. The government must act quickly to announce support packages and the central bank should pump more money into the economy".

    "Some manufacturers have factories in the quake-hit area and they will face challenges in rebuilding these facilities. But what's more important is that this quake could hamper Japan's overall economy which just started showing some positive signs."

    MITSUSHIGE AKINO, FUND MANAGER, ICHIYOSHI INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, TOKYO
    "We still don't know what's the damage like, but stocks will probably fall on Monday, especially shares in those companies that have factories in the affected areas, but on the whole the sell-off will likely be short-lived.

    "Just like during the Kobe quake in 1995, the stock market reaction will be momentary, also because the epicentre was far from Tokyo, and it isn't likely to affect Japanese economy as a whole.

    TSUYOSHI SEGAWA, EQUITY STRATEGIST, MIZUHO SECURITIES

    As far as I can see on TV, Tokyo and northern Japan have been significantly damaged and that might trigger panic-selling after the weekend.

    There is a possibility that some construction-related companies' shares rise just like back in 1995 when we had the Kobe earthquake. But we are still unsure about macroeconomic effects at this moment so investors should not be making guesses and carefully assess the situation.

    YASUO YAMAMOTO, SENIOR ECONOMIST, MIZUHO RESEARCH INSTITUTE, TOKYO

    "We still don't know the full scale of the damage, but considering what happened after the earthquake in Kobe, this will certainly lead the government to compile an emergency budget.

    "The government would have to sell more bonds, but this is an emergency, so this can't be avoided.

    "Given where the Bank of Japan's benchmark interest rate is now, they can't really lower rates. The BOJ will focus on providing liquidity, possibly by expanding market operations.

    "There are car and semiconductor factories in northern Japan, so there
    will be some economic impact due to damage to factories. We can expect consumption to fall. This could temporarily pull down gross domestic product." MARKET REACTION:

    -- For yen updates click ; for prices click

    -- For JGB updates, click , for prices click

    -- For stocks click , for Nikkei average clic

    ==

    Japan's chief cabinet secretary Edano says so far there is no radiation level rise at the Fukushima plant after the explosion, reported earlier. Edano confirms the Fukushima No. 2 reactor cooling functions have stopped, water levels are falling and they are preparing to pour sea water into the No. 2 reactor.
    by Patricia Launt at 10:22
    ReplyHere's a factbox on Japanese seaports damaged by the quake and tsunami www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 10:14
    @HandsomeMan That's because if the reactors meltdown, the results will have much larger consequences then the quakes and tsunami.
    comment by Dennis Meyers at 10:13
    TEPCO has completed releasing hydrogen from the Fukushima Daiichi No. 2 reactor building. Earlier we said they were considering releasing it, but they had already released it.
    by Patricia Launt at 10:13
    @scott according to the usgs website there was another 6.1 quake a few minutes ago. earthquake.usgs.gov hard to believe so many 5s and 6s can keep coming like this.
    comment by matchi at 10:12
    @HandsomeMan Problem with the relief effort is they are still unable to get to most areas in the north. It is also extremely sensitive when figures of 10,000+ people missing. Footage would be too disturbing to show obviously due to bodies etc being found. All people know the rescue teams are doing an excellent job. The reason so many articles on the Nuclear side is its still on going and i pray it doesnt but could become extremely dire for all of japan.
    comment by Daily at 10:12
    @Scott- Feeling the aftershocks here in Misawa too.
    comment by sarilleny at 10:12

    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 10:10
    A woman covers her mouth as she watches a television reporting news of a fresh explosion at Japan's quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex, which is about 60 km (37 miles) from her restaurant, in Nihonmatsu, northern Japan March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 10:06
    TEPCO says it's considering releasing hydrogen from Fukushima Daiichi No. 2 reactor building.
    by Patricia Launt at 10:02
    Japan's government is insisting that radiation levels across the country are safe, says the BBC's Chris Hogg in Tokyo, but a German businessman has told our correspondent that some foreign firms are starting to move their expatriate staff south - or out of the country altogether - because they don't have confidence in what the government is saying any more.
    comment by jmanig at 10:00
    somebody did mention that it's rather strange that 80% of the articles are focused on the nuclear plants (which may have contaminated a maximum of 160 or so people), but much less about the direct impacts of the tsunami and the relief efforts for the thousands of missing.
    comment by HandsomeMan at 10:00
    In the last hour, we've been experiencing larger aftershocks in Tokyo.
    comment by Scott at 9:59
    Some store shelves in Tokyo are empty and many train lines are shut down today as commuters return to work. www.reuters.com
    by Patricia Launt edited by Patricia Launt at 9:59
    Kyodo and NHK are reporting that the fuel tank was at Tohoku Electric's thermal plant (ie. not TEPCO). NHK is reporting that the thermal plant is 30 km away from the Daiichi nuclear plant.
    comment by pyrmont at 9:49
    there are amazing videos at the moment of tsunamis here www.youtube.com
    comment by anton at 9:47
    @ Bev: Well that should answer many questions. Thank you. Are all the malfunctioning / damaged reactors MOX type? If so, I wonder if any americium has been detected.
    comment by thermoheart at 9:42
    0636: AFP news agency has just run the same story from Jiji - this is definitely Reactor 2 we are talking about.
    0631: This is the first time today that we are hearing of problems in Reactor 2. This morning, there was a huge explosion at Reactor 3, and there was a blast at Reactor 1 on Saturday. But both of those reactors are said to be intact.
    comment by Valerie at 9:38
    Servicemen exposed to month's worth of radiation in one day. ~New York Times
    mobile.nytimes.com
    comment by Bev at 9:31
    At least six Japanese seaports handling international trade have been damaged by last week's quake and are expected to be out of operation for months, an operation manager at Heisei Shipping Agencies in Toyko tells Reuters.
    by Patricia Launt at 9:26
    There has been an explosion at a fuel oil tank at a thermal power plant in Fukushima prefecture, Jiji is reporting. It was not immediately clear from the report which company the thermal power plant belonged to.
    by Patricia Launt edited by Patricia Launt at 9:35
    Fukushima Daiichi plant No.2 reactor cooling functions have stopped, the Jiji news agency is reporting.
    by Patricia Launt edited by Patricia Launt at 9:18
    www.gizmodo.com.au Most amazing video I have seen yet!
    comment by John44 at 9:09
    We are living in Kobe. I went to do my usual shopping this morning ... There was no more water in our supermarket!!!!!!!!!!!!
    comment by MGD at 9:07
    The Nikkei average closed down 6.18 percent percent, while the broader Topix shed 7.49 percent.
    by Patricia Launt at 9:01
    hi reuters
    in the past japanese govt and tepco seem to be giving incorrect info to the public given this history can the unbiased nuclear experts tell based on what they have observed till now explain if there has been meltdown or nuclear explosion or any other problem which might have happened. how much more time do we need before we can say that the reactors are safe?
    comment by blake at 9:00
    How will Japan's economy, which was already weakened from the global financial crisis, fare following the earthquake? Read here what some economists think: www.reuters.com
    by Patricia Launt at 8:57
    PressTV: Iran's Red Crescent Society has expressed Tehran's readiness to send humanitarian aid and repay Japan the kindness they showed after they helped reconstruct the city of Bam after their earthquake which killed over 26,000 people. www.presstv.ir/detail/169775.html
    comment by suzuki at 8:47
    BBC: Officials in Iwate, one of the three prefectures hardest hit by the quake and tsunami, are appealing for funeral homes nationwide to send body bags and coffins. "We simply don't have enough," Hajime Sato tells the Associated Press news agency. "We just did not expect such a thing to happen. It's just overwhelming."
    comment by suzuki at 8:47
    @guessinggame Kyodo News flashed this at 13:28 -- NEWS ADVISORY: Hachinohe retracts tsunami evacuation order
    comment by Walt at 8:43
    PressTV: Iran's Red Crescent Society has expressed Tehran's readiness to send humanitarian aid and repay Japan the kindness they showed after they helped reconstruct the city of Bam after their earthquake which killed over 26,000 people. www.presstv.ir/detail/169775.html
    comment by suzuki at 8:42
    @guessinggame. No word yet. will update if anything new happens
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 8:32
    I was a child when Chernobyl happened and after 26 year it is still a problem. Cement wasn't perfect solution, international projects are still working on creating more solid and safer shell for the plant.
    comment by Valerie at 8:31
    @reuters Any word on the evacuation of Hachinohe, as reported by Kyodo news?
    comment by guessinggame at 8:30
    @Mour The IAEA is everywhere. But the idea that dangerous radioactivity will reach the US or Australia or any country greater than 100miles away simply isn't accurate.
    comment by JBID at 8:15
    traffic movements are being restricted in Tokyo
    comment by Martin Renwick at 8:15
    If the Chernobyl reactor was buried in cement, why cant we do that here?
    comment by Dennis Meyers at 8:14
    The best current & "Live" web-based video & audio resource I've found: www3.nhk.or.jp
    comment by Nikko at 8:14
    @Jim This is an international problem not just one for Japan. So the INTERNATIONAL atomic energy agency should be there. They represent all member nations.
    comment by Mour at 8:14
    @Anne : Any other info on the bodies found ?
    comment by guyco at 8:09
    @chris That NY Times article is dead-on. They can't just ignore the meltdown because it could literally melt the containment vessel, alowing the core to be exposed. Or, a hydrogen build-up could blow open the reactor vessel with the same result. Not an option to ignore it.
    comment by guessinggame at 8:09
    I just spoke to an expert on nuclear plants about a potential meltdown, he said: "We fear that the high temperatures could melt the way for substances such as uranium and plutonium into groundwater and contaminate it." Drinking this water would have dire consequences.
    comment by Agnes at 8:09
    Here's some good quality video of the second reactor blast.. www.educatedearth.net
    comment by Martin edited by Matt Reeder at 8:08
    Japan: new reactor blast unlikely to cause big leak. Full story at www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:57
    A woman cries while sitting on a road in the destroyed city of Natori, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Asahi Shimbun
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:53
    People queue to be screened by a technician in protective gear for signs of possible radiation in Nihonmatsu, northern Japan, March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:51
    People line up to buy food at a supermarket that had been temporarily closed after an earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, northeastern Japan March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak
    by Shadia Ismail at 7:41
    The U.S. Navy says they have temporarily positioned ships and planes away from a Japanese nuclear plant after detecting low level contamination. www.reuters.com
    by Patricia Launt edited by Patricia Launt at 8:06
    Toyota says it is halting all production in Japan at least until March 16, reducing its output by 40,000 vehicles. www.reuters.com
    by Patricia Launt edited by Patricia Launt at 9:04
    pictures of our troops in action! www.navy.mil
    comment by mike03cc at 7:23
    For those of you who were asking, here's an article about the Fukushima reactor and the problem at hand. It's about reactor nº1 but works basically the same with the nº3. morgsatlarge.wordpress.com
    comment by Sir Sefirot at 7:21
    Taiwan's earthquake rescue workers load their equipment before their flight out of Taipei Songshan airport March 14, 2011.REUTERS/Pichi Chuang
    by Shadia Ismail at 7:20
    "The Pentagon was expected to announce that the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, which is sailing in the Pacific, passed through a radioactive cloud from stricken nuclear reactors in Japan, causing crew members on deck to receive a month’s worth of radiation in about an hour, government officials said Sunday." Flight deck crews typically receive more radiation on the deck of an aircraft carrier from background than the people who work in the power plants below.
    comment by mike03cc at 7:14
    From BBC: Jane, in Tokyo, writes: "We are still feeling some powerful aftershocks in Tokyo and everyone is on high alert as government warns there is 70% chance of another powerful aftershock happening in capital in the next few days. The commuter trains were completely full and people were being pushed onto the trains by conductors due to the reduced number of trains running from the scheduled power cuts. More people than usual are also choosing to cycle to work if they can. Restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores are low on stock as deliveries are slow, if any. Though there is a strong sense that people are trying to get on with their lives in any way they can."
    comment by sad at 7:04
    I'm handing over the live updates to Shadia and colleagues. Standby...
    by Richard Baum at 7:03
    Japan stocks plunge after quake www.reuters.com
    by Shadia Ismail at 3:46
    An elderly man is carried into a Japanese Red Cross hospital after being evacuated from the area hit by tsunami in Ishinomaki March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
    by Aviva West at 21:45
    Click here for an analysis by Natsuko Waki on potential economic fallout of the earthquake and tsunami.
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:43
    @Aviva West: Press Release is from March 13 as of 3:00 PM - Thats more than 12 and a half hours ago. Thats the last we heard, which i find unusual, as TEPCO used to release regular status updates in the evening and night hours on March 12th. I hope that there hasnt been chenge to the worse in the new policy and no news doesnt mean bad news in this case.
    comment by MH at 21:42
    My source on INSC website says that the Onagawa plants are operated by Tohoku Electric Power not TEPCO.
    comment by Walter J at 21:41
    @DavidK Presumably fallout dust!
    comment by Thomas Ruschke at 21:40
    @David K Many wear masks in metropolitan areas on ordinary days. There is a belief that it protects from sickness and pollution, etc. It's normal for the Japanese. They also carry umbrellas everywhere.
    comment by JBID at 3/13/2011 6:40:28 PM21:40
    As I said earlier here, people need to remember that any critical situation that occurs regarding the fuel pool or any other reactors or any other plants must be reported to a) the IAEA b) the Japanese nuclear overwatch authority and c) the Japanese government immediately, among others. If anything else goes wrong, we'll hear about it. So if something hasn't been heard about that means the situation is being handled.
    comment by JBID at 3/13/2011 6:40:23 PM21:40
    Walter J, although the reactors were built by several companies, they all were designed by GE.
    comment by OpenChannelBlog at 3/13/2011 6:40:12 PM21:40
    People walk in front of a tuna fishing boat tossed onto land in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Aviva West at 3/13/2011 6:37:21 PM21:37
    I keep noticing some of the residents wearing masks. Is this for protection? If so, from what?
    comment by David K at 3/13/2011 6:33:53 PM21:33
    The Rokkasho facility is an enrichment, spent fuel AND radioactive waste storage facility!?
    comment by guessinggame at 3/13/2011 6:33:49 PM21:33
    Click here a TEPCO press release on the status of its facilities in Japan www.tepco.co.jp
    by Aviva West at 3/13/2011 6:33:37 PM21:33
    @Reuters What is the status of Japan Nuclear Fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori prefecture? The facility is right by Ogawara port? Can you confirm if it is undamaged?
    comment by guessinggame at 3/13/2011 6:29:32 PM21:29
    Click here for a story on how the Japanese are finding both inspiration and reasons to vent in the aftermath of the disaster. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 3/13/2011 6:28:57 PM21:28
    "Taking account of the situation that the water level within the pressure
    vessel did not rise for a long time and the radiation dose is increasing,
    we cannot exclude the possibility that the same situation occurred at Unit
    1 on Mar 12 will occur. We are considering the countermeasure to prevent
    that." - From the last published TEPCO Press Release, 12 hours ago. Has there been new info on Fukushima No.3
    comment by MH at 3/13/2011 6:26:46 PM21:26
    @derwood87 No. They wouldn't be using it if it did. @darwin Interestingly, I believe similar accidents have happened in the past (at least accidents that can parallel) and the reactors have been patched up. But using salt water basically counts that out now.
    comment by JBID at 3/13/2011 6:25:08 PM21:25
    www-pub.iaea.org REACTORS IN OPERATION, 31 DEC. 2009
    comment by Rob edited by Aviva West at 3/13/2011 6:24:04 PM21:24
    jan & JBID: I understand that GE makes a lot of reactors, however the link to the INSC website operated by the US DOE shows the following. Fukushima Diiachi 1, 2 and 6 are GE, Toshiba is reactor 3 and 5, Hitachi is 4. In the Fukushima Daini plant reactors 1 & 3 are Toshiba and 2 & 4 are Hitachi. At the Tokai plant both reactors are GE. And the plant on the north east coast that nobody is saying anything about is the Onagawa plant and both reactors are Toshiba. There are 14 reactors I think are at risk that we both probably affected by the earthquake and tsunami. 5 are GE, 3 Hitachi and 6 Toshiba. All I am doing is pointing out the facts. People on here have indicated that there is radiation in Onagawa. They have reactors there too, yet there is not word one about their status.
    comment by Walter J at 3/13/2011 6:23:34 PM21:23
    @Walter J Only one of the reactors was built by GE at Daiichi. The rest were purchased from Toshiba and Hitachi. And it doesn't really make any difference.
    comment by JBID at 3/13/2011 6:15:44 PM21:15
    @filippa carvalho any word about what that means for the water enviorment ?
    comment by sirbondness at 3/13/2011 6:15:39 PM21:15
    @OHR Extended licenses are given to the old ones because they don't get permits to build new ones. But still need the power...
    comment by TG at 3/13/2011 6:15:30 PM21:15
    Someone asked about the spent nuclear fuel pool: TEPCO stated that they are using fire engines to spray water on them (Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (as of 2pm March 13th))
    comment by David J. at 3/13/2011 6:15:25 PM21:15
    @pricentime well said
    comment by James A. Wood Jr. at 3/13/2011 6:15:11 PM21:15
    An injured girl is brought to a Japanese Red Cross hospital after being evacuated from the area hit by tsunami in Ishinomaki March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
    by Sharon Ho at 3/13/2011 6:14:49 PM21:14
    In the U.S. our nuclear plants have large domes with giant steam stacks where heat can escape from. Are the domes inside of the buildings we see at this plant? Can anyone describe the construction of these buildings at the Japanese plants and how, exactly, the keep radiation contained?
    comment by Concerned at 3/13/2011 6:14:02 PM21:14
    would be aswell interested what happens with the sea water after cooling down and if it will be contaminated....
    comment by sirbondness at 3/13/2011 6:14:00 PM21:14
    Yes, Ocean water now used for emergency cooling the reactors is radioactive and is flowing back to the sea. Curious to know the environmental impact of this although they don't have now other viable options.
    comment by Mar1Popp1ns at 3/13/2011 6:13:53 PM21:13
    What about the issue of the salt in the seawater binding to the fuelrods insulating em from the surrounding water, and slowly blocking the coolant channels inside the reactor when it crystallizes ?
    comment by Wolfthing at 3/13/2011 6:13:50 PM21:13
    Click here for our roundup of travel advisories on Japan www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 3/13/2011 6:09:34 PM21:09
    Elderly people warm themselves with blankets at a Japanese Red Cross hospital after being evacuated from the area hit by tsunami in Ishinomaki March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
    by Sharon Ho at 3/13/2011 6:08:00 PM21:08
    GE is one of the biggest makers of nuclear power plants, Walter.
    comment by jan at 3/13/2011 6:06:30 PM21:06
    @pricentime the control rods are not the issue, the fuel is. the control rods will already be inserted into the core from the automatic shutdown. the core must be cooled with water.
    comment by Fatsam at 3/13/2011 6:06:26 PM21:06
    Can't help but thinking about California where there are two nuclear plants placed right on the coastal line and where we are notoriously waiting for the Big One (i.e. earthquake).
    comment by Mar1Popp1ns at 3/13/2011 6:06:11 PM21:06
    I'm no expert but I think the water cools the unit that houses the radioactive material and doesn't actually come in contact with it. However if unit #1 as had a meltdown and breached the containment unit then it will have direct contact.
    comment by Rob at 3/13/2011 6:06:08 PM21:06
    @jan, I agree but if you've alread had a partial meltdown as it appears in Fukushima I-1 and I-3, then the reactor is probably a write-off anyway.
    comment by darwin at 3/13/2011 6:00:45 PM21:00
    Will the salt in the sea water increase the core meltdown if it is not cooled? Could there be a reaction.
    comment by derwood87 at 3/13/2011 6:00:37 PM21:00
    @WN Yes, the sea water will be contaminated. However, the water will, in theory, be retained inside the containment unit and can be cleaned up later. It is not being discharged back into the ocean.
    comment by jc at 3/13/2011 6:00:13 PM21:00
    Yes, WN. It will become part of the nuclear waste present at the site.
    comment by jan at 3/13/2011 6:00:03 PM21:00
    Every nuclear reactor in California that I've seen uses sea water to cool its fuel as a backup.. is there somewhere they have said that they're not filtering it anymore at Fukushima?
    comment by cal at 3/13/2011 5:59:52 PM20:59
    Slideshow: 50 pictures that capture the scale of the devastation in Japan www.reuters.com
    by Corinne Perkins at 3/13/2011 5:59:17 PM20:59
    A Japanese woman breaks down in tears after her relative died in a Japanese Red Cross hospital after being evacuated from the area hit by tsunami in Ishinomaki March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
    by Corinne Perkins at 3/13/2011 5:55:31 PM20:55
    @Rob Anyway, why is it, that licenses are given on a 10-years basis and not like 2 or 5 years? 10 years is in terms of technological development unthinkable of...
    comment by OHR at 3/13/2011 5:49:45 PM20:49
    Interesting how 2 of the 3 plants in trouble are of GE design.
    comment by Walter J at 3/13/2011 5:49:42 PM20:49
    Politicians will be politicians, whether they know what they are talking about or not. The compulsion to score points with the public, is no doubt nearly killing them. And apparently, at least in this case, overwhelming what ought to be some basic taste and compassion for the Japanese people at this moment.
    comment by jan at 3/13/2011 5:48:45 PM20:48
    Also the Fukushima I-2 and I-3 were quite old. They came on line in 1974 and 1976. Presumably they did not have very may years of useful life left anyway even if the disaster had never happened. I have no clue about the chemical/radiation risks that may arise due to use of sea water, but I guess the cost of repairing the earthquake/tsunami damage would have been prohibitive anyway. Especially for reactor I-3 if a partial melting of the core had already taken place. I find that Bigthink.com article rather sensational and low on professional grade facts.
    comment by darwin at 3/13/2011 5:48:44 PM20:48
    When it comes to grandstanding on ANYTHING regardless of how little he understands, almost no one does it faster than Joe Lieberman. Probably hasn't read one book in the past five years but always knows his opinion is right.
    comment by QuickThought at 3/13/2011 5:46:59 PM20:46
    @ pricentime. an expert ion the german news said that the contaminated water will flow back into the ocean, because it is too much water to be put into tanks. according to him, in comparison with the alternatives this is the best thing they can do.
    comment by filippa carvalho at 3/13/2011 5:46:57 PM20:46
    "In PWRs, the control rods are held above a reactor's core by electric motors against both their own weight and a powerful spring. Any cutting of the electric current releases the rods. Another design uses electromagnets to hold the rods suspended, with any cut to electric current resulting in an immediate and automatic control rod insertion. A SCRAM rapidly (less than four seconds, by test on many reactors) releases the control rods from those motors and allows their weight and the spring to drive them into the reactor core, thus halting the nuclear reaction (by absorbing neutrons) as rapidly as possible."
    comment by pricentime at 3/13/2011 5:46:44 PM20:46
    A combination picture of satellite images taken by Taiwan's National Space Organisation (NSPO) shows Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan before the earthquake on March 11, 2011, (left) and after the earthquake and the massive tsunami on March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Formosat image/Dr. Cheng-Chien Liu, GEODAC, National Cheng-Kung University and Dr. An-Ming Wu, National Space Organization, Taiwan/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 3/13/2011 5:44:39 PM20:44
    U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Albin Quinko (L) from San Diego, and assigned to the Black Knights of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron which is embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, hands over supplies to a Japanese aid worker during earthquake and tsunami relief efforts near Sendai, Japan March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord-US Navy/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 3/13/2011 5:41:40 PM20:41
    @OHR, Putting in seawater is a last ditch effort. If they don't get the cores cooled fast enough, they'll be far more than "structurally fragile," as you say. They have to do something.
    comment by jan at 3/13/2011 5:38:59 PM20:38
    Will the seawater used for cooling the reactors be contaminated by radiation? how are they gong to deal with that?
    comment by WN at 3/13/2011 5:38:54 PM20:38

    =
    Just a clarification - the cooling of the reactors using seawater is in response to the loss of normal cooling due to loss of electrical supplies to the pumps. The reactors tripped automatically at the onset of the earthquake and have therefore been sub-critical throughout the ensuing events. The continuing heat input is due to radioactive decay of the daughter products of fission, not fission itself. This decay heat slowly reduces following the radioactive half lives of the daughter products. The first few days are the highest risk and it appears that at Fukushima the loss of cooling has resulted in ongoing boiling and evaporation of water from the core with no means of making up water levels. The risk of a full meltdown due to thermal runaway is not the same as for a critical reactor, and the decay heat will gradually subside (see link decay-heat.tripod.com). The addition of sea water will provide cooling during the intervening period until the reactors have cooled adequately but as reports suggest that water levels have dropped so low as to expose the top of the fuel this fuel has almost certainly suffered heat damage. This damage, combined with the addition of chlorides in the sea water, almost certainly indicates that the reactors are write-offs. The risk of a major release of radioactivity associated with core meltdown is continuously reducing but there will still be environmental concerns associated with the use of probably millions of gallons of sea water, that will become radiologically contaminated.
    comment by Vince Cane at 13:40


    ===

    Bob Latterman - No, it's just like the plain Jane water they used before. It stays within the reactor or is vented as steam if pressures get too high.
    comment by OpinionatedArmchairExpert at 3/14/2011 11:24:46 AM14:24
    Pumping seawater into reactors 'act of desperation'... www.channelnewsasia.com
    comment by nemesisnom at 3/14/2011 11:23:44 AM14:23
    Third try to post this.... where does all the radioactive waste water go? out to sea?
    comment by Bob Latterman at 3/14/2011 11:23:37 AM14:23
    That plant has been switched off for more than two days. If the inject sea water in time, things should stabilize a bit, right ?
    comment by Display Name:Ponch' at 3/14/2011 11:23:27 AM14:23
    The site director of the Fukushima plant should just tell the PM of japan that the plant is dead zone and ALL nuclear reactors there should be filled with Sea Water etc... Its not worth the risk anymore its not like they will repair them they are old and close to being shut down.
    comment by Daily at 3/14/2011 11:23:10 AM14:23
    @Reuters_MarkKolmar What? I thought they were already doing that....did they stop?
    comment by borrrden at 3/14/2011 11:22:55 AM14:22
    NHK - If all are exposed its possible all the rods will have melted. If that happens the containment has a possibility of melting.
    comment by ob at 3/14/2011 11:22:31 AM14:22
    Just unbelievably heartrending photos. Thank you.
    comment by Grace Budka at 3/14/2011 11:22:25 AM14:22
    @borrrden. Thanks for that clarification, I'm not overly familiar with BWR fuel. The clean up of soluble radionuclides will require installation of ion exchange plant and generation of quantities of solid waste - all of that will take some time to implement...
    comment by Vince Cane at 3/14/2011 11:22:06 AM14:22
    If we internalize all the social and environmental and future costs, a different valuation occurs and nuclear energy is a far less attractive option. We no longer can use old economic costing models to make critical decisions. This is simply a failure of the imagination and the entrenchment of orthodoxy.
    comment by scott at 3/14/2011 11:21:24 AM14:21
    @GWriter - There is a new solar technology currently approved and readying construction which negates the issue of night. It essentially stores the energy in "molten salt" and is used to heat water as necessary. It's not a panacea, but there are technologies out now and down the road which will blow your mind.
    comment by OpinionatedArmchairExpert at 3/14/2011 11:21:10 AM14:21
    To clarify, the operator is plant-owner Tepco.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 11:18:36 AM14:18
    Jiji reports the operator has started injecting sea water into the reactor to cover the rods.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 11:14:38 AM14:14
    @MarkKolmar that is dire news lets pray they get on top of that situation asap.
    comment by Daily at 3/14/2011 11:13:39 AM14:13
    The operator of Fukushima Daiichi's number 2 reactor says water levels are nearly empty.

    Jiji is reporting that the fuel rods have been left fully exposed at the comlpex's number 2 reactor as levels of water coolant have fallen.

    If the fuel rods were to melt down, the risk of damage to the reactor vessel would be greater, increasing the risk of a radioactive leak.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 11:12:30 AM14:12
    Switzerland is suspending approvals to replace three of its nuclear power stations, the country's energy minister says.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 11:09:50 AM14:09
    Oil leaks from ships swept by a tsunami in Fudai Village, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Yomiuri Shimbun
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/14/2011 11:07:43 AM14:07
    Kyodo News: FLASH: Fuel rods at No. 2 reactor of Fukushima No. 1 nuke plant fully exposed (19:58) english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Ric at 3/14/2011 11:05:31 AM14:05
    A Japanese man covers his face as he walks through a destroyed residential area of tsunami-hit Otsuchi March 14, 2011. In the town of Otsuchi in Iwate prefecture, 12,000 out of a population of 15,000 have disappeared following Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 11:04:07 AM14:04
    A Japan Self-Defense Forces officer smiles as he holds a four-month-old baby girl who was rescued along with her family members from their home in Ishimaki City, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Yomiuri Shimbun
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 11:03:16 AM14:03
    @PC if they were tidal or solar they wouldnt provide 10% of the power that is needed and used. Also solar uses toxic materials like Cadmium.
    comment by Martin14 at 3/14/2011 11:02:56 AM14:02
    agree with @borrrden... there is not enough land to place those solar plants in Japan... did you ever happen to fly over Japan? you'll barely see a patch of non-vacant land...
    comment by Mgl1 at 3/14/2011 11:02:48 AM14:02
    It is laughable to think that wind or solar could come anywhere near supplying the worlds needs for power. For a start, a lot of power and resources would be needed to actually manufacture wind turbines (which use some of the worlds rarest metals) or solar panels. The embedded energy required is colossal. That's why they take decades to break even with the amount of energy taken to build install and maintain them.
    comment by Bee at 3/14/2011 11:02:44 AM14:02
    @borrrden - Also don't forget that the cost of clean and renewable energy sources are significantly higher in cost than nuclear. Economic considerations must be taken into account and not thrown out the window.
    comment by OpinionatedArmchairExpert at 3/14/2011 11:01:57 AM14:01
    @Daily - Unfortunately solar is not the answer - how are you going to run your car factory at night? A country like Japan needs a balanced power generation strategy. Yes solar, wind and tidal should be an increasingly large part of the equation. However, those power sources will never match the energy density and peak load characteristics of Nuclear. For a country with little or no carbon fuel resources there is no other option but to continue to invest in Nuclear along with other sustainable sources.
    comment by GWriter at 3/14/2011 11:01:50 AM14:01
    Rescue workers search for victims in the rubble in Rikuzentakata, northern Japan after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 11:01:42 AM14:01
    @Reuters_TonyTharakan Local update: I went to 3 stores today in my neighborhood. Provisions such as rice, bread, milk, toilet paper, ramen, and batteries were sold out. Most other items were available to various degrees. All shops were operating on limited business hours due to the possibility of rolling blackouts, and all would not confirm business hours for tomorrow. Most trains are running limited services today, but it looks like service will be expanded tomorrow.
    comment by Kanagawa_resident at 3/14/2011 11:01:21 AM14:01
    @PC But if they were tidal or solar then they wouldn't be providing nearly enough energy to satisfy the demand. They are not viable at this point in time.
    comment by borrrden at 3/14/2011 11:00:06 AM14:00
    @PC - The health risk of the reactors cannot be determined until the event is over. It is premature to declare nuclear power safe or unsafe. As it stands now, the situation is amazingly under control considering what the plant faced was beyond what it was designed for. Can we please wait until this is over (or goes horribly wrong) before we go around making such claims?
    comment by OpinionatedArmchairExpert at 3/14/2011 11:00:02 AM14:00
    Some folk defend the state of the nuclear reactors, they survived the quake and a tsunami etc. But they are basically ruined and posing a health risk. If they were tidal or solar they may still be ruined but they would not pose any further risk to anyone.
    comment by PC at 3/14/2011 10:56:36 AM13:56
    When the floods hit Queensland, Australia earlier this year, we received a flock of emails from concerned "family" and friends in Japan, and all over the world. I thought what we had witnessed was devastating, but it was nothing compared to the images which have emerged over the last few days. Our hearts cry out for the people affected by the tragedy.
    comment by Anna at 3/14/2011 10:53:48 AM13:53
    Latest on wind behaviour: the wind direction is expected to change at around 6 p.m. Tuesday local time, and instead of blowing south will blow inland, but at a slow speed.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 10:53:11 AM13:53
    A comparison of radiation exposure: According to the Japanese nuclear regulatory authority Nisa, the maximum radiation dose in the vicinity of the reactor Fukushima lies currently by 680 micro-sievert per hour. The average dose from natural sources in the year, lies at 2000 to 5000 micro-sievert. The radiation is thus increased, but not life threatening. In sharp contrast to the case of Chernobyl. At that time the load close to the reactor was up to 500,000 micro-sievert per hour.
    comment by yumi at 3/14/2011 10:51:24 AM13:51
    @Vince Cane The fuel itself has apparently not melted or been compromised, only the casing (i.e. rod) around it (not the pellets themselves). The rod will begin to melt at 2200 C but the fuel itself will not melt until 3000 C. This will release the already split radioactive particles (cesium and iodine) from inside the rods into the seawater, but as these particles do not dissolve, they can be strained back out again at a treatment facility and stored with other nuclear waste at a disposal site. This should highly mitigate at least that portion of the environmental exposure.
    comment by borrrden at 3/14/2011 10:51:09 AM13:51
    Japan Atomic Power says its Tokai Daini plant is expected to be safely cooled down by Tuesday morning.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 10:50:59 AM13:50

    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/14/2011 10:42:51 AM13:42
    The Geological Institute of the United States USGS lists the number and intensity of aftershocks and quakes in Japan.
    earthquake.usgs.gov
    comment by yumi at 3/14/2011 10:41:43 AM13:41
    "Due to the recent Tohoku earthquake, Onagawa city in Miyagi prefecture has had nearly all of its buildings swept away, and about 5000 people (nearly half the population)'s whereabouts cannot be confirmed, so the total number of people whose fate is unknown in the Tohoku region has exceeded 15,000." www3.nhk.or.jp
    comment by borrrden at 3/14/2011 10:41:28 AM13:41
    I think some serious need for them to look at the costs of purchasing solar panels... I believe if the costs were low or you could get govenment grants for going green this would be a step in the right direction and the need for new nuclear plants would be avoided.
    comment by Daily at 3/14/2011 10:41:17 AM13:41
    Just a clarification - the cooling of the reactors using seawater is in response to the loss of normal cooling due to loss of electrical supplies to the pumps. The reactors tripped automatically at the onset of the earthquake and have therefore been sub-critical throughout the ensuing events. The continuing heat input is due to radioactive decay of the daughter products of fission, not fission itself. This decay heat slowly reduces following the radioactive half lives of the daughter products. The first few days are the highest risk and it appears that at Fukushima the loss of cooling has resulted in ongoing boiling and evaporation of water from the core with no means of making up water levels. The risk of a full meltdown due to thermal runaway is not the same as for a critical reactor, and the decay heat will gradually subside (see link decay-heat.tripod.com). The addition of sea water will provide cooling during the intervening period until the reactors have cooled adequately but as reports suggest that water levels have dropped so low as to expose the top of the fuel this fuel has almost certainly suffered heat damage. This damage, combined with the addition of chlorides in the sea water, almost certainly indicates that the reactors are write-offs. The risk of a major release of radioactivity associated with core meltdown is continuously reducing but there will still be environmental concerns associated with the use of probably millions of gallons of sea water, that will become radiologically contaminated.
    comment by Vince Cane at 3/14/2011 10:40:41 AM13:40
    Morning Pawel. I haven't seen any yet. If we get them, I'll post them here.
    by Reuters_RossChainey at 3/14/2011 10:40:16 AM13:40
    @Reuters_RossChainey Good morning. Has TEPCO provided any close-up images of the nr 3 reactor at Dai-ichi after the explosion like they did for reactor nr 1?
    comment by Pawel at 3/14/2011 10:39:07 AM13:39
    Some key Japanese U.S.-traded shares have fallen pre-market: Toyota is down 6.2% and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial group has fallen 7.8%.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 10:38:53 AM13:38
    @ Chris .... it's better to be safe than sorry - I think it is better to evacuate your wife to a safer place - no idea which way the wind will blow next.
    comment by Pintz at 3/14/2011 10:38:17 AM13:38
    @chris authorities say that the radiation leakage is too low to harm people's health...however they have evacuated a lot of people...i guess that if you're not that close from the incident then just stay tunned but be ready to move quickly in case something happens
    comment by person at 3/14/2011 10:33:56 AM13:33
    Charles: try this link - uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters_RossChainey at 3/14/2011 10:33:36 AM13:33
    is anyone else have trouble getting the video?
    comment by Charles at 3/14/2011 10:33:26 AM13:33
    SLIDESHOW: Three days after the tsunami in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/14/2011 10:33:17 AM13:33
    Vladimir Putin says Russia has no plans to change its domestic nuclear energy programme. Germany's foreign minister Guido Westerwelle said earlier that a decision on extending the life of Germany's nuclear power plants could be suspended.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 3/14/2011 10:32:52 AM13:32
    "With the Japanese authorities working to avert a catastrophic meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and one other Japanese plant showing problems, the safety of America’s nuclear plants — and the wisdom of any expansion — is beginning to come under a new round of scrutiny," writes Tom Zeller Jr in The New York Times. www.nytimes.com
    by Reuters_RossChainey at 3/14/2011 10:32:32 AM13:32
    @JBID Daini is fine, it regained offsite power quickly and the reactors are completely stable. The offsite power is running the usual cooling systems.
    comment by borrrden at 3/14/2011 10:29:07 AM13:29
    I'm stunned by these images. I don't think i've ever seen a disaster as horrific as this one.
    comment by Dominic at 3/14/2011 10:28:47 AM13:28
    Rolling blackouts in various areas of 7 prefectures of east Japan began at 5 pm local time today. First time that planned blackouts have occurred in Japan.
    comment by Kanagawa_resident at 3/14/2011 10:27:03 AM13:27


    ===

    - Japan grapples with nuclear crisis after tsunami uk.reuters.com
    - Fuel rods at Fukushima nuclear complex's No. 2 reactor had been entirely exposed, fuel rod meltdown not ruled out.
    - Reports of 2,000 bodies found in two coastal towns alone.
    - Core container of No. 3 reactor intact after huge explosion.
    - Reactor operator TEPCO said water levels have risen and fuel rods are now only half-exposed.
    by Reuters_RossChainey edited by Reuters_RossChainey at 15:51
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    Facebook Twitter Yahoo! MySpace Google MSN Make a comment If there was a major meltdown would the United States be at risk from the radiation?
    comment by Mike at 19:20
    The Japanese accident rated a 4 on an international scale of severity that goes from one to seven -- Chernobyl was worst at 7 and Three Mile Island was a 5.
    by Alister.Doyle at 19:18
    It also polluted lands and meant high levels of radiation in farm products from milk to berries or reindeer meat in northern Europe. But other big nuclear accidents, such as at Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979, had no measurable effect on cancer incidence, according to U.N. studies
    by Alister.Doyle at 19:18
    @ Alister: As opposed to Chernobyl area Japan has a much higher population density and big cities not too far so a similar contamination would have far greater effects.
    comment by jjj at 19:17
    Chernobyl caused perhaps a few thousand extra deaths, mostly via extra cancers, especially because it raised the amount of thyroid cancer among young people.
    by Alister.Doyle at 19:15
    experts say that this accident is far less severe than the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 in the former Soviet Union that spewed contamination across the northern hemisphere. Even after Chernobyl, U.N. studies say initial worries about the impact on the environment and health may have been exaggerated (many environemntalists disagree)
    by Alister.Doyle at 19:12
    What would be the environmental and health consequences of the worst-case scenario occurring in the nuclear reactors? How significant and wide-spread could the disaster become? I have been listening to the news constantly and this question has not been answered.
    comment by AndrewJehan at 19:10
    thanks good question -- water is pumped through reactors to keep them cool. we'll look into exactly how it is filtered before being pumped back into the ocean.
    by Alister.Doyle at 19:09
    For Mr. Doyle: Where are they going to dump the sea water that they're using to cool the reactors with?
    comment by melody at 19:06
    of course, that report is talking about the effects of nuclear war, not the far smaller effects of any radiation from a nuclear accident.
    by Alister.Doyle at 19:06
    that says: "People should expect to remain sheltered for at least 12-24 hours. During that time, the intensity of the fallout radiation will decrease significantly, allowing for less hazardous egress from dangerous fallout areas."
    by Alister.Doyle at 19:04
    hps.org
    by Alister.Doyle at 19:03
    Staying indoors does seem to help in the case of nuclear fallout -- a U.S. government report on the impact of an atom bomb last year advises people to do exactly that:
    by Alister.Doyle at 19:03
    Hello everyone thanks for all the questions!
    by Alister.Doyle at 19:01
    question for Alister: during Chernobyl, people in Europe were told to stay indoors for a few days. Considering household materials dont really impede radioactive materials, is the idea of 'staying indoors' really just empty advice, because in reality nothing can be done, and the truly best solution is get out of the area ?
    by Martin14 edited by Richard Baum at 19:01
    Alister Doyle has joined us. Thanks for all the questions. We'll go with the ones that Alister feels best placed to answer. Here's the first one:
    by Richard Baum at 19:00
    Guardian claims that all rods are melting in all three reactors. More here www.guardian.co.uk
    comment by Gary at 18:59
    Tokyo Electric says it is preparing to start pumping water into Daiichi no.2 unit to cover rods
    by Stephanie Ditta at 18:57
    Amano says the Japanese government has asked the IAEA to provide expert missions
    by Stephanie Ditta at 18:56
    The No.3 nuclear reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant at Minamisoma is seen burning after a blast following an earthquake and tsunami in this handout satellite image taken March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Digital Globe/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 18:56
    Amano says the Japanese authorities are working "under extremely difficult circumstances" to stabilize the atom plants
    by Stephanie Ditta at 18:52
    IAEA head Amano says Japan nuclear plant reactor vessels have held, radiation release limited
    by Stephanie Ditta at 18:51
    Here's Alister Doyle's story on the dilemma over atom plant sites www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta at 18:49
    Tokyo Electric confirms fuel rods at Fukushima Daiichi no. 2 unit fully exposed again
    by Stephanie Ditta at 18:45

    by Reuters_Jillian Kitchener at 18:41
    @Yamaha: There is no water covering the fuel rods, which means they heat up much faster and radiation increases.
    comment by komiga at 18:37
    @Japan Remember Boyle's law from chemistry? Volume, temperature, and pressure work together, so the time it takes to melt the rods depends not only on temperature but pressure and volume. That is why they are venting the pressure to the atmosphere in an attempt to reduce temperature. You cannot say how long it will take to melt unless you know the pressure, and that is why the stuck valves are important. Ziirconium casings melt at around 2,000C.
    comment by David at 18:36
    Send us your questions for Alister now and we'll publish them when he joins us.
    by Richard Baum at 18:34
    What ultimately needs to be done to stop the problem and what steps are being taken to do so?
    comment by solly at 18:33
    YokosoNews is trying to translate the conf in real-time: ustre.am
    comment by przemoc86 at 18:33
    @Mark Kyodo has a story english.kyodonews.jp that suggests that there are five fire pumps doing the pumping, but that four were damaged, likely when unit 3 blew up. The one that remains is working on unit 2, but units 1 and 3 still need cooling water. The implication is that there is plenty of ocean but not enough pump capacity to move the cooling water into the reactors which will lead to continued melting of the zirconium rods. That in turn could allow the fuel to go critical again, producing more heat.
    comment by David at 18:33
    @Mark : sorry you would have found informations in my last comment but it was censored by Reuters (I was replying to Johan).
    comment by conscience sociale at 18:33
    @Willywonka Understood...just offering the U.S. perspective on the situation.
    comment by Japan at 18:33
    A boy plays with a balloon at an evacuation centre set in a gymnasium in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture in northern Japan, March 14, 2011, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
    by Corinne Perkins at 18:33
    @Scott water level dropped again and rod are exposed is confirmed on NHK TEPCO press conference.
    comment by rob hong kong at 18:32
    Environment correspondent Alister Doyle will be here in 30 minutes to answer questions about the environmental impact of nuclear accidents.
    by Richard Baum at 18:31
    @Willywonka You're right. My point was that they were repositioning the carrier so they wouldn't have to later decontaminate it if further exposed.
    comment by Johan at 18:31
    @Mark If the rods have fused together, it means that the surface area of the rods will have decreased and the cooling effects of the injected water will be reduced significantly.
    comment by J.Ryan at 18:31
    @Goto Sorry but that's certainly not true about "no person alive that would expose the same part of their body to X-Ray 3 times a year", I had Testicular cancer and have to go for Chest X-Ray's several times per year, I've probably had over 15. Also in the past 18 months I have received 4 x CT Scans which is equivalent to 400 Chest X-Rays. Just wanted to clarify that as thats first thing that came to my mind when I read his statement.
    comment by donjuan78 at 18:31
    dear friends, can you please explain what does this mean in lay man's language? ......Fuel rods fully exposed again at Fukushima nuclear power plant: TEPCO......
    comment by Yamaha at 18:29
    Situation in Fukushima also has consequences for other countries:
    Germany's Merkel announces intermission of the runtime extension for Germany's nuclear power plants, a bill that had just been passed by parliament last year. Sign of a change of course in the German gov.'s attitude towards the usage of nuclear energy towords a faster phasing out of nuclear energy.
    comment by sebastian at 18:28
    Mod let the important information pass, people need to know the unpleasant news
    comment by anton at 18:28
    A shaft or tube feeding water into the vessel of #2 reactor is plugged or not functioning.
    comment by Scott at 18:27
    NHK LIVE:Fukushima 1-2 fuel rods fully exposed again.
    comment by XLVZ at 18:26
    TEPCO is again having a live news conference
    comment by Yamamoto at 18:26
    yes, problem with the exhaust valve - looks even more serious
    comment by Yamamoto at 18:25
    How long can the fuel rods be fully exposed before they heat up to the point of melting?
    comment by Japan at 18:25
    Angela Merkel just addressed the German Nation and said there would be a 3 month moratorium on the extension of Nuclear Energy. She emphasized the need to move on to alternative energies.
    comment by Thomas Ruschke at 18:25
    @dbl, are you suggesting we blindly follow a government that makes a big deal of losing face, companies that are known to have falsified records (TEPCO), and organizations that support them ? Thanks, but I will keep a healthy dose of skepticism with this situation. The expression 'taking things with a grain of salt' seems to work here today.
    comment by Martin14 at 18:25
    The rods, normally surrounded by water, are overheating and risk melting down if water levels in the reactor vessel fall so low as to leave them largely exposed. A meltdown could damage the vessel and lead to a large radiation leak, experts say.
    by Stephanie Ditta at 18:25
    Nuclear fuel rods at a quake-stricken Japanese power plant were exposed for a second time on Monday, local media said, quoting the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.
    by Stephanie Ditta at 18:25
    To @japan: they aren't decontaminating the entire aircraft carrier. Just the aircraft and 17 crew members. And the decontamination is nothing more than washing with soap and water. It's not as bad as it sounds.
    comment by Willywonka at 18:20
    During the CNIC press conference someone mentioned that at #3 they are now unable to pump cooling water and "the reactor rods have fused together". Can anyone confirm this or explain the ramifications?
    comment by Mark at 18:20
    @Teresa Panayi : please try Sina Weibo @ t.sina.com.cn Your urgent message of your sister and her son has been posted and circulated by hunderds. Need their contact information for further efforts. Wish them all safe.
    comment by Tier-I at 18:20
    This just came up on Kyodo: "FLASH: Fuel rods fully exposed again at Fukushima nuclear power plant: TEPCO"
    comment by Vern at 18:19
    They just announced that the water level dropped again and the rods are completely exposed again.
    comment by Scott at 18:19
    latest news : NHK says the level has once again gone down as of 2300 - about an hour ago...
    comment by Jkid at 18:19
    Fuel rodes have been exposed again... quote TEPCo. this is serious... this means rod meltdowns imminent, am i right?
    comment by Mgl1 at 18:19
    @dbl Is there any amount of hydrogen that can be produced by these reactors being cooled that can create an explosion large enough to fracture the containment vessels?
    comment by Japan at 18:18
    This is very scary for us but super scary for people in Japan. Many people have fears of a huge explosion causing additional mental stress in addition to the tsunami and quake effects. The people of Japan have memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and naturally associate the devastation to what may happen in the coming days at the Nuke plants.
    t
    comment by Kyotoboy at 18:18
    With 7 active units in close proximity, what would the ramifications be if one of them suffered a total meltdown? People working on cooling other units could no longer continue to work. - Masashi Goto (former Toshiba Nuclear Power Plant Designer who helped design the containment vessel for Fukushima's reactor core)
    comment by Mark at 18:18
    Slideshow: Satellite images show the Japan coastline before and after the devastating tsunami www.reuters.com
    by Corinne Perkins at 18:09
    They said that the pressure from the steam is so great they cannot get water into the vessel.
    comment by Scott at 18:07
    Fuel rods fully exposed again at Fukushima nuclear power plant, english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by khkhlhl at 18:06
    I am skeptical as to whether the people in the government that are in charge have the technical expertise to understand what is happening and whether they have the courage to step up and give unpleasant news. - Masashi Goto, former Toshiba Nuclear Power Plant Designer, who helped design the containment vessel for Fukushima's reactor core
    comment by Mark at 18:05
    Masashi Goto, former Toshiba Nuclear Power Plant Designer, who helped design the containment vessel for Fukushima's reactor core: There is a fundamental difference between being exposed for an instant, and radiation that clings to your body and your clothes and being exposed for long periods of time. it is not only the momentary levels that you are exposed to that we should be concerned with but also the amount of time exposed. Any comments that equate these levels of exposure to X-rays should be made with great caution. There is no person alive that would expose the same part of their body to X-rays 3 times in a year. Radiation exposure has incremental effect. Every time you expose your body to X-rays you are increasing your level of risk.
    comment by Mark at 18:05
    "We will stand with Japan in the difficult days ahead," Obama said.
    by Stephanie Ditta at 18:02
    President Barack Obama reiterated U.S. offers of assistance to quake-hit Japan on Monday, saying he is heartbroken by the scenes of devastation there.
    by Stephanie Ditta at 18:01
    I am a nuclear engineer and I suggest that do not believe all the fear stories. Keep following International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea.org) or Nuclear Energy Institute (nei.org). These organizations are non-profit and they will stand for public safety. Unfortunately fear stories always sell better and most media loves it.
    comment by dbl at 18:00
    Rough notes from the CNIC press conference 3/14 that is just finishing.
    Comments from Masashi Goto, former Toshiba Nuclear Power Plant Designer, who helped design the containment vessel for Fukushima's reactor core

    Containment vessels are not invincible and are not an adequate final line of defence. The likelihood of an earthquake directly cracking the containment vessel is very low, but as we've seen, in a natural disaster like this there is great damage to multiple systems surrounding the vessel, which is supposed to be a final, invincible line of defence. it took this earthquake to make this more widely known.

    With 7 active units in close proximity, what would the ramifications be if one of them suffered a total meltdown? People working on cooling other units could no longer continue to work.

    Why was there a difference between the way the two explosions looked?
    Can't say for certain but much larger amounts of hydrogen were released in #3 explosion. How much time has elapsed before hydrogen ignites also effects the severity of the explosion.

    re: equating current radiation exposure to X-rays ...
    There is a fundamental difference between being exposed for an instant, and radiation that clings to your body and your clothes and being exposed for long periods of time. it is not only the momentary levels that you are exposed to that we concerned with but also the amount of time exposed. Any comments that equate these levels of exposure
    to X-rays should be made with great caution. There is no person alive that would expose the same part of their body to X-rays 3 times in a year. Radiation exposure has incremental effect. Every time you expose your body to X-rays you are increasing your level of risk.

    I am skeptical as to whether the people in the government that are in charge have the technical expertise to understand what is happening and whether they have the courage to step up and give unpleasant news.
    comment by Mark at 18:00
    Doctors check X-rays of a patient who was injured by earthquake and tsunami, at the Red Cross hospital in Ishinomaki, northern Japan March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
    by Corinne Perkins at 17:53
    Does anyone have a link to a live feed of the cameras that caught the explosions at the plant? Looks like they are on a hilltop some distance away.
    comment by Vern at 17:52
    There's a lot of questions about the nuclear reactors and the threat of a meltdown. Here is some information on what is happening now in the core of the nuclear reactors www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta at 17:51
    Japan quake impact on energy, commods and manufacturers www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta at 17:50
    A U.S. Navy sailor assigned to the Naval Air Facility Misawa hauls debris during a cleanup effort March 14, 2011 at the Misawa Fishing Port, Japan. More than 90 Sailors from Naval Air Facility Misawa volunteered to help Misawa City employees and members of the community begin to clean up after an earthquake and tsunami. REUTERS/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow-US NAVY/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 17:50
    Japanese girl facing empty convenient store: www.twitpic.com
    comment by Lngly_ via Twitpic at 17:48
    @Gunda - An aerial view would involve a helicopter flying through the area where radioactive steam is released from the cooling process. There's no need to risk people's lives just to satisfy the paranoid fears of people who don't understand basic physics.
    comment by Johan at 17:48
    @Japan, Not as yet. It's an expensive process to decontaminate an aircraft carrier, and remember that those 17 sailors flew helicopters directly downwind of the released steam. Even so, they only recieved a month's worth of Earth's normal background radiation in that exposure. Not great, but not indicative of any deception on the part of officials.
    comment by Johan at 17:43
    Johan nuclear facility is a top secret in japan we can all argue all we want but nobody has seen what is inside. if the japanese are so honest i mean their gov and tepco why dont they give us an aerial view
    comment by Gunda at 17:42
    My heart goes out to the people of Japan. We can only hope this nuclear situation will be contained and no additional lives will be lost..
    comment by California at 17:42
    @tubesoleum So a so-called designer has openly admitted to being incompetent? I call foul.
    comment by borrrden at 17:42
    N24 in Germany reported, that the No. 3 reactor has lost containment and is lossing its fuel, plutonium has been exposed to the environment! I don't believe this...
    comment by David J. at 17:42
    @Teresa Panayi i guess u had tried the google people finder.. hopefully they will come back soon.
    comment by rob hong kong at 17:42
    that explosion of the 2 reactors didnt look like hydrogen explosion to me to be honest
    comment by Gunda at 17:42
    @Gunda They're calling the explosions "Hydrogen explosions" because that's almost certainly what they are
    comment by tswsl1989 at 17:41
    More from Masashi Goto (from BBC) regarding reactor 3 (the one that has plutonium): "if a meltdown and an explosion occur, he says, plutonium could be spread over an area up to twice as far as estimated for a conventional nuclear fuel explosion." Question: "How far is the spread of a conventional nuclear fuel explosion?"
    comment by Ric at 17:41
    I wish the Japanese authorities could be more efficient to deploy the resources they have now to provide necessities like food, fuel and water to those worst-hit areas. If not, I can't imagine how the people can survive through the next days, especially when the weather is turning cold, like as if it's winter now. Oh my goodness...
    comment by Agnes at 17:41
    I'm following the news as well, but also reading a travelogue from a comic artist teaching English over in Japan. He says it's not nearly as bad as the news is saying.
    comment by penguinlover at 17:41
    Amazing how much the information has been varying from all sorts of different sources. Fact is, lies are being told, and who knows who is doing it. And the people suffer for it.
    comment by Concerned at 17:41
    More from Japanese nuclear engineer Masashi Goto: He say that as the reactor uses mox (mixed oxide) fuel, the melting point is lower than that of conventional fuel. Should a meltdown and an explosion occur, he says, plutonium could be spread over an area up to twice as far as estimated for a conventional nuclear fuel explosion. The next 24 hours are critical, he says.
    comment by California at 17:40
    Mr Goto says his greatest fear is that blasts at number 3 and number 1 reactors may have damaged the steel casing of the containment vessel designed to stop radioactive material escaping into the atmosphere.
    comment by California at 17:39
    Japanese engineer Masashi Goto, who helped design the containment vessel for Fukushima's reactor core, says the design was not enough to withstand earthquakes or tsunamis and the plant's builders, Toshiba, knew this. More on Mr Goto's remarks to follow. via BBC New
    comment by California at 17:39
    @Gunda - Hydrogen is produced when the cooling water becomes super-heated. So yes, they're telling the truth about the source of the explosions.
    comment by Johan at 17:39
    If the U.S. Military is keeping at bay, 17 crew members were exposed to low level radiation FROM THE REACTORS and not approaching certain parts of Japan don't you think there is something we're not being told regarding the leak? latimesblogs.latimes.com
    comment by Japan at 17:39
    @tubesoleum i just read that interesting read being mr Goto helped design the containment vessels at the plants affected.
    comment by Daily at 17:39
    It would be interesting to know the rate at which the core is going to cool down in the coming days and weeks, assuming outside cooling with sea water remains at its current levels?
    comment by Chris at 17:39
    @P202 The concrete casing is not the reactor's containment vessel. The containment vessel sits inside and below that structure and is made of six-inch thick steel.
    comment by Johan at 17:39
    @agnes, yes it is true, but this will be directed by one of those useless TEPCO like fellows.... the direction over here is hopeless.
    comment by Jkid at 17:39
    2011.03.14 09:30 CET IAEA Director General Briefed on Disaster Response and Nuclear Safety. bit.ly video: bit.ly
    comment by przemoc86 at 17:39
    BBC live: "1431: More from Japanese nuclear engineer Masashi Goto: He say that as the reactor uses mox (mixed oxide) fuel, the melting point is lower than that of conventional fuel. Should a meltdown and an explosion occur, he says, plutonium could be spread over an area up to twice as far as estimated for a conventional nuclear fuel explosion. The next 24 hours are critical, he says.
    1426: Mr Goto says his greatest fear is that blasts at number 3 and number 1 reactors may have damaged the steel casing of the containment vessel designed to stop radioactive material escaping into the atmosphere. More to follow.
    1422: Japanese engineer Masashi Goto, who helped design the containment vessel for Fukushima's reactor core, says the design was not enough to withstand earthquakes or tsunamis and the plant's builders, Toshiba, knew this. More on Mr Goto's remarks to follow."
    comment by tubesoleum at 17:39
    My question is “where is the news agency’s getting their reports from about the current Nuclear Plant situation? If it’s from the Plant; than one could say that it may be contaminated with wrong information. It’s like asking my three year old ‘who spilt the milk on the floor’? Just saying.
    comment by chris at 17:34
    @denis They are being moved to a shelter. Even when my sister had told them she is from HK, no one can help. Everyone is devastated with no where to go. She told me the ones who had cars had left. We are trying our best to contact the right people, which would take some time. Thanks for your prayers and help
    comment by Teresa Panayi at 17:34
    It is now becoming obvious that 'bad news' has been drip fed out over the past days to prevent panic. If large numbers of people that could have been saved become ill or die as a result of having been misled it will be truly despicable.
    comment by Andre at 17:34
    personally i feel who ever deal with any nuclear issues can't be trusted most of them lie or try to cover things up in the end as history tells. i mean they are calling the 2 reactor explosion "Hydrogen explosion" ?????
    comment by Gunda at 17:34
    its been reported that there is smoke coming from #1 reactor... can somebody advise?
    comment by larry at 17:34
    Sources from within TEPCo have reported confirmed meltdown on at least 1 reactor core. Lost communication after I asked about the others.
    comment by nuke expert at 17:34
    BBC live: "1422: Japanese engineer Masashi Goto, who helped design the containment vessel for Fukushima's reactor core, says the design was not enough to withstand earthquakes or tsunamis and the plant's builders, Toshiba, knew this. More on Mr Goto's remarks to follow." "1426: Mr Goto says his greatest fear is that blasts at number 3 and number 1 reactors may have damaged the steel casing of the containment vessel designed to stop radioactive material escaping into the atmosphere. More to follow."
    comment by tubesoleum at 17:33
    Look into NHK TV movie www3.nhk.or.jp and compare the two destroyed reactor buildings. F-3 was completely demolished! The concrete casing (containment) was destroyed and that is what media hide from public throughout the world.
    comment by P2O2 at 17:33
    One can read about 3 mile island at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission www.nrc.gov
    comment by ronny at 17:33
    I rather pray for Japan and its people; and think how insignificant are my worries,anxieties and self-absorbing thoughts right now..Thanks for the like.May the Love and Light be with us always...
    comment by I pray for all of us.We are... at 17:33
    TV in Japan says that locals are confused on whom to believe about the radiation...
    comment by Jkid at 17:33
    Elderly people sleep on the floor at an evacuation center set in a gymnasium in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture in northern Japan, March 14, 2011, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
    by Corinne Perkins at 17:32
    It's very nice to see so many rescue teams arriving in Japan to help out in such a tragic situation. Thumbs up to all these rescue personnel.
    comment by Agnes at 17:32
    @conscience sociale - that is actually very, very bad information you're providing there. If the fuel rods melt fully, they can slump to the bottom of the containment chamber. There is enough energy and fuel mass left in them that, once away from the control rods, they could still conceivably create a runaway, self-sustained reaction. Admittedly, this is not a likely possibility, but it is still possible, and thus irresponsible of you to so widely misrepresent the potential danger.
    comment by Johan at 17:32
    I agree with Prof Richard Wakeford. It is important for the Japanese authorities to consider in issuing of stable iodine tablets to block the intake of radioactive iodine, which accumulates in the thyroid, and which is particularly problematic if it happens in young children.
    comment by Agnes at 17:32
    @peter edinburgh - Yes, we will be told. Hopefully we will be told in a more timely manner than the public was informed following Chernobyl.
    comment by Johan at 17:31
    @rob hong kong We had tried to speak to someone at the HK Immigration. We had two answers. A number to call in Japan and another person said all trains were running.
    comment by Teresa Panayi at 17:31
    @Rick Thanks for the link. Will give it a try.
    comment by Teresa Panayi at 17:31
    @Bee Not only Chernobyl, to be precise... throughout the world, specially built plants which differ from these "standard" reactors are found that allow for easier extraction of material needed for nuclear weapons... but yes, those reactors of RBMK-type like Chernobyl have crucial design flaws which cannot be seen here. But meltdown could nonetheless pose a serious risk to the environment...
    comment by OHR at 17:27
    Slideshow: The town that washed away www.reuters.com
    comment by ReutersPictures at 17:27
    if there is a meltdown and we are in danger we will be told
    comment by peter edinburgh at 17:27
    I agree with Terence from Singapore. It seems to me that the situation at northeastern Japan is very tough. Lack of access, lack of food, water, fuel and many other necessities. Hmm...maybe more transportation like heavy land vehicles and lightweight water boats should be made available to make things for the rescue teams.
    comment by Agnes at 17:27
    Don't beleve what Tepco say. They have a record of telling fibs. Imagine the panic if they said there was a major leak. Tokyo would empty in minutes.
    comment by Martin at 17:27
    @Teresa Panayi --> OMG I don't know what to say. Are they completely stranded amidst debris? no roads or access? --> I really think someone could direct this person in the right way.
    comment by denis at 17:26
    how silly is wall street .....if i had the money i would be buying as many shares of japanese issues as i could ....japan will rise again..have no doubt of that whatsoever
    comment by Aussie Dave at 17:26
    The explosion that occurred at the plant didn't release any radiation, there aren't any confirmed reports of a meltdown occurring.
    comment by Chris Farinella at 17:26
    From all of us here in Cebu Phils...May God be with all of us esp. to Japan..Let us get united in prayers..
    comment by I pray for all of us.We are... at 17:26
    for those that are looking for information about nuclear accidents". I would suggest the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation reports that have studied Chernobyl for over two decades. They provide a comprehensive assessment and you will find them on google. They released an update today.
    comment by ronny at 17:26
    @Teresa Panayi you may try contact via HK immigration dept. further information is here: tinyurl.com/4q5ragk hope you find your loves one asap.
    comment by rob hong kong at 17:26
    how danger are those unit.2 fuel rods exposed in air? what will it happen?
    comment by Rob , Hong Kong at 16:28
    Fuel rods at No. 2 reactor fully exposed for about 2.5 hours english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by FoxPro at 16:28
    I heard that some foreign companies have asked their expatriate community to move out of Japan... Can anyone confirm that?
    comment by joleen at 16:28
    I mean here; www.ustream.tv
    comment by RMP at 16:24
    @Faultline I'm sure the reason why there is this Nuclear Plant problem is because of the combination of the earthquake and the tsunami. Go watch the video if you haven't
    comment by Julz at 16:23
    Time to add more redundant cooling for all world reactors as we deal with these.
    comment by Plan now at 16:23
    It's becoming increasingly difficult to filter thru the white noise on this formerly very informative site. Very worrisome for us here in Japan anticipating any further radiation releases. As I'm sure Reuters is aware, the Citizens Nuclear Info Center is providing a daily press conference at the Foreign Press Club, with simultaneous English translation, here;
    comment by RMP at 16:23
    @Mr. G Everithing on the Earth is radioactive, where do you think the fuel for the plant was found? The fallout will spread around the globe with minimal consequences in the nearest areas, we have seen it before.
    comment by Honda at 16:23
    Agree with Terence, Singapore. Reuters is doing a very great job providing accurate and verified news for the rest of world knowing what's happening in japan.
    comment by Rob , Hong Kong at 16:22
    @FaultLine They designed the plant to withstand a 6.5 meter tsunami. Apparently, this one was 7 meters....
    comment by borrrden at 16:22
    @Gregory Fairhurst: I was planning to go in April and am currently reconsidering... I'm still hopeful that the nuclear situation won't result in any serious threat, but aftershocks are a real concern.
    comment by cobi_f at 16:22
    Anyone know what will be the worst case scenario?
    comment by ulu at 16:22
    @Jose I believe, 1500 kilometres will be practically safe.
    comment by Serg at 16:21
    @DC Sorry, pressed enter and sent the message by accident. What I meant to say was that it all depends on prevailing wind conditions and the size of the explosion. I was raised in the eastern block, about 800km from Chernobyl when it blew up and the wind carried enough fall out to turn the rain into dark sludge. But then that was the 1980s, a full blown explosion that destroyed a vast majority of the reactor and with the Ruskies in charge. The situation could not be any more different. Best thing to do is stay in doors and wait it out. Ps none of my family or friends have ever suffered from any radioactive related illnesses. You’ll be okay.
    comment by Nick at 16:21
    Well, if the worst case possibity were to happen, then the radiation fallout would only really affect the countries closest to Asia. In chernobyl, the radiation was spread far distances, but it mostly affected Eastern Europe, even if some radiaton made it to America. What will be indirectly affected will be our global economy.
    comment by flameflyer at 16:21
    There is confirmation that 6 people from TEPCO have been infected with radiation.... The level of infection has yet to be revealed
    comment by Yamamoto at 16:21
    @MrG I think you are correct. Back in the times of war North Korea used to send weather balloons into the jet stream to spy on the U.S. - SURELY nuclear particles can make that trip as well. This is a GLOBAL issue.
    comment by Thomas Ruschke at 16:21
    @Mr. G I've heard reports that it is unlikely that the southern hemisphere would be affected to the same degree as the northern hemisphere. The 'doldrums' of the equator prevent to some extent the spread to the south.
    comment by Anna at 16:21
    NHK reports 1834 dead, confirmed
    comment by David J. at 16:21
    I know this is a terribly emotive subject and people are acting very excitably but let me make a point to you. We all drive cars and expect fuel to be available, we all make use of chemicals and petro-chemicals every day and everyone is happy with this. The disaster at Bhopal had horrific consequences and killed thousands yet I don,t see protests against this type of plant. Nuclear does carry high risks but we should balance those against the effects of global warming and accept that renewable sources are only ever going to be a part of a total energy mix. a bit of balance and rationality is needed...
    comment by Vince Cane at 16:21
    @Mr. G I said it before - if there is any large-scale leak (it is fairly unlikely ATM), the worst affected countries will most likely be Japan, Eastern part of Russia, China and possibly Australia and other countries in the region, not US and others which are far away.
    comment by Pawel at 16:21
    assuming worse case how far does one need to be away from the plant if a full meltdown occures/ assuming no breach and small breach and full breach of containment ?
    comment by chiem at 16:21
    You have no idea what you are talking about. Get yourself informed and don't transport lies here. No effects? Thousands died, children still are born with no or 7 fingers and so on. You are the reason why we in Europe regard most Americans something between ignorant and stupid. / / relating to: @DC Keep in mind when something like that catastrophic "worse-case" happened in Chernobyl, a quite large body of radiation landed all over Europe. No short or long-term effects were observed.
    comment by Sir Sefirot at 13:51
    comment by urhs at 16:20
    @Jose... if you're that worried, I'd go as far away as I could.
    comment by valor at 16:20
    @Gregory .. don't go
    comment by SadAboutJapan at 16:20
    87 meters of the fuel rods were exposed at 5:30 pm. At 7:30 the gauge seemed to indicate the water level had risen but they are not certain. They just keep introducing water and hoping things will work out.
    comment by Scott at 16:20
    For all those on the west coast of the uS, if you plan on getting iodine in preparation for a possible worst case scenario, make sure you buy POTASSIUM IODIDE. Sea kelp will not work. Anything called "iodine" will not work. In fact, taken at similar doses as potassium iodide, the user will likely suffer ill-effects from an overdose. Please be careful. www.amazon.com
    comment by OpinionatedArmchairExpert at 16:20
    @David J. I believe there are no core catchers, they came later and these were not retro-fitted.
    comment by Hansvonaxion at 16:20
    @DC Keep in mind when something like that catastrophic "worse-case" happened in Chernobyl, a quite large body of radiation landed all over Europe. No short or long-term effects were observed.
    comment by Sir Sefirot at 13:51
    comment by urhs at 16:20
    Japan - Exploded Nuclear Plant Uses MOX Fuel - Not Uranium! What is that? Just 2 MILLION Times WORSE than Uranium or Chernobyl's Meltdown!
    comment by David at 16:20
    TEPCO says they vented reactor number 2 to make it possible/easier to inject sea water. As fuel rods were exposed, this means that some heavier radioactive elements (Cesium, Iodine-131) were released - any info on how much of these were released?
    comment by Pawel at 16:20
    Russia has offered Japan about 6000 megawatts of electricity, to approach the current shortage. AFP reported, citing a Russian minister.
    comment by toomee at 16:19
    I don't agree with Sir Sfirot saying that there was no short nor long term effedt of Tchernobyl in Europe. French doctors and scientists have shown a direct correlation between region exposed to the clouds (alsace and Corsica) and increase (x40) of young adults tyroide cancers (compared to non exposed region).
    comment by MG at 16:19
    Japan - Exploded Nuclear Plant Uses MOX Fuel - Not Uranium! What is that? Just 2 MILLION Times WORSE than Uranium or Chernobyl's Meltdown! Reactor 3
    comment by David at 16:19
    I sure hope we are all paying close attention to this. The US West Coast has many reactors and an earthquake of this magnatude lets say at the San Andreas fault line would surely result in a possible similar scenario. If you have not already checked your earthquake preparedness kit, now would be an ideal time, as well as stocking up on canned goods and water.
    comment by Randy at 16:19
    Yes Reuters has been doing an EXCELLENT job so far, very good keep it up. And needless to say my prayers to Japan and their people, EXPECIALLY those who are hard at work and risking their own lives to prevent a nuclear disaster of unknown proportions.
    comment by Terence, Singapore at 16:19
    Given Japan's excellent record on making safe buildings that can sustain an earthquake, did they also consider the possibility of tsunamis that may result? It appears not--or, was the magnitude just too high to cope with?
    comment by FaultLine at 16:18
    wind has changed now blowing from north !
    comment by jennico at 16:18
    What does it mean for the rods to be exposed?
    comment by solly at 16:18
    Japan quake and tsunami - NHK World live coverage: en.rian.ru
    comment by P2O2 at 16:18
    Flash from kyodonews: BREAKING NEWS: Fukushima's 3 reactors highly likely facing melting: Edano, english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Alena at 16:18
    Japan quake and tsunami - NHK World live coverage
    comment by P2O2 at 16:18
    @Jose Where are you located?
    comment by Robbie at 16:18
    I am still curious why a number of 'experts' still say a Chernobyl outcome is possible from this situation. Experts are maintaining an extreme level of fear.
    comment by Kundagoo at 16:18
    Right now NHK has LIVE briefing on safety release valves.
    comment by Robbie at 16:18
    Human Error was the reason why the generator did not have enough diesel.... It seems that the person who was in charge was attending to something else, while the pump generator was loosing fuel
    comment by Yamamoto at 16:18
    Tepco says rolling blackouts affected 113,000 households on Monday.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 16:18
    @chrcel I don't think it would take long to melt through the 30-35 centimeters of Steel and the concret...
    comment by David J. at 16:18
    @Reuters - Thanks for this live blog. Best source on the internet for Breaking News related to this disaster. Other sources have come and gone, but this tab in my browser is ever-present. REUTERS ROCKS.
    comment by Thomas Ruschke at 16:18
    @ DC and Jose "The U.S. 7th Fleet, positioned about 100 miles northeast of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to deliver aid to Japan's coastal region, moved its ships further away due to "airborne radioactivity" and contamination found on its planes.
    "
    comment by taniaaust1 at 16:18
    Is 150Km good enough
    comment by Jose at 16:17
    People here are quite uncertain of things ,whether nuclear radiation fallout or big aftershock expected to happen in next 2-3 days..People are getting jittery..Subways were empty and streets were empty.
    comment by Akki (Tokyo) at 16:17
    @Sir Sefirot That's true. But there was contamination of milk from cows, wasn't there? Hundreds of miles away? I'm in Tokyo and am getting very, very worried here. I was reassuring all my relatives and friends back home, but now, I can't reassure myself!
    comment by Robbie at 16:17
    Sadly I think this was the perfect storm you can plan for
    comment by Stuart at 16:17
    @Sir Sefirot - The lack of longterm effects of Chernobyl (outside the Ukraine) is mostly due to the governments handing out Pottassium Iodide to prevent Iodide buildup in the thyroid. Let's not play revisionist history here.
    comment by OpinionatedArmchairExpert at 16:17
    I believe IF there's a actuall high level leak, it won't only affect america, right ? It effects every country in the world, to some degree. Once the radio-active material reaches the jet stream, it blows across the world within days/ weeks? any thoughts on this ?
    comment by Mr. G at 16:12
    I am due to visit Tokyo city on the 25th of March, Staying in Shinjuku.. should I still go to Japan? Worried about Fukushima Nuclear....
    comment by Gregory Fairhurst at 16:12
    No replies yet, what could be the safe distance to be away from this plant
    comment by Jose at 16:12
    @DC, it really depends on prevailing wind conditions.
    comment by Nick at 16:09
    A couple reads newspaper reports on the explosion at the No. 3 reactor of the Daiichi plant in Fukushima, at an evacuation center set in a gymnasium in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture in northern Japan, March 14, 2011, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
    by Corinne Perkins at 16:09
    A man checks a list of survivors names in an evacuation centre near Rikuzentakata, northern Japan after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 16:08
    A destroyed landscape is pictured in Otsuchi town, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 16:07
    Sendai Gas says it is unable to reach its Shiminato LNG terminal, which was drenched by the tsunami, but that it appears undamaged from afar.

    Tepco says its four LNG terminals are undamaged and operating normally.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:58
    List of blood donation facilities in Japan: www.kenketsu.com
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:53
    High risks: Despite a generally high security standard, accidents can still happen. It is technically impossible to build a plant with 100% security. A small probability of failure will always last. The consequences of an accident would be absolutely devastating both for human being as for the nature (see here , here or here ). The more nuclear power plants (and nuclear waste storage shelters) are built, the higher is the probability of a disastrous failure somewhere in the world.
    comment by joe at 15:52
    I understand from new S.Korea has planted instruments to measure leakage of radioactive emission
    comment by Jose at 15:52
    Facebook maps status updates: www.bbc.co.uk
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:52
    Please, people stop propaganda either for or against nuclear energy, and let Reuters provide news, as they excellently done so far here.
    comment by noname at 15:51
    @DC Keep in mind when something like that catastrophic "worse-case" happened in Chernobyl, a quite large body of radiation landed all over Europe. No short or long-term effects were observed.
    comment by Sir Sefirot at 15:51
    The problem of radioactive waste is still an unsolved one. The waste from nuclear energy is extremely dangerous and it has to be carefully looked after for several thousand years (10'000 years according to United States Environmental Protection Agency standards).
    comment by joe at 15:51
    Because if there is a large leak of radiation there is a chance that if the wind is blowing the right way it will carry to america
    comment by Jordan at 15:51

    ===

    China monitoring Japan nuclear situation
    15 Mar 2011 04:31

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    (Adds comment from Air China, paragraph 7)

    BEIJING, March 15 (Reuters) - China's nuclear safety agency said on Tuesday it is "closely monitoring" developments at Japan's earthquake-hit nuclear plant and strengthening checks on radiation levels in China but not detected any increase so far.

    "Our ministry will continue closely monitoring developments in the accident at the Fukushima Number One Plant, will strengthen monitoring for radiation, and will swiftly report information about this," said the the nuclear safety agency of China's Ministry of Environmental Protection.

    As of 8 a.m. (0000GMT) on Tuesday, China had detected no abnormal radiation, and all of the country's nuclear reactors were operating safely, it added in the statement on its website (www.mep.gov.cn).

    Winds were expected to carry any radiation from Japan out over the Pacific Ocean and away from China for at least the next three days, the China Meteorological Administration said in a separate statement on its website (www.cma.gov.cn).

    "We will experience no impact," it said.

    Air China has cancelled flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon and in the evening, as well as some on Wednesday, according to the company's website (www.airchina.com.cn).

    A company spokeswoman said they were aware of the radiation issue, but that was not the reason for the cancellations. The airline just did not want aircraft remaining in Japan overnight, she added.

    The Japanese government has warned that radioactive levels had become "significantly" higher around an earthquake-stricken nuclear power plant on Tuesday.

    China's Foreign Ministry has not issued any new advisories to nationals in Japan.

    China has sent rescuers and aid after the huge earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan last week. Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao have also expressed sympathy for the stricken country which has often had icy relations with Beijing.

    China is Japan's biggest trade partner and a severe blow to the Japanese economy would also hurt China's exports. (Reporting by Beijing and Shanghai bureaux, editing by Jonathan Thatcher)

    ===

    All comments are moderated. We particularly welcome links to breaking news and other relevant media, eyewitness accounts from readers in Japan and expertise comment from readers with specialist knowledge.
    by Reuters.com edited by Eric Martyn at 3/15/2011 1:33:02 AM4:33
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    hide Quick login, no account necessary. Avatar50px x 50px Browse...
    Sign In Log in with one of the following accounts.FacebookTwitterYahoo!MySpaceGoogleMSNMake a comment Just to clarify. The snaps are official confirmation, although reported earlier
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 9:52
    That was hours ago. People are looking for up-to-date info, not posting older info as breaking news. The reports have time stamps.
    comment by fyi at 9:47
    @Maria D spent fuel catching fire will mean releasing neutron into the atmosphere, which is something you really do not wrong. However, current wind direction suggest these radioisotope will be carry over to the other side of the pacific, and it will be very diluted at that time (through dispersion, mixing, dropping into the ocean) - www.dailykos.com
    comment by Xen edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 9:41
    Another Reuters snap - Reactor operator confirms fire put out at Fukushima Daicihi No.4 reactor building
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 9:39
    Thanks Sandy. Radioactivity release coming from Unit 4, according to the Facebook page of IAEA
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 9:38
    Link to the IAEA facebook page where this statement is made: www.facebook.com
    comment by Sandy edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 9:36
    just saw this exact comment from @Reuters_david.lalmalsawma shown on my australian news channel as breaking news.
    comment by Aussie watcher at 9:33
    www.iaea.org Link to IAEA, and it was from previous fire, not new development
    comment by Xen at 9:33
    @Sandy www.iaea.org
    comment by JustMe edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 9:33
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I have been following this stream and I recall a comment saying that spent fuel catching fire is perhaps the worst case scenario. I think it was @Dean but I can't be sure. Don't want to start drama, just looking for clarification. Thanks.
    comment by Maria D at 9:30
    Only snaps available for now. Will update when more details come in.
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 9:30
    Can any of the experts confirm what this means, exactly?
    comment by Jon at 9:29
    Do you have a link to the IAEA information, please?
    comment by Sandy at 9:29
    @ Reuters_david.lalmalsawma: is that from the earlier fire at reactor 4 or a new development?
    comment by Steven at 9:28
    IAEA says told by Japan spent fuel storage pond at reactor on fire, radioactivity released into atmosphere
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 9:24

    twitpic.com looks like useful information to put things into perspective.
    comment by Aussie watcher via Twitpic at 8:51
    Regarding the spent fuel pool at reactor #4: "TEPCO is confirming reports that the temperature of the pool which contains spent nuclear fuel had risen from its usual 40 degrees Celsius to 84 degrees." -- www3.nhk.or.jp
    comment by Lansing at 8:50
    Radiation in Maebashi, 100 km north of Tokyo, up to 10 times normal levels - Kyodo quoting local govt
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 8:48

    A woman (L) and her maternal aunt cry at a shelter as they reunite for the first time after an earthquake and tsunami in Rikuzentakata in Iwate prefecture, northeast Japan March 15, 2011. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 8:47
    video of explosion at reactor #4 on March 15th. www.youtube.com
    comment by nodebased edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:38

    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 8:28
    Radiation in Tokyo 23x above normal, though not dangerous: www.marketwatch.com
    comment by Pseudonym edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/15/2011 5:26:06 AM8:26
    Japan atomic power says quake-hit Tokai Daini nuclear plant has safely cooled down
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 3/15/2011 5:24:07 AM8:24
    Forbes reports pandemonium at nuke plant, suggest abandonment is under way: blogs.forbes.com
    comment by Pseudonym edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/15/2011 5:21:46 AM8:21
    NHK TV: 17,000 unaccounted for, half a million in shelters
    comment by Pseudonym at 3/15/2011 5:21:08 AM8:21
    Reuters factbox on travel warnings on Japan in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 3/15/2011 5:20:01 AM8:20

    A U.S. Marine Corps CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter flies over Sendai in this U.S. military handout photo dated March 14, 2011. The Marines are assisting Japan's relief efforts following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. REUTERS/US Marine Corps/Gunnery Sgt. Leo A. Salinas/Handout
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 3/15/2011 5:19:10 AM8:19
    Google is hosting photos of survivor message boards found in the evacuation centers. picasaweb.google.com
    comment by Jamin at 3/15/2011 5:04:22 AM8:04

    A car is seen on the rooftop of a house as South Korean rescue workers walk past it in an area hit by an earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, northeastern Japan March 15, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/15/2011 5:03:36 AM8:03
    Huge damage stretching miles. img829.imageshack.us
    comment by Chris at 3/15/2011 5:02:28 AM8:02
    Tokyo city govt: Not considering telling residents to stay indoors
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 3/15/2011 5:01:45 AM8:01
    Tokyo city govt: Radiation levels ticked up on Tuesday, numbers not problematic
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 3/15/2011 5:01:19 AM8:01
    "[TEPCO] initially suggested that the damage was limited and that emergency operations aimed at cooling the nuclear fuel at three stricken reactors with seawater would continue. But industry executives said that in fact the situation had spiraled out of control and that all plant workers needed to leave the plant to avoid excessive exposure to radioactive leaks." www.nytimes.comcomment by Pseudonym at 3/15/2011 5:00:01 AM8:00
    Dr. Takani, What is the risk/hazard to Tokyo residents in case of full radiation leak due to complete meltdown
    comment by naveen at 3/15/2011 4:59:29 AM7:59
    how can the web cams be working when there is no power?
    comment by Bki Sue Anna at 3/15/2011 4:59:08 AM7:59
    NEWS ADVISORY: No-fly zone set for 30-km radius over Fukushima nuke plant: ministry (13:35) - Kyodo english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Chris Exley at 3/15/2011 4:55:43 AM7:55

    Maybe someone will find something interesting - tepco has all today's images (appear to be taken hourly) from it's webcam overlooking the site on their website: pointscope01.jp ; the file name is yearmonthdayhourminutesecond.jpg - you can change the hour part to see earlier images, e.g. to 20110315050000.jpg ). Don't know if it's useful or not.
    comment by Pawel via Pointscope01.jp at 3/15/2011 4:54:59 AM7:54
    NEWS ADVISORY: Radiation 33 times normal level measured in Utsunomiya, Tochigi (13:12) english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by GrizzlyB at 3/15/2011 4:53:49 AM7:53
    @wong2 - depends on what you mean by control. This will take a very very long time to get back to normalcy. We're probably talking about a number of months of coolong necessary. Radioactive cesium also decays slowly... Almost certainly these plants will never operate again
    comment by Dr. Tako Takani at 3/15/2011 4:52:55 AM7:52
    @hane - the fuel "used up" in the reactor.... Stays radiactive (hugely so) for a very very long time
    comment by Dr. Tako Takani at 3/15/2011 4:51:43 AM7:51
    @ Dean. Thank you for staying with us and giving us your imput. How long can workers keep pouring in sea water to keep rods cool? Is there any thing else that can be done to put a permanant fix on the reactors?
    comment by machi at 3/15/2011 4:48:21 AM7:48
    @ Jeffery Lilly , switch on your tv and watch your local tv at your area or watch NHK, they have been talkin and explaining about the problem of nuke.reactor all day long,I write this message as am in my car waiting for my turn to get 15 to 20 liters of fuel to my car in Sendai city where the earthquack and tsunami hit the worst, thanks for reading, and once again if anyone know more details about the reactor please tell us.
    comment by Sendai Servivor at 3/15/2011 4:48:10 AM7:48
    I'm in Tokyo and people are going to work as usual howwever, the expat community is definitely evacuating. we're all wondering if the radiation will head South towards us...scary thought.
    comment by Michael, Tokyo at 3/15/2011 4:47:22 AM7:47

    A U.S. Marine Corps CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter flies over Sendai in this U.S. military handout photo dated March 14, 2011. REUTERS/US Marine Corps/Gunnery Sgt. Leo A. Salinas/Handout
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/15/2011 4:45:54 AM7:45

    A U.S. Marine Corps CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter flies over Sendai in this U.S. military handout photo dated March 14, 2011. REUTERS/US Marine Corps/Gunnery Sgt. Leo A. Salinas/Handout
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/15/2011 4:35:40 AM7:35
    Vapour or smoke in the TEPCO webcam www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by Spanishwriter at 3/15/2011 4:33:25 AM7:33
    Jeffrey Lilly, from Kawanehon, Japan, writes: "We're about 300 miles in a straight line from the Fukushima nuclear plants. My junior high school operates as normal, and kids at the elementary school next door play outside as I write this. No mention of the nuclear crisis whatsoever from any town officials. If not for the news I'd never know there was a problem. "
    comment by gg at 3/15/2011 4:32:47 AM7:32
    @TonyTharakan WOW that looks like an image from a horror film. Hopefully the international community is stepping up to the plate and sending all the aid and emergency workers they can...
    comment by HB from Canada at 3/15/2011 4:31:56 AM7:31
    Why can't we all send ships to help with supplies and move people who are most at risk?
    comment by Aussie friend at 3/15/2011 4:28:41 AM7:28
    @Sendai Servivor: "Fukushima reactor to be fixed"? I believe a memorial should be put in its place.
    comment by Burlington_VT at 3/15/2011 4:28:27 AM7:28

    Rescue workers search through rubble in Otsuchi March 15, 2011. REUTERS/Aly Song
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/15/2011 4:28:24 AM7:28
    Here In the city of Sendai, thing are abit normal, except low fuel and heating oil supplies, also we still have no idea when thing are going to be back and fully functional such as house water or gas, just hoping for the Fukushima reactor to be fixed, if anyone know more about the reactor situation please tell us, thanks.
    comment by Sendai Servivor at 3/15/2011 4:25:00 AM7:25
    India ready to send navy ships to Japan to help relief effort
    english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by TMS edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/15/2011 4:21:29 AM7:21
    This is a very important article in that it tells us that TEPCO have not always been as honest as some believe they're being now. The Japan Times. Sunday, Sept. 1, 2002. "REPAIR REPORTS FALSIFIED. Tepco executives to quit over atomic plant scandal" search.japantimes.co.jp
    comment by Jim2011 edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/15/2011 4:20:19 AM7:20
    NEWS ADVISORY: Radiation amount in Chiba Pref. twice to 4 times normal level (13:14) english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by GrizzlyB edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/15/2011 4:19:34 AM7:19
    NEWS ADVISORY: Radiation 33 times normal level measured in Utsunomiya, Tochigi (13:12) -Kyodo english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Chris Exley at 3/15/2011 4:16:43 AM7:16

    Residents walk past debris in an area hit by an earthquake and tsunami in Otsuchi March 15, 2011. In the town of Otsuchi in Iwate prefecture, 12,000 out of a population of 15,000 have disappeared following Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami. REUTERS/Aly Song
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 3/15/2011 4:13:54 AM7:13
    Air China, the country's flag carrier, has cancelled flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon and in the evening. www.bbc.co.uk
    comment by IAEA at 3/15/2011 4:06:20 AM7:06
    will REUTERS post where the emergency radio stations are in japan so people can listen for announcement
    comment by Dean at 3/15/2011 4:03:06 AM7:03
    live broadcast of radiation levels in various locations. English and link to Japanese - live.nicovideo.jp
    comment by LCJ in Roslyn PA at 3/15/2011 4:02:03 AM7:02
    News from the markets - Japan plunges as rest of Asia posts modest falls www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 3/15/2011 4:00:18 AM7:00
    I totally agree with brett.delana. Although we are not flooded with information all the time (should we really?), I think the Japanese Gouvernement and even Tepco is doing a great job in this very, very hard and exceptional situation. Just image you would be the one responsible for the prevention of a world-scale atomic catastrophe in a region where there is no electricty and most of the infrastructure is damaged or simply washed away. Think twice before underestimating the responsibilities these people are facing and making wrong accusations...
    comment by Henk at 3/15/2011 3:54:46 AM6:54
    Helen Creak, who works for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) programme in Yamagata prefecture, tells the BBC: "It is difficult to make rational decisions when we aren't getting honest and accurate information from the Japanese officials or news stations.
    comment by Daily at 3/15/2011 3:54:11 AM6:54
    I think that I would locate local authorities if you can KORIYAMA
    comment by Dean at 3/15/2011 3:53:58 AM6:53
    God...please be with the people of Japan.
    comment by renga at 3/15/2011 3:53:47 AM6:53
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    comment by renga at 3/15/2011 3:53:33 AM6:53
    I have a question, 40 times normal levels…. What does that exactly mean?
    comment by Volodymyr at 3/15/2011 3:53:15 AM6:53
    My wife is there now. I feel like I can't breathe.
    comment by PCM @ at 3/15/2011 3:52:21 AM6:52
    the radiation level in Tokyo has risen from 20 cpm three hours ago to 90 cpm as of five minutes ago. park18.wakwak.com park18.wakwak.com This is not a dangerous dosage.
    comment by Tokyo Radiation at 3/15/2011 3:51:13 AM6:51
    I think this is rapidly gone from very bad to horrific. blogs.forbes.com
    comment by lkhns at 3/15/2011 3:50:35 AM6:50
    my heart goes out to all people of japan and my prayers for each and every person
    comment by Dean at 3/15/2011 3:50:01 AM6:50
    As others have already said, god bless the Fukushima 50. They are all heroes sacrificing their health and possibly even life to save the lives of potentially millions.
    comment by Bryan at 3/15/2011 3:48:27 AM6:48
    au.news.yahoo.com Japan Times Twitter page retweeted - : People in Tokyo metropolitan area do not need to worry about radiation for now b/c distant from Fukushima: Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano.

    0230 GMT: The United States nuclear regulatory commission has sent eight additional experts and managers to Japan to help respond to its damaged nuclear power plants.

    0221 GMT: Radiation levels around reactors now a threat to human health: Japan govt
    comment by reactor at 3/15/2011 3:48:00 AM6:48
    www.dnaindia.com Low-level radioactive wind may reach Tokyo in 10 hours: France
    comment by GrizzlyB at 3/15/2011 3:47:32 AM6:47
    Dean, when should the authorities begin thinking about a sarcophagus like Chernobyl? It would require massive logistical planing. Are we there yet?
    comment by Weasel53 at 3/15/2011 3:47:21 AM6:47
    why are japan stock markets even open, would it not be wiser to keep them closed for a few weeks untill further disasters are calmed?
    comment by Bki Sue Anna at 3/15/2011 3:47:12 AM6:47
    Geiger counter in Tokyo (updated every 10 minutes): park18.wakwak.com
    comment by Tokyo Radiation edited by Eric Martyn at 3/15/2011 3:46:06 AM6:46
    Nikkei share average extends fall, down 11 percent

    ==

    @frakenbob - Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged people within 30 km (18 miles) of the facility to remain indoors. www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta edited by Stephanie Ditta at 21:33
    ReplyHi Stephanie, in which areas do(es) the indoor call apply to? This is helpful to us watching with very deep concern for these people. Just unimaginable how this situation could occur...
    comment by frankenbob at 21:29
    Here's our latest report from Japan www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta at 21:28
    Slideshow: As Japan faces the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl, here's a look at the area around Chernobyl's exclusion zone www.reuters.com
    by Corinne Perkins at 21:27
    Senior correspondent Dan Sloan will appear live via telephone from Tokyo on MSNBC Live with Cenk Uygur at 6 pm et.
    comment by DestinationRTRS via twitter at 21:27
    Chrystia Freeland will appear on MSNBC’s The Martin Bashir Show at 3:45 et to discuss how disasters in Japan will affect world economy.
    comment by DestinationRTRS via twitter at 21:26

    Evacuees lie on carpets and strips of cardboards after an earthquake and tsunami swept through Otsuchi, in the Iwate prefecture, eastern Japan today. REUTERS/International Red Cross/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 21:18
    Developments from Japan
    * 140,000 affected by call to stay indoors
    * "What the hell is going on?" - Kan to nuclear plant operator
    * More than 10,000 feared killed by quake, tsunami
    * Japan stocks end down more than 10 percent
    * $620 billion wiped off stock market in 2 days
    by Stephanie Ditta edited by Stephanie Ditta at 21:17
    Daniel Kahl tweets: "Tokyo is a ghost town tonight. No people on the streets. Even the entertainment districts. Eerily quiet. But Tokyo is amazing. Even with blackouts, train problems, no rioting, no looting, no robberies."
    comment by GrizzlyB at 21:14
    @Reuters The picture 18:36 is just incredible & leaves me speechless. More horrifying and dramatic than any apocalyptic set I've ever seen.
    comment by yumi at 21:13
    Thanks for the feedback. We have an update from Tokyo moving shortly.
    by Stephanie Ditta at 21:13
    I have to concur on the usefulness of this site. The live feature of it is LONG ahead of standard news services. My coworkers are amazed I have up-to-the-minute information and I've shared the link with them as well as friends/family.
    comment by BigDanInTX at 21:12

    Civil defence relief workers stand together after an earthquake and tsunami swept through Otsuchi, in the Iwate prefecture, eastern Japan March 15, 2011. REUTERS/International Red Cross/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 21:11
    7 safe ways to donate to Japan reut.rs via @LaurenYoung
    comment by Prism_Money via twitter at 21:10
    Investors were overweight Japan before disaster: poll t.co
    comment by Prism_Money via twitter at 21:10
    I'll echo the comment by SS that this resource is excellent. I've been following this live update and the BBC live info since the beginning and have no reason to look elsewhere. Thanks to everyone for their time and expertise.
    comment by BobWilson at 21:09
    @Reuters_RossChainey: This picture including the market returns should not be used as trading advice as we are speaking of three completely different time periods/decades and economic cycles. I rather expect this quake/nuclear development have a more negative impact on S&P returns. Don't forget U.S. debt levels plus economic problems we had over last 3 years.
    comment by markettrader at 21:01
    @Reuters.com excellent. this is a great source of good information. thanks.
    comment by SS at 21:01
    @fallen1 Direct decrese of the white blood cells
    comment by Sam at 20:59
    @fallen1 Firstly, be careful with your units. Usually radiation is expressed in microSv (one-millionth) versus milliSv (one-thousandth). The reported 400 mSv at reactor #3 is very high. The recommended limit for those that work in an occupation that involves radiation is 500mSv per YEAR, so 400mSv/hr give you that in cumulative dose in about 75 minutes.
    comment by David at 20:59
    Reuters energy correspondent Scott DiSavino will be joining us at 4pm ET (8pm GMT) to answer questions on the nuclear industry. You can read some of Scott's reporting on the Japan disaster here: blogs.reuters.com
    by Reuters.com at 20:58
    could an expert please tell me what effect 400msv/hr could have?
    comment by fallen1 at 20:50
    German news magazine Der Spiegel reports two of the oldest nuclear reactors in Germany will be shut down. Isar-1 NPS is currently in the process of being shut down while block A at NPS Biblis will be turned off until Friday.
    comment by sputnik at 20:39
    U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu offered a cautious defense of nuclear power in the face of a potential disaster in Japan and reassured Americans that domestic power plants were safe. www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta at 20:39

    A house lies damaged in a river going through Kesennuma City today. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 20:36

    Here's a Reuters' graphic showing the impact of nuclear crises on the S&P 500, including the most recent disaster in Japan.
    by Reuters_RossChainey at 20:35
    Save the Children has a team setting up spaces in Sendai, Japan, to provide specialist care and attention to children, a spokesman for the organization told AlertNet on Tuesday.

    "Save the Children is keeping a close watch on the nuclear situation and are working out contingency plans on how we would respond if the situation got worse," Mike Sunderland said.

    "At present, we are carrying on with our planned operations in Sendai and the surrounding area."

    Trained volunteers oversee the children, giving them a chance to play, learn and try to forget about their traumatic experiences for a while, Sunderland said.

    "Save the Children is keen to give these children a chance to return to as much normality as possible."
    by Julie Mollins, AlertNet at 20:34

    A river of debris is seen between destroyed houses in Kesennuma City today. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 20:30
    Radiation plume could reach Tokyo: U.S. scientists www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta at 20:04
    The U.S. military took new steps to safeguard its personnel from radiation spread by Japan's earthquake-crippled nuclear plant, moving arriving warships to safer waters and cautioning some forces to limit outdoor activity. www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta at 19:59
    @jon it refer to the volume of the fuel rods that have melted.
    comment by chrcel at 19:59
    Was there any detail or explanation on how that five percent damage assessment was arrived at or what, specifically, it refers to?
    comment by jon at 19:55
    The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is monitoring the situation in Japan and says it has an emergency network of radiation doctors who are ready to be deployed if needed.

    The organization provides public-health expertise in managing and preventing exposure to radiation according to international standards.

    These standards were applied in Japan to create an evacuation zone of 20 kilometers around the Fukushima nuclear plant, institute a 10-kilometer shelter zone and distribute iodine.

    “For the moment, the danger of severe public health consequences is low, but this is at the moment," Gregory Hartl, spokesman for the World Health Organization told AlertNet.

    "We have to see what happens in the next days with any further release of radiation.”

    WHO says it is in constant contact with Japan's Ministry of Health.
    by Julie Mollins, AlertNet edited by Julie Mollins, AlertNet at 20:15
    He also said recent developments in Japan's nuclear crisis were "worrying" but he still believed the situation was different from that of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Still, he wanted more timely, detailed information about Japan's events.
    by Stephanie Ditta at 19:41
    Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told a news conference that there was a "possibility of core damage" at unit 2. "The damage is estimated to be less than 5 pct."
    by Stephanie Ditta at 19:39
    The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said there might be limited core damage at the No. 2 unit of the Fukushima power plant.
    by Stephanie Ditta at 19:39
    Not to clutter the site with white noise, but that 50-picture post was unbelievable. Thanks for the great coverage!
    comment by gcbudka at 19:35

    Most recent image of Fukushima Dai-ichi plant from TEPCO webcam (taken 17.00 local time): pointscope01.jp
    comment by Pawel via Pointscope01.jp at 19:35

    Soldiers and a rescue worker carry the body of a resident through Kesennuma City today. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 19:29
    For Bubba who was asking for sat images, check this website www.digitalglobe.com (hope this works) - you can see clear before and after images
    comment by Fran Evans at 19:21
    Slideshow: 50 pictures that depict the scale of the disaster in Japan www.reuters.com
    by Corinne Perkins at 19:13
    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) asked the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to activate its Environmental Emergency Response mechanism on March 12, 2011, after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, the United Nations weather agency said in a statement.

    The metereological organisation is now providing the IAEA with meteorological information, and its regional meteorological agencies in Asia (Beijing, Tokyo and Obninsk, Russian Federation) are monitoring the situation.

    "The centres are responsible for developing predictions of the trajectories and spreading of contaminants following environmental accidents with cross-border implications," the statement said.

    "The information is made available to the IAEA and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of the immediate region concerned."

    www.wmo.int

    by Julie Mollins, AlertNet at 19:13
    Does anyone have a pic or sat img of unit 2 after the 3rd exposion? On unit 3 you can see the rebar (round) of primary containment so that steam is comming from a broken pipe off the top of the reactor vessel top head itself.
    comment by Bubba at 19:11
    Temperatures appeared to be rising in the spent fuel pools at two other reactors at the plant, No. 5 and No. 6, said Yukio Edano, the chief cabinet secretary. www.nytimes.com
    comment by Neilio55 at 19:10
    Japan government orders injections of water into Daiichi No. 4 reactor spent fuel pool: report
    by Eric Martyn at 19:09
    Dear friends, we are asking too many questions which is good. But lets take a moment and thank the real-life-heroes who are fighting the nuclear plant fire/cooling problems. They know that they will either die or suffer serious radiation illness but they are fighting hard for the rest of the world including you and me. I wonder how much respect will they get for this unselfish act. May god bless them and their families. Thank you HEROES.
    comment by Yamaha at 19:08
    By late Tuesday, the water meant to cool spent fuel rods in the No. 4 reactor was boiling, Japan’s nuclear watchdog said. If the water evaporates and the rods run dry, they could overheat and catch fire, potentially spreading radioactive materials in dangerous clouds. www.nytimes.com
    comment by Neilio55 at 19:08
    The IAEA chief says communication with Japan over the nuclear crisis needs to be strengthened. He says he would like to have more timely and detailed information from the country.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 19:03
    The IAEA says Japan has told it the Hamaoka nuclear power plant continues to operate safely after the 6.1 earthquake a few hours ago that was about 60 miles away.

    "Units 1 and 2 are decommissioned, unit 3 is under inspection and not operational, and units 4 and 5 remain in safe operational status after the earthquake."
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 18:54
    From the AlertNet Climate Conversations blog: Is climate change increasing earthquakes? www.trust.org
    by Julie Mollins, AlertNet at 18:51
    Oxfam Japan is appealing for public donations for two partner organizations, one that is assisting mothers and babies and the other providing information to non-Japanese speakers living in Japan.
    www.trust.org
    by Julie Mollins, AlertNet edited by Julie Mollins, AlertNet at 18:47
    TEPCO says the water level at Fukushima Daiichi no.2 reactor is recovering smoothly.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 18:44
    Googles People Finder for the Japan Earthquake japan.person-finder.appspot.com
    by people finder edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 18:43
    South-East Asian countries have been reviewing the successes and failures of their tsunami alert systems, which swung into action last week (11 March) in response to Japan's major earthquake and tsunami.

    Countries to the south, such as Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, activated their tsunami warning systems but were spared much devastation.

    Read the report by Kafil Yamin and Joel D. Adriano from SciDev.Net here: www.trust.org
    by Julie Mollins, AlertNet at 18:40

    A man carries his belongings in Kesennuma today. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 18:40
    is there a list of missing person online for Otsuchi ?
    comment by crab at 18:37
    China's quality watchdog says it will monitor radioactivity at its entry ports.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 18:37
    Recent 6.4 earthquake was 6 miles from mount Fuji.
    comment by thetaste at 18:24

    by Reuters_Jillian Kitchener at 18:19

    Soldiers carry the body of a victim as others prepare to retrieve more in Kesennuma City today. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 18:01
    Chu says the Obama administration is still committed to having nuclear power, saying the country "needs a diverse supply of energy".
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:59
    U.S. energy secretary Steven Chu says U.S. radiation monitoring equipment will arrive in Japan in two hours.

    He also told a House Appropriations subcommittee that American will learn from the tragedy in Japan whether safety improvements are needed at U.S. nuclear power plants.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:59
    A few people have been asking about the other nuclear plants (aside from Fukushima Daiichi). The IAEA says all units at Fukushima Daini, Onagawa and Tokai plants are in "safe and stable" condition.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:43
    Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has sent medical teams to operate mobile clinics and conduct needs assessments in Japan.

    "In terms of the nuclear issue, our team on the ground will follow the directions of the national government, and are staying more than 30 kilometres away from the power plants currently at risk," an MSF spokesperson told AlertNet.

    "They are currently working in an area 100 kilometres north of the damaged plant. We are taking precautions to protect our staff in the field and are planning evacuation routes in case the situation deteriorates"

    MSF, which operates in 60 countries, does not issue appeals for donations for specific emergencies.

    "MSF would not have been able to act so swiftly in response to the emergency in Haiti, as an example, if not for the ongoing general support from our donors," the group said in a statement.

    "We always ask our supporters to consider making an unrestricted contribution.

    "We greatly appreciate your generosity and encourage your support of our work. We will continue to post updates on our homepage www.doctorswithoutborders.org , Facebook www.facebook.com and Twitter twitter.com as new information becomes available."
    by Julie Mollins, AlertNet at 17:39
    To what extent are the radiological hazards hampering rescue efforts - are any rescue personnel leaving the Sendai area?
    comment by Eve at 17:38

    Firefighters fight a blaze in Kesennuma City, northeast Japan, today. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 17:38
    The IAEA is now saying that yesterday's explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi plant may have affected integrity of main containment vessel.

    It says there is a 30km no-fly zone in place around the plant.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:38
    Russian PM Vladimir Putin says the nuclear power plant Russia plans to build in Belarus would be more accident-proof than the plants that have been damaged in Japan, reports Interfax.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:33
    Kyodo is reporting Japan's defense minister Toshimi Kitazawa as saying the government is considering using SDF helicopters to pour water on the spent fuel pool - akin to the method often used on forest fires - but the measure is on hold due to difficulty assessing the potential impact on the submerged fuel rods and the personnel involved.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:29
    The U.S. navy says more military personnel in Japan are testing positive for low levels of radiation (no figures). They say relief missions are continuing.

    Some U.S. warships due to arrive on the east coast of Honshu, however, will now head to the west coast due to radiological hazards.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:30
    Kyodo News Fire breaks out in Fujinomiya city: Shizuoka police (23:10) english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by guyco edited by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 17:21
    @Reuters; is there any information on the impact of the latest quake on the situation at the Fukushima Nuclear site?
    comment by Henk at 17:20
    @Reuters According to Google Tokosuka Naval Base is approximately 166 miles away from Fukushima nuclear power plant.
    comment by 07rescue at 17:14

    Kesennuma City in northeast Japan today. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 17:13
    2 quakes at 3 min. apart here info from the second one.




    Magnitude 6.1 - EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
    2011 March 15 13:31:46 UTC

    * Details
    * Maps

    Earthquake Details

    * This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

    Magnitude 6.1
    Date-Time

    * Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 13:31:46 UTC
    * Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 10:31:46 PM at epicenter

    Location 35.322°N, 138.552°E
    Depth 1 km (~0.6 mile) set by location program
    Region EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
    Distances

    * 40 km (25 miles) NNE (20°) from Shizuoka, Honshu, Japan
    * 42 km (26 miles) S (182°) from Kofu, Honshu, Japan
    * 104 km (65 miles) NE (48°) from Hamamatsu, Honshu, Japan
    * 115 km (72 miles) WSW (251°) from TOKYO, Japan -- earthquake.usgs.gov
    comment by guyco at 17:12
    Last Earthquake Details

    * This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

    Magnitude 5.8
    Date-Time

    * Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 13:27:53 UTC
    * Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 10:27:53 PM at epicenter

    Location 37.626°N, 142.320°E
    Depth 1 km (~0.6 mile)
    Region OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
    Distances

    * 140 km (87 miles) ENE (63°) from Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
    * 144 km (89 miles) ESE (118°) from Sendai, Honshu, Japan
    * 163 km (102 miles) E (94°) from Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
    * 316 km (196 miles) NE (46°) from TOKYO, Japan

    Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 15.9 km (9.9 miles); depth +/- 0.8 km (0.5 miles)
    Parameters NST=335, Nph=337, Dmin=385.2 km, Rmss=1.38 sec, Gp= 83°,
    M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9
    Source

    * U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center:
    World Data Center for Seismology, Denver

    Event ID usc00023fq
    comment by guyco at 17:11
    meteorological says the one right before the 6.0 shizuoka was a 6.2 at fukushima
    comment by Gaijin in tokyo at 17:11
    Some more on that U.S. military story: "These measures are strictly precautionary in nature. We do not expect that any United States federal radiation exposure limits will be exceeded even if no precautionary measures are taken," the Seventh Fleet said in a statement.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:10
    France's nuclear conundrum: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:07
    "Working in close cooperation with the Japan Committee for UNICEF, we have offered our support to protect the children affected by this catastrophe and to provide critical services in the days ahead," Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, has said in a statement.

    UNICEF, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, works to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path.

    www.unicef.org
    by Julie Mollins, AlertNet at 17:04

    by Reuters_Jillian Kitchener at 17:03
    The American Red Cross is contributing an initial $10 million to assist earthquake and tsunami survivors.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:02
    IEA chief says nuclear power will "come back" because it is a necessary technology to achieve sustainable energy supply, but it will be more expensive.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 17:00
    I felt two in Tokiyo. One right after the other.
    comment by in tokyo at 16:57
    The U.S. says it detects low-level radioactivity at its Yokosuka military base in Japan (no figures as yet). It advises personnel and families at Yokosuka and naval air facility Atsugi to take precautions including limiting outdoor activities and securing external ventilation systems as much as possible.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 16:58
    An extensive Reuters special report on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, as its 25th anniversary nears: link.reuters.com
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 16:52
    Just had a pretty strong aftershock here in Kanagawa prefecture. Looks like a 6+ in Shizouka over by Mt. Fuji. Thankfully it was a short one.
    comment by Tsumik at 16:48
    Japanese weather agency says ocean levels may change after latest quake but no damage expected.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 16:46
    Earthquake that just hit was felt pretty decent here in Yokosuka, lasted about 10-15 seconds.
    comment by Minton at 16:44
    NHK says it was centred in Shizuoka.
    by kenwpro edited by kenwpro at 16:43
    No worry of tsunami after latest quake - Kyodo
    by linda.noakes at 16:42
    Chubu Electric Hamaoka nuclear power plant operating normally after quake that hit eastern Japan - NHK
    by linda.noakes at 16:42
    They are saying that there is no threat of a tsunami from this earthquake
    comment by In_Kamakura at 16:40
    Shook pretty good in Nagoya...
    comment by Red in Aichi at 16:40
    TEPCO says its power plants continue to operate after quake that hit eastern Japan
    by linda.noakes at 16:40
    Preliminary magnitude for earthquake that hit eastern Japan revised to 6.0 - TV
    by linda.noakes at 16:38
    just felt a big earthquake here in Yokosuka
    comment by girl in japan at 16:38
    It was very intense here in Kamakura and is still shaking. This is the first real aftershock to reach here with such force since the 9.0 earthquake.
    comment by In_Kamakura at 16:38
    Magnitude 6.2 quake hits eastern Japan - TV
    by linda.noakes at 16:34
    Earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo, say witnesses
    by linda.noakes at 16:33
    The Dow Jones has opened down 152.88 points, or 1.27 percent
    by linda.noakes at 16:32
    Richard Robinson in Ashikaga, writes: "In response to David Littman's comment at 8:55GMT my school in Ashikaga was business as usual. The lights were kept off to save energy but all lessons went ahead as planned, even with sports being played outside."
    comment by Justin at 16:22
    Failure to keep adequate water levels in a pool would lead to a catastrophic fire, said nuclear experts, some of whom think that unit 1’s pool may now be outside.

    “That would be like Chernobyl on steroids,” said Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer at Fairewinds Associates and a member of the public oversight panel for the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, which is identical to the Fukushima Daiichi unit 1.

    People familiar with the plant said there are seven spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi, many of them densely packed.
    comment by Harold edited by Reuters_Jillian Kitchener at 16:22
    IAEA chief Tanaka urges "patience" on nuclear power until more information is gathered for a full review of what has happened in Japan, so that lessons can be learned.

    He says he understands public fear about nuclear power following the earthquake, but that he is concerned about the reaction due to the important role nuclear power can play in helping to cut carbon emissions worldwide.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 16:15
    Kyodo is reporting that TEPCO has become unable to pour water onto the spent fuel in reactor 4. english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Jim at 16:10

    by Reuters_Jillian Kitchener at 16:08
    Wall Street is expected to tumble more than 2 percent at the open, tracking global equities sharply lower as fears of a nuclear crisis look set to thrust financial markets into a period of turmoil
    by linda.noakes at 16:05
    Here's our latest updated story on how people in Tokyo are reacting uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 16:03

    A near empty shelf in Tokyo today. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 16:02
    Reactors 4, 5, and 6 were all down for maintenance at time of quake, but all 3 suffered cut-off of water circulation in their spent fuel ponds. The problems at No. 4 are more acute because all of its fuel rods are in the pool while 5-6 have only 1/3 as many fuel rods. But temps slowly rising at 5-6 also.
    comment by Robert_Thailand at 15:59
    Spend Fuel Pools at reactor 5 and 6 are at around 84° celisus, according to TEPCO and NHK. Normal temperature is 40°. They are monitored closely, but at the moment temperature is not rising any further
    comment by David at 15:58
    @Justin: temp rising in spent fuel pools: "Edano said water temperature in the pools at the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors in the Fukushima plant has been rising as well." english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Karl at 15:57
    @Reuters_MarkKolmar Since the plant is damaged, i have heard of predictions of another big earthquake that might happen in the next few days. Can the plant stand another earthquake?
    comment by bobby at 15:56
    @Justin: Kyodo lists them as under maintenance when the quake struck: english.kyodonews.jp
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:51
    Any updates about plant 5 and 6?
    comment by Justin at 15:49
    TEPCO expects power demand of 38 million kW tomorrow, against a supply of 33 million kW. It says it may implement rollover blackouts for the upcoming three-day weekend, as well as weekdays.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:46
    Experts warn not to drink iodine-based gargles amid radiation fear, KyodoNews, english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Alena at 15:41
    TEPCO says the holes in the wall of the outer building at reactor 4 have left the spent nuclear fuel pool exposed to the outside air.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:33
    @Vidyut: The latest news I believe we have on Daini is that it was safely cooled down yesterday evening: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:31

    by Reuters_Jillian Kitchener at 15:29
    @vidyut last I heard all reactors at Daini have been shut down, no emergency situations.
    comment by Martin14 at 15:27
    Are there any updates on the situation at Fukushima Daini? Or is the cold shut down the end of the story on that crisis?
    comment by Vidyut at 15:25

    Smoke billows from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after an explosion today at 6:10am in this still image taken at 7am
    (2200 GMT) from a webcam. REUTERS/TEPCO
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz edited by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 15:23
    More detail on those IAEA figures (12:00):

    The IAEA say a radiation does level of 0.6 mSv per hour was observed at the main gate of the Fukushima plant at 0600 GMT, down from 11.9 mSv per hour six hours earlier.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:22
    A roundup of that Kyodo news on the no.4 reactor:

    Radiation levels at the reactor have become too high for normal work in the control room. Workers cannot stay in the room long and so are going in and out alongside monitoring from a different room.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:18
    TEPCO says it is likely to pour water into the no.4 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi within two to three days. It may pour water in through the holes in the outer building.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:17

    The bodies of victims are covered by blankets at a village destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami in Rikuzentakata in Iwate prefecture today. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 15:05
    IAEA says Japan has monitored 150 people for radiation levels, and carried out decontamination measures on 23.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:04
    The IAEA says data from Japan suggests falling radioactivity at the Fukushima plant.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:00
    Tokyo city government says the radiation level there is 10 times the usual amount for the city, but still not at a sufficient level to be any threat to human health.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 15:00
    Latest info on quake-striken reactors at Fukushima, from Kyodo News: english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Alena at 14:45
    Radiation levels about to drop below 30 cpm in Tokyo was in the high 40's 2 hours ago.
    comment by neogeo at 14:45
    So how effective is radiation protection for workers at the plant? If the levels are as high as 400mSv/hr, then what does it mean for workers staying at the plant?
    comment by prj at 14:41

    A fireman goes through a photo album found in the ruins of the devastated town of Otsuchi. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 14:38
    here:
    www.trust.org
    you can see how much radiation is dangerous
    comment by KBcompany at 14:36
    The U.S. military says it has moved warships closer to the Japanese coast to aid with relief and rescue efforts.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 14:36
    Official Fukushima Radiation levels at 10:22am:
    Reactor 2: 30 milli sieverts
    Reactor 3: 400 milli sieverts
    Reactor 4: 100 milli sieverts

    Officials have confirmed that these levels will cause immediate harm to humans, not just over a long period of time.

    Detailed chart for understanding radiation levels
    comment by Mark at 14:33
    TEPCO says there is radiation reading of 100 millisieverts near the no.4 reactor building. uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 14:28
    Just spoke to a friend who teaches at a school in Tsuruoka, which is on the west coast of Japan and about 175km NW of the Fukushima plant. The staff and teachers were just told to go home, seal doors and windows, and remain inside because of concern that a wind shift might move radiation their way.
    comment by Jesse Clark at 14:27
    Live geiger counter in Shiba www.ustream.tv
    comment by Gutje at 14:27
    Live geiger counter in Tokyo: www.ustream.tv
    comment by JV at 14:26
    So even if the fuel rods are cooled with sea water after they stop their reaction - forgive me I'm no physicist or chemist, but it would still take 4 months for them to cool completely, even with constant water poured over them. Can someone confirm or correct me on this?
    comment by neogeo at 14:25
    @Mar1Popp1ns This actually had a few minor technical errors. It is now being hosted by the MIT Nuclear Science department here: mitnse.com
    comment by borrrden at 14:25
    my japanese coworkers are telecommuting and still working in/around Tokyo
    comment by k at 14:24
    How does this mean for the US for people living on the west coast.
    comment by atvadan at 14:23
    Oustanding TECHNICAL analysis on what happened (and on most of what is happening) at Fukushima plant: bravenewclimate.com
    comment by Mar1Popp1ns at 14:22
    In view of the possibility of aftershocks, are there measures currently in place to verify the operability of the emergency controls in all the other reactors in the country?
    comment by prayers at 14:22
    Following on from below, this is the Wikipedia page for nuclear power generation by country: en.wikipedia.org
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 14:20
    @Reuters_MarkKolmar how much of the goods Japan produces are actually manufactures in Japan though? Sure, power difficulties may prevent people from getting to their office - but will that prevent Japanese companies from producing goods manufactured offshore?
    comment by neogeo at 14:20
    Platts is reporting that France is to hold a second crisis meeting today at 11:30 GMT, between PM Francois Fillon and environment minister Nathalie
    Kosciusko-Morizet, about the Japanese reactor explosions.

    France is the world's second largest generator of nuclear power, behind the U.S., and ahead of Japan in third.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 14:15
    An article here about the potential impact of the power supply problems Japan is facing: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 14:09
    Here's the latest version of our overview page: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 14:08

    An officer at the Hong Kong Observatory shows a forecast trajectory of radiation releases from Japan. Indicators in red triangles, blue squares and green stars project wind directions of different altitudes 500 metres, 1,500 metres and 3,000 metres respectively. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 14:07
    Current and forecast wind for the next few days is W-SW; downwind from the nuclear plant.
    comment by tokyohugh at 14:06
    @Reuters_MarkKolmar Were not the Japanese plants praised for their excellent design and contingency plans - and that did not matter in this circumstance. This basically says that any design, no matter how brilliant is vulnerable to extreme situations.
    comment by neogeo at 14:06
    What is the wind direction right now and for tonight and tomorrow? Where is headed the radioactivity which is above Tokyo right now?
    comment by MD at 14:03
    I think Reuters are being serious and measured here- not sensationalist but honest, with the most up-to-date information. At least it's how I see it.
    comment by Lucie at 14:03
    What is the distance between Tokyo and the nuclear plants and between them what type of topography lies in this area.
    comment by atvadan at 14:01
    A bit more detail on the breaking German story: Chancellor Merkel says all seven of the country's nuclear power plants that began operation before 1980 will be provisionally shut down, although has no timescale has been given. The details will be agreed next Tuesday.

    She also says all German reactors will undergo checks and all safety questions about the plants will be answered by 15 June.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 14:00
    A map of all the aftershocks can be seen here: earthquake.usgs.gov
    comment by Simon at 14:00
    How many people are still on site at the moment to control the reactors? I read only 50 of 800 staff members remained. Can that be enough to handle the multitude of problems that exist?
    comment by FoxPro at 13:58

    While earthquake and tsunami rescue efforts continue in Japan, some survivors tell their stories.

    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 13:58

    Japan Self-Defense Force officers prepare for a clean-up at a radiation affected area in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture in northern Japan, March 15, 2011. REUTERS/KYODO
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 13:56

    A baby is tested for radiation in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture in northern Japan, March 15, 2011. REUTERS/KYODO
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 13:55
    Russian PM Vladimir Putin has ordered officials to accelerate the Sakhalin-3 oil and gas project to help meet future Japanese demand for energy.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 13:50
    In response to the discussion on radiation levels, see a factbox here for some figures: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 13:46
    @kdp ok so it's 400 milli which is considered unhealthy for humans though right?
    comment by neogeo at 13:45
    @prayers it's at 47 cpm. there is no 7 displayed. Normal is 10-20 cpm.
    comment by sound at 13:45
    Went to Narita airport today. Make sure to check the Narita website for updates about trains (many are cancelled or reduced). Also might want to eat before - very limited choices at terminal 2 with shortages of food (even McDonalds only had two choices left) Airport departures area was extremely busy.
    comment by Gaijin in tokyo at 13:45
    Kyodo is reporting that Tohoku Electric says electricity rationing will extend to northeastern Japan from Wednesday.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 13:44
    geiger counts in micro.
    comment by kdp at 13:43
    @MD Because Japanese companies are converting overseas assets back into Yen, I assume this is because Japanese own alot of overseas assets. I'm no financial whiz though.
    comment by neogeo at 13:43
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany will shut down its nuclear plants that began operation before 1980.

    She says all safety questions about German nuclear plants will be answered by 15 June, and that Germany has agreed with France to put forward a nuclear safety initiative to the G20.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 13:45
    I apologize to everybody...I am not a finance geek...why is the yen so strong now..and do you expect the yen to get even stronger?
    comment by MD at 13:41
    @borrrden I'm confused about whether geiger counter is micro or milli? Can someone confirm this?
    comment by neogeo at 13:41
    @you sorry, the counter's saying 7000, 044.xx
    comment by prayers at 13:40
    @prayers Geiger counters measure "cpm" or counts per minute...I have no clue what that is in mSv or uSv....
    comment by borrrden at 13:39
    earthquake.usgs.gov
    comment by Idanue at 13:38
    @ ssl: You can check latest aftershocks here:
    comment by Idanue at 13:38
    What is the geiger counter in Tokyo saying (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/geiger-counter-tokyo)? I can't make out the numbers- is it 700,045.72? if so is this 7 milli sv? Also, what is the location of this counter in Tokyo?
    comment by prayers at 13:37
    South Korea's Meteorological Administration has released results of a weather simulation, which it says shows most of the radioactive particles from drifting towards the Pacific.

    The weather agency insisted that the results are entirely hypothetical, as it does not have concrete data with respect to the amount of radioactive vapor that escaped into the air, the timeframe and other details concerning the extent of damage at the plant.

    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 13:38
    @Allen If I understood correctly pools at reactors 5,6 are at 80 celsius, this dates to about two hrs ago
    comment by AC at 13:37
    have there been any aftershocks recently?
    comment by ssl at 13:36
    The only advice we've been given is don't go out in the rain. Apart from that nothing.
    comment by Martin in Tokyo at 13:35
    NHK - reporting there may be light radioactive rain tomorrow!!
    comment by Aussie watcher at 13:34
    It's seems normal here in Tokyo (apart from empty shelves in shops and big queues at petrol stations) but there is a sense that something is going to happen. It's quite obvious that he authorities don't want to cause mass panic. My family are well out of the way in Osaka. I'll be joining them soon.
    comment by Martin in Tokyo at 13:34
    According to NHK current radiation levels at the plants, 400 mSv/hour at Reactor 3, 100 mSv/hour at Reactor 4.
    comment by kenwpro at 13:31
    Report from Kyodo on Prime Minister Naoto Kan's anger at TEPCO:

    Japan's prime minister was furious with the power firm at the centre of the nuclear crisis for taking so long to inform his office about a blast at a stricken reactor plant, demanding "What the hell is going on?".

    "The TV reported an explosion. But nothing was said to the the premier's office for about an hour," a Kyodo reporter quoted Kan telling power company executives.

    Kyodo also reports that Naoto Kan ordered TEPCO not to pull employees out of the Fukushima plant.
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 13:32
    Are there any new/actual pictures of Fukushima I?
    comment by David J. at 13:31
    Is there any update on how far the radiation could impact and what may be the possible impacts in worst case scenarios?
    comment by Jigar Salot at 13:31
    what is the update on reactors No. 5&6?
    comment by Allen at 13:31
    @Rick Many have left the city and many more are leaving now... people are very worried about radiation reports in Tokyo and Chiba. Many are driving down south or flying out of the country if possible.
    comment by aniruddha at 13:30
    Tokyo Metro are advising people not to travel tomorrow between 07:30-09:30 and 18:00-20:00
    comment by Martin in Tokyo at 13:29
    Global growth to take glancing blow: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters_MarkKolmar at 13:28
    Martin, what is the feeling in Tokyo? Are officials saying, that if efforts fail, what the conditions will be, and what instructions, on what precautions to take for you and your family?
    comment by Rick at 13:28
    @carl Most figures regarding what is allowable is calculated on a yearly basis.
    comment by kenwpro at 13:25
    I would like to know how the food/water is going to be distributed especially if people are panic buying in Tokyo?
    comment by judefire66uk at 13:24
    i read that radiation levels around the plant are 3-400 times what is allowed. is that what is allowed per year? per day?
    comment by carl at 13:24
    @cq- power companies have been increasing production from oil and gas fueled plants to make up for the shortage left by nuclear power
    comment by Gao at 13:24
    @Martin in Tokyo the rolling blackouts have been postponed for many areas due to the energy conservation efforts of residents. They only need to do a rolling blackout to conserve power, but if everyone does their part to conserve electricity, then rolling blackouts are not necessary.
    comment by expat at 13:23


    ===

    Magnitude 6.2 - EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
    2011 March 15 13:31:46 UTC
    Versión en Español
    DetailsSummaryMapsScientific & TechnicalAdditional InfoEarthquake Details
    This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
    Magnitude 6.2
    Date-Time Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 13:31:46 UTC
    Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 10:31:46 PM at epicenter
    Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

    Location 35.300°N, 138.700°E
    Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
    Region EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
    Distances 36 km (22 miles) S of Kofu, Honshu, Japan
    37 km (22 miles) NW of Numazu, Honshu, Japan
    42 km (26 miles) NNE of Shizuoka, Honshu, Japan
    116 km (72 miles) WSW of TOKYO, Japan

    Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 12.1 km (7.5 miles); depth fixed by location program
    Parameters NST=358, Nph=379, Dmin=135.8 km, Rmss=0.79 sec, Gp= 40°,
    M-type=centroid moment magnitude (Mw), Version=D
    Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)


    Event ID usc00023fx

    JAPAN IN GRAPHICS: A visual summary of the crisis
    15 Mar 2011 19:07

    Source: alertnet


    LONDON (AlertNet) - As Japan braces for a potential radiation catastrophe in the wake of Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami, global media have been illustrating the crisis through infographics. Here is a selection.




    How a reactor shuts down and what happens in a meltdownNew York Times

    ===

    CHIKYU

    Deep Sea Drilling Vessel (D/V) CHIKYU is the first riser equipped scientific drilling vessel built for science at the planning stage. It is capable of drilling up to 7,000m deep sea floor and aim to the mantle and seismogenic zone. CHIKYU explores the Earth as the main plat form of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).
    The earth has experienced a number of great environmental changes. The evidence remains under the deep seafloor. The deep sea drilling research open the new frontier of earth and life science for future of mankind by revealing the system of major earthquakes, global changes, origin of life.



    Investigating the earthquake mechanism requires surveys, direct observations, samples and monitoring under the earth at the plate boundary. D/V CHIKYU, because it can drill to the seismogenic zone, is the primary tool to obtain these crucial pieces of information. We aim for establishment of earthquake information transmission system by installation of monitoring machines in the borehole.



    First life was born in the primitive earth under the high temperature, high pressure and no oxygen. There still is the environment similar to the primitive earth in the deep part of the present earth. Research into these microbes in extreme environments may resolve the origin and evolution of life on Earth. It is one of the most important life science targets of D/V CHIKYU.



    The one of the main objectives of D/V CHIKYU is to drill through the earth’s crust and reach the mantle, where no one has ever explored before. The earth has been continuously changing its aspect with continental drift and large-scale volcanic activity etc. The mantle is considered to play an important role for the Earth system. We will open the door for direct understanding the relationship between global-scale environmental change and mantle processes.

    What is mantle?
    A main layer structure that makes up the solid earth. The mantle extends up to 2,900km beneath the crust, and accounts for 80% of the total mass of the Earth. Huge volume of magmatic convection ascending (super plume) and descending (cold plume) in the mantle is considered to play an important role for the Earth’s environment changes, however, human kind has never reached the mantle yet.


    Sediment cores obtained by D/V CHIKYU are valuable records of global environmental change. Detailed analysis of such records enables the understanding of global change mechanisms and prediction of future change.





    Quake impact on Japanese NPPs
    RiaNovosti


    Japan earthquake and tsunami: Tsunami runs out of steam
    Mirror


    Japan radiation spread a reasonable fear
    National Post


    Graphic: Disaster in Japan — The Wave
    National Post


    Texas Tech University Japan earthquake viewer
    Texas Tech


    Shifting plates and rising water
    New York Times


    Terremoto con Tsunami en Japon
    lanformacion.com

    Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami
    ===


    Passengers queue to check into a flight at Narita airport, east of Tokyo March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:18
    ReplyImpressive before and after satellite photos- move your mouse pointer over the images to see the devastation: www.abc.net.au
    comment by GrizzlyB edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:10
    FLASH: Japan nuclear operator says does not know what caused explosion at Fukushima Daiichi plant reactor No. 4 as there was water in fuel pool
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:08
    Up-to-date animation of aftershocks in Japan following the 9.0 earthquake on March 11: www.msnbc.msn.com
    comment by GrizzlyB edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:03
    NEWS ADVISORY: Ceiling of No. 4 reactor reduced to frame: TEPCO (12:48)
    english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by THE DUDE edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:01
    Radiation Plume Chart (Projected) across the Pacific Ocean: www.nytimes.com
    comment by TMS edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:00
    The temperature of Reactor 5 is now a growing cause for concern, a Japanese official reports. "The level of water in the reactor is lowering and the pressure is rising," he says. - BBC
    comment by GrizzlyB at 6:56
    U.S. government authorizes voluntary departure of family members of embassy staff - State Department official
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 6:55
    U.S. State Department says bringing in chartered aircraft to Tokyo to help Americans exit Japan
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 6:54
    French residents in Japan and French citizens prepare to check in to a special charter flight to Paris, at Narita airport, east of Tokyo March 17, 2011. The French government said on Wednesday that Japan was losing control of the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and urged its nationals in Tokyo to leave the country or head to southern Japan. REUTERS/Issei Kato
    by jashong.king at 6:53
    Japan nuclear operator -- As of Wednesday fuel at Fukushima Daiichi plant reactor no.4 was not exposed
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 6:52
    South Korea has started checking radiation levels for people arriving from Japan as part of its efforts to better protect public health, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports, quoting the government. Two "residual radiation detection gates" have been set up at Incheon international airport, west of Seoul. The gates can detect even the minutest traces of radiation that could allow authorities to take appropriate remedial action. -BBC
    comment by GrizzlyB at 6:51
    Pressure at Japan reactor No.3 rising again, operator says
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 6:50
    Sendai city gas confirms no damage to its LNG tanks
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 6:49
    www.houshasen-pref-ibaraki.jp Ibaraki lectures, also Bousai seems online and ibaraki at 920nGy/h
    comment by Passing by edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:48
    A Japan Air Self-Defense Force CH-47 Chinook helicopter collects water from the ocean to drop on the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Yomiuri
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:44
    Update on worker injuries and radiation exposure on IAEA press site. www.iaea.org
    comment by gelaine edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:41
    Here's a link to an interactive map by prefecture for current levels of radiation www.targetmap.com
    comment by maxmatic at 6:35
    i677.photobucket.com On 3/15 before Japan's government took down Ibarakai's monitoring station it read 3448nGy/h. It is currently offline: www.bousai.ne.jp (pink).
    comment by JoeyMac via I677.photobucket at 6:35
    A family member well versed in the elements states that the Japanese workers on the site are no less than heroes. Knowing full well the dangers before them yet they are fighting this battle with great determination and fortitude.
    comment by John at 6:35
    www.reuters.com -- Australians urged to leave Japan
    comment by Lee Mackie edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:34
    White House says Kan briefed Obama on efforts to contain Japan's nuclear emergency, bring situation under control
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 6:31
    Japan won't need G7 FX move, govt share buying: Yosano www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 6:30
    White House says Obama told Japan's Kan in phone call U.S. determined to do all possible to support Japan after quake
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 6:29
    @Hugo..Good to see many people are still staying put around tokyo. Gives me more courage to do so.
    comment by Akki at 6:27
    Japan nuclear operator: As of Wednesday, spent-fuel pool at no.4 reactor still had water in it
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:26
    search.japantimes.co.jp -- US has not advised to evacuate 80,000 citizens, but to evacuate 80KM or more from Fukushima.
    comment by Lee Mackie at 6:25
    In Ichikawa-shi (Chiba side of Tokyo) the supermarket has begun tossing out all milk and meat products. Candies are cookies are on sale as well. Don Quixote is not as stocked as it was and does not know when more items will arrive. 100 Yen shop is also baren.
    comment by Hugo at 6:25
    Japan takes desperate steps to cool reactors www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:22
    Mizuho says ATMs working again across Japan www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:19
    In Tokyo our supermarket now has bread and milk, but limited supplies to one of each item per person. Meat and vegetables are returning.
    comment by simon_in_japan at 6:18
    French Electric company EDF proposed to send their nuclear emergency robots to japan, this is not known either they have accepted it or not link here www.atlantico.fr (in french)
    comment by FBC at 6:18
    A stuffed toy is seen amidst rubble at an area hit by earthquake and tsunami in Kesennuma, north of Japan, March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
    by jashong.king at 6:16
    The radiation monitoring stations in Japan are all located here: www.bousai.ne.jp The ones in pink are located closest to the power plant and are "under review" and not being shown.
    comment by JoeyMac at 6:11
    @Brandon Bertelsen The US is advising US residents to evacuate to at least 50 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. news.xinhuanet.com
    comment by watcherofNHK at 6:11
    Latest from US State Dept.... japan.usembassy.gov
    comment by speedbal at 6:11
    @GrizzlyB The storage pools are not in the secondary containment zone. In unit 3 the roof is mostly gone, so yes, the pool is exposed. In unit 4 the roof is partically gone which is why they want to use water cannons to shoot through the large hole in the side wall.
    comment by Jim at 6:10
    @realBillBrown The Japanese often wear surgical masks. The biggest reason is usually to prevent spread of illness. Usually someone with a cold will wear one to prevent others from getting sick (very polite!) I'd say the next biggest reason is allergies to pollen. Finally some where it to protect from sickness or from dry air. In my experience, foreigners in Japan will wear them to help with allergies.
    comment by PanageMan at 6:10
    The radiation monitoring stations arehttp://www.bousai.ne.jp/eng/index.html
    comment by JoeyMac at 6:10
    Can anyone confirm that the rods are fully exposed to the sky to receive the water being sprayed and dumped on them?
    comment by GrizzlyB at 6:08
    Can anyone confirm is US issued evacuation order?
    comment by Brandon Bertelsen at 6:07
    @TheDude. I cant agree. Everything has been so sequential. Airdrops and water cannons NOW? Why not days ago? Next it'll be boats; why the wait? Etc etc etc. Plenty of experts spelled out how this would evolve on Friday. We're watching a government paralysis, and a company tjats way out of its depth.
    comment by snaff at 6:07
    Let's send love, compassion and aid instead of fear.
    comment by Gayle at 6:07
    People wear surgical masks all over asia. Air quality is poor. I do not think it is specifically due to the current nuclear conditions.
    comment by bubba at 6:07
    @realBillBrown two reasons why they are wearing surgical masks. One it's currently flu season in Japan, so many where already wearing them. Two, to keep radioactive elements from being breathed in.
    comment by Larry Bateman at 6:06
    @realBillBrown it isn't uncommon to see people walking around with these masks on an ordinary day. It's for pollution/dust/etc.
    comment by JakeMelb at 6:06
    The point of dumping water on the plant is that the containment buildings must be cooled or else they will fail. As the radiation levels are far too high - based on US assessments, which appear to have established using Japanese data, according to the press conferences now going on, then the only way to cool the building is to try air drops: If they are missing, its simply to do with the fear of the levels of radiation and the extreme that the crew are placing themselves - the US regulator commented on this today - we are at the stage of now asking people to make self sacrifice. If they don't cool the material, things wont get any better, it will just come back to asking more people.
    comment by ronny at 6:06
    As we know choppers resumed water drops on the plant today. Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa approved the operation as the radiation level was 4.13 millisievert per hour at an altitude of 1,000 feet, Kyodo reports.
    comment by GrizzlyB at 6:04
    When will the government of Japan ensure that more competent engineers take over ?
    comment by Lewis C at 6:04
    In response to a comment below, considering how massive this disaster has been, I feel the Japanese have done the best they can. There are many other disasters that have occurred where the response has been far worse and taken far longer. Whilst the nuclear issues are serious, I feel strongly that the media has played a big part in causing unnecessary panic.
    comment by TheDude at 6:04
    Sorry for the ignorant question, but as typified in the Jashong King photo @10:59PM, why have so many Japanese worn cheap surgical masks -- is it still fear of SARS, because it's long-predated the Tsunami & unfolding nuclear issues. Even in that photo, one guy is wearing a mask while at least six others (some in official administrative capacity) do not ... is it just a collective fear among a minority of population to airborne illnesses? Thank you (and thanks to Reuters for continuing fantastic coverage).
    comment by realBillBrown at 6:03
    Mizuho says ATMs working again across Japan
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 6:03
    @Tokyoj I'm part of a group of about 40 people in Gunma looking to head up north and volunteer. So far all we're being told is wait and that we'll be informed when it's safe to go.
    comment by kenwpro at 6:02
    @Dryhtscipe they're aiming for the spent fuel pools, which don't have containment and can be reached by the water.
    comment by jenny at 6:01
    @Dryhtscipe Also, the water dumping suggests the rods and pools are entirely exposed to receive the water which is something we have not been made aware of thus far. That is very concerning.
    comment by GrizzlyB at 6:01
    @2011 actually Fox News, CNN, CBC, etc have been doing stories about just that (on tv)
    comment by X400 at 6:01
    A passenger from Japan passes through a scanner to check radiation levels at Incheon international airport, west of Seoul March 17, 2011. Radiation has been released into the atmosphere in Japan at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. on the country's northeast coast, which was badly damaged after a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11. REUTERS/Truth Leem
    by jashong.king at 5:59
    Is the US now evacuating its citizens in Tokyo and other affected areas?
    comment by Jonathan at 5:59
    @LucidOS That is not true. It was at that level for a short time yesterday. Live Gieger counter reading show perfectly normal readings in Tokyo now.
    comment by TomB at 5:59
    I live in Tokyo and am healthy and willing to travel north to help Japanese people who need help. Is there some way to do that? Just loading my car with food and driving north does not seem like it would be effective. Please let me know if it is possible to lend a hand!
    comment by Tokyoj at 5:59
    Given that marine firefighting tugs have water-cannon over 100 times as powerful as that on any police riot truck, it seems pathetic that they are not already stationed inshore, with their water cannons sited onshore, linked to the tugs by HP hoses.
    comment by Lewis C at 5:58
    Updated casualty figures for the quake just in: 5,178 people dead and 8,606 missing, AFP quote police as saying.
    comment by GrizzlyB at 5:58
    Philippines Will Send Search and Rescue Team to Japan
    comment by strongphil at 5:58
    What exactly is the point of this dumping of water from helicopters? The quantity of water isn't enough to do anything meaningful, and the Japanese claim that containment hasn't been lost - so the water isn't actually reaching anything it needs to cool. Why are they wasting effort?
    comment by Dryhtscipe at 5:58
    @ Reuters - The Daily Yomiuri tweets "According to govt estimates, of 1.76 million meals shipped to disaster-hit areas, 1.29 million had NOT reached shelters as of yesterday." twitter.com Does Reuters have any reports on this?
    comment by km at 5:58
    Weather just announced wind will blow South (Toyko) Saturday
    comment by LucidOS at 5:57
    Japanese Defence Minister Toshimi Kitawaza stated in a recent press conference that criteria for water cooling operation were satisfactory and operation was going according to plan. Further equipment is being transported to the area and will be employed in a later phase. The objectives are to install alternative cooling systems and to restore the functionality of the original cooling facilities. [NHK]
    comment by Pedro Jesus edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 5:57
    Toyko is already at 20 times the normal radiation. If the winds blow south as the NHK announced this will be grave for Tokyo.
    comment by LucidOS at 5:57
    Alot of people are talking about what's happening, but I don't hear enough about what is not happening. There's no pushing, shoving, and looting. Compare that to other disasters and relief efforts seen elsewhere.
    comment by 2011 at 5:57
    Only 3 of the 4 helicopters met their mark they are hoping the missiles do better
    comment by LucidOS at 5:57
    @Eric M, here's link to JMA precipitation forecast/cloud cover almost directly over Fukushima, indicating 1mm/h possibility. It's for the 1100 to 1200 JST period. www.jma.go.jp
    comment by Albert C. Lee via Jma.go.jp at 5:57
    Japan crisis revives U.S. nuclear debate www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 5:55
    Global fears mount as Japan takes desperate steps to cool nuclear reactors www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 5:54
    Tokyo blames yen spike on speculators, G7 to discuss crisis www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 5:54
    Here's a look at the main developments after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeast Japan and crippled a nuclear power station, raising the risk of uncontrolled radiation. www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 5:53
    Obama tells Japan PM wants to give full support including for mid, long-term reconstruction - Jiji
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 5:32
    A man carries his belongings at an area devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in Kesennuma, north of Japan March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
    by jashong.king at 5:23
    @SocEntNet Thanks, very interesting
    by Eric Martyn at 5:12
    Impact of Japan earthquake on sport www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 5:12
    @Eric Martyn see "Conflicting accounts of the radiation levels emerged in Tokyo and on Capitol Hill." www.usatoday.com
    comment by SocEntNet edited by Eric Martyn at 5:11
    Foreign player exodus as Japan battles nuclear crisis www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 5:10
    Nikkei 225 off lows down 2,00% according to Nikkei e.nikkei.com
    comment by Volodymyr Danishevskiy at 5:01
    Germany’s Rapid Deployment Unit Urban Search and Rescue team arrives at Misawa Air Base in this U.S. Air Force handout photo dated March 16, 2011. REUTERS/US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Russell J. McBride/Handout
    by jashong.king at 5:01
    @Alexander We will look for some now
    by Eric Martyn at 5:01
    Plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel rods are placed in a storage pool at the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan, in this picture taken August 21, 2010. Operators of the earthquake-crippled nuclear plant in Japan again deployed military helicopters on March 17, 2011, in a bid to douse overheating reactors, as U.S. officials warned of the rising risk of a catastrophic radiation leak from spent fuel rods. REUTERS/Kyodo
    by jashong.king at 4:59
    0150 : Helicopters are rotating in their mission to dump water on Reactor 3, gathering seawater from close to the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Four water drops are so far thought to have taken place but targeting of the spray is proving difficult, NHK reports.
    comment by Jan at 4:55
    Any pictures other than heroic USA troops saving Japan? Are there not teams from other countries as well?
    comment by Alexander at 4:53
    I'm waiting patiently to find out what's going to happen next with the nuclear reactors, but it feels like no one is really sure what to expect. How come the Japanese news, or government, is not able to find out whats happening?
    comment by Nick Monroe at 4:53
    i have read that it was impossible before to get through because of blocked streets
    comment by L_I_S at 4:46
    according to NHK, which added that 11 water-bearing trucks were also on the way to the site to pump water into the reactor, why did they wait till now.
    comment by ron4498 at 4:41
    @REUTERS He must be kidding
    comment by Volodymyr Danishevskiy at 4:36
    on NHK: press conference from japanese nuclear agency- they want to restore power but after that they have to bring in new pumps because the old ones are damaged by seawater
    comment by Karlos at 4:36
    Japan Economic Minister Yosano says foreign exchange and stock markets have stabilized
    by Eric Martyn at 4:35
    Here's a factbox of the Japan disaster in figures www.reuters.com
    by Eric Martyn at 4:28
    I am a mechanical engineer and have been in the nuclear field for many years. From my viewpoint there is no much I would change from Japans reaction to the disaster. They are in "high tactical" mode and dealing with issues as they arise. Running power to the plant is a good idea as it opens more options. They are basically playing "whack a mole" but good to see more planning they are keeping contingencies open.
    comment by John at 4:25
    PHOTO: Helicopter dumps water over the No. 3 unit of #Fukushima Dai-ichi N-plant (NHK-TV) yfrog.com
    comment by watcherofNHK via Yfrog at 4:24
    The CH-47 helicopters used by the Japan self defense forces to drop water (as seen in the NHK footage): en.wikipedia.org
    comment by ComputerScientist edited by Eric Martyn at 4:05
    Members of the 320th Special Tactics Squadron exit a MC-130P Combat Shadow on their way to Sendai airport, at Yokota Air Base, in this U.S. military handout photo dated March 16, 2011. The squadron has been deployed to Sendai airport to help clear the runway and make it ready for fixed-wing aircraft traffic following the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse/Handout
    by jashong.king at 4:05
    Link to english version of NHK TV showing helicopter spraying. www.ustream.tv
    comment by me at 4:03
    US govt deploys more radiation monitors in western USA - news.yahoo.com
    comment by David edited by Eric Martyn at 4:01
    each helicopter is able to carry 7.5t of water says NHK
    comment by Pokas at 3:59
    first spray from chopper just happened on 3
    comment by tm at 3:53
    @Futuregrace: I'm no expert. But the Reuters story says the operators "hope to run an electricity cable to the site on Thursday that could help pump water needed to cool reactors and spent fuel rods that have been overheating."
    by james.ledbetter at 3:50
    Nuclear agency says getting water to reactor No. 3 is curent priority because of smoke/seam escaping
    by Eric Martyn at 3:49
    The white smoke from reactor No. 3 could be steam evaporating from spent-fuel pool says the Japan nuclear agency
    by Eric Martyn at 3:46
    They are starting to spray now
    comment by LucidOS at 3:46
    to get the pumps working again (AC power). these were knocked out by the tsunami.
    comment by ryuunosuke at 3:46
    @Futuregrace the reason would be so they would have power at the plant to run equipment for cooling efforts.
    comment by Jason at 3:45
    Even though this won't be posted, again I will ask why in regards to running electric cable to plant. Seems like a HUGE waste of time, from my uninformed mind. Maybe one of the informed types can enlighten us what this would possibly do. The infrastructure of these bldgs and whatever is inside them looks, um, rather ruined.
    comment by Futuregrace at 3:38
    @Spleen: UK govt now saying British citizens should consider leaving Tokyo and anywhere North of it.
    comment by SCUK at 3:38
    Japan nuclear agency says radioactivity levels continue to decline at Fukushima nuclear plant
    by Eric Martyn at 3:38
    @spleen The US government is asking citizens in an 80km radius to evacuate.
    comment by Danny at 3:35
    The Japan nuclear agency says they are planning to run electricity cable to crippled nuclear plant
    by Eric Martyn at 3:34
    come on japan you can do it
    comment by Damien Anslik at 3:32
    @Sarah There is no Cloud, but here is a real time map that is giving up to date information about where they are tracking the radiation levels. www.targetmap.com
    comment by KarE edited by Eric Martyn at 3:32
    Any word from the U.S. Embassy? And has the British Embassy changed its position and is noe recommending Brits to leave?
    comment by spleen at 3:31
    The water canons have arrived at Fukushima! NHK reports just now
    comment by Pokas at 3:31
    Angry public demands more info Japan Times reports search.japantimes.co.jp
    comment by Volodymyr Danishevskiy edited by Eric Martyn at 3:30
    @Sarah There is no radioactive cloud, so there is no map. Elevated radiation is currently only in the immediate vicinity of the power plant.
    comment by kuroneko at 3:26
    @Gregory - that would be in nano Gray's per hour. You would have to convert that to say, Sieverts if you're comfortable understanding those. If you have no feel for any of that, let me know and I will provide a link to some info for you.
    comment by OregonOgre at 3:26
    @Gregory Starr : nGy/hr stand for nano-Grey per hour. The measured quantities are a little bit different, but as a rule of thumb, you can convert 1Gy=1Sv (Sievert). The data on Bousai.ne.jp is therefore equivalent to nano-Sieverts per hour (0.001 microSv/hr)
    comment by TomB at 3:26
    Wind Projections: www.stormsurf.com
    comment by Vallejoan at 3:26
    @Gregory Starr see this site for info. users.rcn.com
    comment by dealing at 3:25
    @Gregory Starr Gregory, you can convert units here: online.unitconverterpro.com
    comment by JBID at 3:25
    To all the French people in Japan, the French embassy is organizing evacuating from Osaka tomorrow morning. Go to check the exact flight time on the French embassy website later today.
    comment by MD at 3:24
    Here is current picture of plant. Bizarre (and scary)- no steam www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by David at 3:24
    Hello everybody, we are also evacuating today! Thank you for this information stream! We felt less lonely! Thank you to the Reuters team. And good luck to all who stays!
    comment by MD at 3:24
    Tokyo Electric says it is getting ready to inject water into reactor No.3 at Fukushima Daiichi
    by Eric Martyn at 3:24
    U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Steven Nizbet, 320th Special Tactics Squadron, looks for trapped survivors at Sendai airport in this U.S. military handout photo dated March 16, 2011. The squadron deployed to the airport to help clear the runway and make it ready for fixed-wing aircraft traffic following the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse/Handout
    by jashong.king at 3:23
    @Tokyotony Where are you now? In the 20-30km zone?
    comment by Andres Ci at 3:21
    Is there a live map (an internet site somewhere) of the path of the radioactive cloud traveling across the Pacific so that we can see when it will be hitting the western US?
    comment by Sarah at 3:21
    @Brian, Given the conditions those workers have been operating in, and with heightening radiation, have those workers jeopardized their lives thus far?
    comment by Dave at 3:20
    I'm in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo. The Ministry of Education's Nuclear Safety Division for this prefecture www.bousai.ne.jp releases their data as "nGy/h". Can someone advise what this means.
    comment by Gregory Starr edited by Eric Martyn at 3:19
    Nikkei futures traded on the Osaka Securities Exchange opened down 6.3 percent
    by Stephanie Ditta at 3:14
    Stay safe Tokyotony
    by Stephanie Ditta at 3:13
    Depending on today's development me and my family will start preparing for an evacuation. God speed
    comment by Tokyotony at 3:13
    the coverage is so though and kudos to the photographer who shot the rescuers against the devastation in the orange uniforms walking in the snow, its all over - le figaro, it looks like the gates in central park... thank you.
    comment by elise at 3:13
    Stocks taking a beating, Sony down 4.2%, Toyota down 5.1%
    by Stephanie Ditta at 3:12
    Nikkei is plunging, down 4.37%
    by Stephanie Ditta at 3:10
    Thanks Reuters, without the live updates life would be far more difficult here near Tokyo. I'm in country side of Tokyo, grocery shops aren't as empty as are those in city, people seem to be more relaxed but there is a quiet tension that can be felt everywhere.
    comment by Tokyotony at 3:09
    @Brian, as a nuclear plant worker can you give us any insight as to what these workers are dealing with?
    comment by Jason at 3:09
    again, here is a still from that footage on NHK: i.imgur.com
    comment by robato via I.imgur at 3:08
    I'm totally impressed by the decorum one sees everywhere, even in the places most harshly hit. Elderly first, everybody helps, domo arigato. What a shining example of how to treat your fellow being!
    comment by alreaud at 3:08
    Thanks Brian, we are feeding our watchers all the news as soon as we receive it, and appreciate your feedback.
    by Stephanie Ditta at 3:08
    Reuters and especially this site are the only site that is giving the facts and not just opinions. As a 25+ year nuclear power plant worker, I can understand what is going on and I feel for all the workers who are trying to save the plant and possibly a large portion of their country.
    comment by Brian at 3:07
    Only new info I have seen was an NKH video a few minutes ago that was shot around one hour ago (7AM, Thursday) that still shows white smoke or steam coming from units 2,3, and 4. Water cannon attempt had not yet started at that point.
    comment by Jim at 3:06
    Jim - We will hopefully have some updates soon, stay tuned and thanks for your question
    by Stephanie Ditta at 3:04
    Any reports on how the workers are making out running the cables? Those workers are nothing short of hero's. Best of luck to them. Media keeps focusing on negatives.
    comment by jim at 3:04
    Your welcome Jeff, please stay tuned for any further developments
    by Stephanie Ditta at 3:03
    Thanks Stephanie. Reuters is really fantastic, keep up the good works.
    comment by Jeff at 3:02
    Nearly a week after their home town was annihilated in a catastrophic tsunami, the 1,000-plus survivors of the small Japanese fishing town of Otsuchi are hanging by a thread. With no water or electricity, and scant food, survivors keep each other company at one of three emergency shelters on the outskirts of what remains of the town. www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta at 3:02
    @39ft/s, for the rest of us, that's about 27 mph, or a nice steady wind
    comment by windy at 3:01
    None that we're aware of Jeff
    by Stephanie Ditta at 3:01
    Have there been any confirmed reports of people with radiation sickness/exposure to dangerous levels of radiation?
    comment by Jeff at 3:00
    wind near the plant, which is on the coast, will blow as fast as 12 meters (39 ft) per second ...that's 23knots, 27mph or 43kph...i.e. pretty brisk
    comment by Mark at 3:00
    Wind near Japan's quake-hit plant to blow towards Pacific www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta at 2:57
    I really appreciate Reuters' coverage of this tragedy. At this time we need cold hard facts, not sensationalist reports, as some other agencies and news outlets seem keen on providing.
    comment by Cat at 2:56
    In Japan, five nuclear plant workers have been killed since the earthquake struck. Another 22 have been injured, and one is missing. www.cbc.ca
    comment by GraceVanIsle at 2:55
    The wind near the plant, which is on the coast, will blow as fast as 12 meters (39 ft) per second
    by Stephanie Ditta at 2:50
    Just received some weather details - wind near the nuclear plant is forecast to blow from the northwest on Thursday, moving towards the Pacific Ocean, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency
    by Stephanie Ditta at 2:46
    The destruction in Wakuya, Miyagi Prefecture is seen from an aerial view, in this U.S. Navy handout photo dated March 15, 2011. REUTERS/US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 2:36
    For all those inquiring about the Tokyo Stock Exchange, they say it is business as usual for Thursday
    by Stephanie Ditta at 2:33

    by Corinne Perkins at 2:28
    A boat sits among debris in Wakuya, Miyagi Prefecture, in this U.S. Navy handout photo dated March 15, 2011. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 2:27
    G7 nations will hold a discussion on Thursday to try to figure out how to calm financial markets due to the crisis in Japan www.reuters.com
    by Shadia Ismail at 2:21
    IAEA releses information on facebook www.facebook.com
    by vindolin edited by Corinne Perkins at 2:06
    An analysis by Reuters Environment Correspondent, Alister Doyle: Worst case nuclear cloud seen limited to Japan www.reuters.com
    by Shadia Ismail at 1:55
    Thanks all, the link should work now.
    by Corinne Perkins at 1:53
    Reports that radiation levels detected at TEPCO Fukushima plant have fallen steadily over the past 12hours www.reuters.com
    by Shadia Ismail edited by Shadia Ismail at 1:52
    I am 50 kilometers north of Tokyo, and would like to write in praise of the reaction of everyone here in these stressful times. Though life is made inconvenient by blackouts, no train service (mainly closed down due to the power shortage), and a rush to buy perishable items and emergency supplies, life goes on with some good cheer and even nobility. Please do NOT trust any report of Japense "panicking". I went for a walk yesterday during the blackout, and men worked on their cars or gardens outside, grandmothers played with grandchildren, kids played in the park. Police directed traffic at traffic stops. I have not heard a single person complain about the situation.
    comment by Robert Self at 1:18
    High resolution satellite images here - www.digitalglobe.com
    comment by jomo at 1:18
    The Swedish Dept. Of Radiation Securiy is now advising Swedish citizens not to go to Japan at all unless necessary. www.krisinformation.se
    Swedish Foreign Department is likely to make that advice a public guideline
    comment by Christopher at 1:14
    Ok, we have some news from the Japan Nuclear Agency that the radiation level has steadily decreased over the last 12 hours at Fukushima Daiichi
    by Stephanie Ditta at 1:09
    Very well stated, Ellory; thank you for that!
    comment by BillK at 1:07
    a stronger yen means greater buying power for the Japanese -- in the near term that should help them procure necessities and aid reconstruction. yes, there may be market and export worries, but those seem secondary at the moment. correct?
    comment by loggedin at 1:06
    To everyone reading these comments. Emotions are certainly running high. The subject of Japan's economy has a profound impact on the recovery and aid of the people there. The compassion of the people on this forum worried about those suffering is admirable. And understandable if your desires to help makes you dismiss the question of how the Yen is doing next to the dollar. However, please take a page from the japanese play book and remain introspective on the deeper impact of all the information available. We have the ability to play multiple fronts here as information flows. Let's take full advantage of it.
    comment by Ellory at 1:03
    Japan economy will pick up once the nuke is under control. Business is very slow right now in Tokyo because of the uncertanity. Otherwise, Tokyo is almost intact, and manageable. We will be recovering very quickly.
    comment by Miki Uetsuki at 1:03
    The live TEPCO webcam shows again a new image of the Fukushima power plant www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by stef at 0:58
    Thanks for all the insight and comments - here's our report on the Yen surge www.reuters.com
    by Stephanie Ditta at 0:56
    I appreciate this discussion very much. As far as news from the Government, note that it's early morning in Japan.
    comment by guyco at 0:54
    I somewhat agree but market crashes could result in human suffering elsewhere in the world. It's a valid discussion.
    comment by jomo at 0:51
    btw are there any updates on the state of the reactors...i haven't seen anything from the government in the last few hours?
    comment by anna at 0:51
    what would need to be done to strengthen the exchange rate?
    comment by aaaa at 0:51
    Finances are a human problem. People so easily separate themselves from the consequences of finances (US government) but when teh system starts to crack, it will affect .. everything.
    comment by Brent at 0:50
    Humbled- human problems and financial problem are very much interrelated. I think we are all waiting for new developments
    comment by trying at 0:50
    @Humbled Yes it is topic right now because everyone has familys to feed and if it impacts the us dollar and causes people already having a hard time getting buy it makes it that much harder so yes it is it affects peoples lives and it relates because it is being caused by the tsunami disaster
    comment by alan gestov at 0:50
    @Humbled: Financial consequences ARE a human problem, especially in a disaster zone. Prices of food, water, medical supplies, etc. will be affected.
    comment by Jesse Clark at 0:50
    @Humbled I agree that human needs are of upmost importance, but a stronger yen will allow Japan to buy needed building supplies, food, and oil/gas to replace lost nuclear generation. The exchange rate will affect the humanitarian effort more than we would like to think.
    comment by Jim at 0:50
    Sorry, but are financial consequences really a topic NOW? Maybe later when worst things settled, but noa at this time (my personal opinion). Let's focus on the human problems and handling of these first.
    comment by Humbled at 0:47
    @ nighthood....to answer both your question...in Japan yes.. In the US it could trigger a selloff in the US Treasury market i.e. rising yields and therefore impact the economy
    comment by vineet at 0:46
    @Nighthood - Japan's economy has very small amounts of growth to begin with. They were expected to have positive GDP growth this quarter, but this will likely change that. I would say its reasonable to expect 2 quarters of negative growth in Japan, which is the definition of a recession, so yes. A recession in Japan is likely
    comment by brendanharper9 at 0:46
    @Novus Spot on. Changes in exchange rates are largely a reflection of the differences in real interest rates (interest rate minus inflation). Since the Japanese now have to rebuild, they are willing to pay a higher real interest rate than Americans or Europeans.
    comment by Jim at 0:44
    Forgive me if I'm being ignorant here, but could this lead to another global recession? If not that, could it lead to a recession/depression in Japan?
    comment by Nighthood at 0:42
    The Yen is strengthening short term as Japanese insurers and government repatriate funds in order to pay out insurance policies and rebuild the country, this creates demand for Yen. However longer term this will lead to a depreciation in the Yen as the domestic output of Japan decreases meaning less foreigner companies and governments purchasing Yen in order to settle purchases from Japanese suppliers.
    comment by Tim Roff at 0:42
    Novus, Yes correct.
    comment by Justin Oliver McCarthy at 0:42
    this is terrible for people in japan who live with a USD-based income source, such as my friend. while they made it out lucky, the higher cost of living will not rest well on their head.
    comment by aaaa at 0:41
    Okay, I think I've got it then... Japanese currency investors are selling off American dollars and Euros so that they can buy Japanese Yen, since they'll need Yen to invest in rebuilding Japan. Selling off lots of dollars and Euros drives down their value, while buying up lots of Yen increases their value. Supply and demand. Do I have that correct?
    comment by Novus at 0:41
    @NerdyBaldGuy: the situation is really devasting and our thought are with the people of Japan. however, the economic consequences would create more struggles to rebuild the country, which already has a debt as high as 200% of GDP. so i think it's a valid discussion
    comment by anna at 0:40
    Bald guy - I somewhat agree but market crashes could result in human suffering elsewhere in the world. It's a valid discussion.
    comment by Max at 0:38
    NerdyBaldGuy, it's not crass at all, considering that the currency fluctuations will affect the price of food, water, and other supplies that the quake and tsunami victims will need. It's actually a very important discussion right now.
    comment by Novus at 0:38


    ===

    For those geologists out there, could all the activity lately with the Pacific Ring of Fire and the recent changes at Kilauea be related to this earthquake?
    comment by rockerr at 10:40
    ReplyRead our story on how the quake survivors are coping uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:39
    The first readings from American data-collection flights over the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan show that the worst contamination has not spread beyond the 19-mile range of highest concern established by Japanese authorities. www.nytimes.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 10:37
    General Electric has sent nuclear engineers to a Japanese emergency response centre where they are working with Tokyo Electric Power Co to prevent a meltdown at the stricken nuclear power plant, a company spokesman told the Wall Street Journal. GE designs nuclear reactors, including all six at the Fukushima Daiichi plant uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes edited by linda.noakes at 10:34
    A Chinese traveller who just returned from Japan, gets checked for radiation exposure at a hospital in Beijing March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer
    by linda.noakes at 10:31
    @TomB & Geod: Thanks. Once again I am impressed by the foresight and pragmatism of the Japanese. Respect!
    comment by Curious at 10:25
    @jay: The situation in that article you posted is incomparable to Japan's. That article is referring to a large scale meltdown with reactors running at fullpower at the time. However in Japan's case, the reactors safely stopped and entered cooldown mode at the time of the quake, the problem is the cooling system later lost power.
    comment by Cary Phillips at 10:25
    Read a round-up of the latest developments uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:23
    @linda.noakes It seems as though the IAEA has sidelined themselves on the whole situation.
    comment by Marlo at 10:20
    @Curious : also, it's hay fever season (rather "kafunsho" season, a local variant). As many as 40% of Japanese people have it, making it necessary for them to protect themselves when going outside.
    comment by TomB at 10:19
    Here's a slideshow of the reactor crisis day-by-day uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:18
    @Curious Its a common practice in asia, people that have a cold wear a mask to stop their germs from spreading.
    comment by Geod at 10:17
    The crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is a "grave and serious", Yukiya Amano, head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, says. Amano returned to his native Japan and says he will not visit the plant, only going in its general direction, owing to radiation.

    by linda.noakes at 10:16
    This is a useful schematic to compare to the photo of reactor 4. www.beyondnuclear.org
    comment by Giles edited by linda.noakes at 10:16
    Japan Defence Minister Kitazawa says fire trucks to spray water over reactor No. 3 Friday afternoon
    by Eric Martyn at 5:04
    Timeline: Japan earthquake crisis www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West edited by Aviva West at 23:05
    International relief mobilizes for Japan victims www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 23:05
    @Ryemz - France and Russia are talking about building underwater nuclear reactors, although much smaller than those at Fukushima: www.wired.co.uk
    comment by PeterC at 23:03
    Does anyone know if the people in the evacuation centres have food? Or water? Or diapers? I'm so worried about them!
    comment by Agnes at 22:59
    An aerial view taken from a helicopter from Japan's Self-Defence Force shows damage sustained to the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex in this handout taken March 16, 2011 and released March 17, 2011. Reactors No. 1 to 4 are seen from R to L. REUTERS/Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO)/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 22:57
    @Peter of Lone Tree Thorium reactors do not produce nearly the same amount of actinides above uranium, so they are not as toxic. Thorium also is less proliferative from a weapons stand point. They do not breed plutonium, or at least, they do not breed in as much. Thorium oxide also has an extremely high melting point, but cladding (which encases fuel) is still limited to the same temperature ranges.
    comment by Nuclear Core Design Engineer at 22:56
    An aerial view taken from a helicopter from Japan's Self-Defence Force shows damage sustained to the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex in this handout taken March 16, 2011 and released March 17, 2011. Reactors No. 1 to 4 are seen from R to L. REUTERS/Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO)/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 22:56
    @engineer, do you think the brownish tone of the steam coming from reactor 4 is of any significance?
    comment by superbanana at 22:55
    @Ryemz I may have mis-understood you question, you didn't mean operate them under water. If one could ensure that operating these below sea level would not endanger or increase the risk of operation of a reactor/containment during normal operation, then it could very well be a possibility.
    comment by Nuclear Core Design Engineer at 22:55
    Background on the Global Hawk UAV that was supposed to do the flyovers. Nominal payload is high resolution radar, plus daylight and IR cameras (to see heat sources). Radiation monitor not a standard package. spectrum.ieee.org
    comment by Markfm edited by Aviva West at 22:54
    What about thorium reactors? I hear they're much safer.
    comment by Peter of Lone Tree at 22:53
    @Ryemz No. Salt water is highly corrosive. Reactors are very complicated and require a lot of instrumentation and piping that could not withstand a corrosive environment. Plus, how would you perform normal re-fueling activities underwater without contaminating anything?
    comment by Nuclear Core Design Engineer at 22:50
    Would there be any benefit to building reactors below sea level so that they may easily be flooded in the event of a catastrophe?
    comment by Ryemz at 22:47
    @Cindar There are a few radioisotopes that become airborne, in particular, Cs-137. These produce high energy gamma rays, which are easily detectable. These elements are easily identified on special radiation measurement equipment that can identify the "radio fingerprint: of each of these isotopes. By "trace" amounts being detected around the world, these highly sensitive detectors will see an increased reading of the "radio fingerprints." Is this bad? Not really. For instance, if you eat a banana, Potassium-40 "radio fingerprints" (yes, bananas are quite radioactive) will show up.
    comment by Nuclear Core Design Engineer at 22:45
    Obama declined to take any questions
    comment by John at 22:43
    Obama says he is confident that Japan will recover and rebuild, and that in the coming days the U.S. will do everything it can to secure U.S. sources of energy and protect Americans
    by Aviva West at 22:43
    Trace amounts of radiation means nothing. It basically means that some measurable readings could be made using sensitive equiptment, which is true at all times.
    comment by At Cindar at 22:41
    My admiration for the Japanese people has greatly increased since this tragedy. After our recent Christchurch earthquake our people handled it very well, but the Japanese spirit is a real inspiration. I'm also very pleased New Zealand adopted a Nuclear Free policy in 1984!
    comment by Kiwi Doug at 22:41
    Obama says U.S. nuclear plants are safe, and the U.S. has the responsibility to learn from the events in Japan.
    by Aviva West at 22:40
    Obama says he does not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the U.S. or its territories. He adds that nuclear power is an important part of the U.S. energy future.
    by Aviva West at 22:39
    Obama says that beyond the 50 mile radius of the nuclear plant, the risks do not call for an evacuation. Obama urges all U.S. citizens in Japan to follow the guidance of U.S. and Japanese governments
    by Aviva West at 22:38
    Obama says the U.S. is bringing all resources to monitor situation in Japan and to help U.S. citizens there. Adds that damage to the nuclear plants poses a risk to people nearby
    by Aviva West at 22:37
    Obama says U.S. is heartbroken, deeply concerned about the situation in Japan
    by Aviva West at 22:36
    An aerial view taken from a helicopter from Japan's Self-Defence Force shows damage sustained at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex in this handout taken March 16, 2011 and released March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO)/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 22:33
    I have read that trace amounts of radiation will be present across the globe. What does "trace" exactly mean and what will it mean to be exposed for extended amounts of time to this trace amount?
    comment by Cindar at 22:33
    Japan's nuclear situation reasonably stable: IAEA www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 22:32
    More on Obama's visit to the Japanese embassy www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 22:31
    @Nuclear Core Design Engineer, Thankyou. A simple description from a sane voice goes a long way.
    comment by chloe B at 22:30
    How long will water vapor be released from hot waste pools and reactor rods? Is this not adding to the airborne releases of radionuclides? I see the adding of water as the lesser or two evils. But does bring concern of cumulative risk based upon the fact of MOX fuel exists. Based on this US EPA website Commonly Encountered Radionuclides and U.S. NRC website Common Asked Questions on MOX I'd say there is some real risk at hand both short term and longterm. www.epa.gov www.nrc.gov
    comment by J. Stephen Hartsfield at 22:29
    Live White House feed for Obama's statement on Japan www.whitehouse.gov
    by Aviva West at 22:27
    Due to the lack of information, it is too difficult to say what will happen. I would hate to speculate on worst case scenarios. I do think, and hope, that all the hype in the media paired with a vast "unknown" of the nuclear field makes the situation sound much worse (although it is still very serious and bad, don't misunderstand my comments). I work with over 100 nuclear engineers, and we're all debating what has been done, what will happen as a result, and what should have been done. Go to NEI.org for a simple explanation of reactor statuses. It appears that the reactors themselves are under control, with cooling systems slowly being returned.
    comment by Nuclear Core Design Engineer at 22:25
    Here is a live webcam from Fukushima plant. This is a one picture stop camera so you have to refresh your browser everytime you want a new shot (24/seconds). For now, its night in japan so you can't see nothing, but it can be helpfull for further events. cs2.town.yanaizu.fukushima.jp
    comment by Maxence edited by Aviva West at 22:25
    Live streaming of Obama press conference to begin soon (3:30 ET) www.cnn.com
    comment by gelaine edited by Aviva West at 22:20
    To Nuclear Core Design Engineer, We are being given so many mixed messages, would you be willing to express your opinion as to what is the most likely outcome if attempts to cool the reactors are unsuccsessful?
    comment by chloe B at 22:20
    @J. Stephen Hartsfield: Here's a link to the text of Obama's condolence message hypervocal.com
    by Aviva West at 22:20
    Is there a link to text of Obama's message left @ Embassy????? Thnx. Prayers to all.
    comment by J. Stephen Hartsfield at 22:18
    Shout out to my former professor, John Lee of the University of Michigan!
    The only type of explosion one could see would be a steam related explosion from the build up of pressure in, for example, the reactor pressure vessel. The "nuclear" explosion you might be thinking of would be due to the prompt (instantaneous) super-critical reaction (all the fuel atoms splitting at nearly the same time). This cannot happen due to the poisons (boric acid and control rods) inserted into the reactor core that prevent a return to power. Also, as the temperature of the coolant rises (likely, as there is less coolant), the power decreases because water is an important ingredient to promoting a chain reaction (referred to as neutron moderation, or neutron slowing-down).
    comment by Nuclear Core Design Engineer at 22:18
    TEPCO says that that there is the chance of re-criticality in no 4, yet John Lee, a professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Science, says that it is physically impossible in this sort of system. How is the layman supposed to understand this, when even the nuclear experts can't agree ?
    comment by AndrewL at 22:15
    Japanese living in Brazil hold white chrysanthemums during a ceremony to honour victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, in Sao Paulo March 17, 2011. Sao Paulo has the largest Japanese community living outside Japan. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
    by Aviva West at 22:15
    Japanese expats head home with fear www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 22:13
    Comment to Professor John Lee; if it is physically impossible for a nuclear explosion in this kind of system then please explain the steam rising from the system and at what point does the heating of this system not allow for an explosion?
    comment by Eric Caron at 22:11
    @SOTA It is not possible for the nuclear fuel assemblies in the spent fuel pool to become critical again (critical = sustained chain reaction) or supercritical (super-critical = increase in chain reaction rate, i.e. power increase) without the presence of water. Water plays a key role in promoting nuclear reactions in Light Water Reactors. With the water removed, the neutron radiation is too energetic to interact with the fuel to produce fission. The fuel can, however, overheat due to the radioactive decay heat present in the spent fuel.
    comment by Nuclear Core Design Engineer at 22:11
    Words written by President Barack Obama in a condolence book for Japan's earthquake and tsunami victims, is seen following his visit to Japan's embassy in Washington, March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed


    by Aviva West edited by Aviva West at 22:10
    Low radioactivity seen heading towards North America www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 22:07
    "We could not have a recriticality, or a nuclear explosion. It's physically impossible in this kind of system." said John Lee, a professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences - www.physorg.com
    comment by Maxence edited by Aviva West at 22:06
    @Reuters: The iaea report stating the cable was completed at 08:30 UTC means 17:30 local (Japan) time. This does not square with Reuters' own latest report, TEPCO acknowledging that the work is going slower than hoped, that they have been working throughout the night to lay the cable. Which is correct? Either the cable was all the way to #2 at 17:30, or TEPCO was laying the cable throughout the night.
    comment by Markfm at 22:06
    I believe the hospital ship USNS Comfort is still being used off the coast of Haiti.
    comment by neardc at 22:05
    This picture is indirect proof of water existence in unit 4 reactor. 3:42am blogs.aljazeera.net
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 22:05
    @chrisdostal11 here is at least one report www.fox5sandiego.com
    comment by saboten edited by Aviva West at 22:04
    Japan plays down need for yen action from G7 www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 22:01
    @Sin They're obviously basing that conclusion on the fact that steam is being emitted. No water, no steam. That doesn't mean the rods are completely covered, however, but probably contradicts the US assertion that "no" water is left in the pool.
    comment by jeff at 22:00
    Relief agencies are on the ground. www.samaritanspurse.org and www.convoyofhope.org are just a couple.
    comment by karen89117 edited by Aviva West at 21:59
    U.S. asks Japan for more data on nuclear crisis www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:58
    @fezfatale Please provide a source, this is very alarming news if correct.
    comment by ids at 21:57
    This video, which taken from helicopter released by TEPCO, is this basis for their belief that water remains in #4 reactor. Not sure it's an accurate conclusion. www3.nhk.or.jp
    comment by Sin edited by Aviva West at 21:56
    @ Duke and the Italians have no active reactors in Italy.
    comment by Martin14 at 21:55
    One thing I keep wondering as natural disasters, as well as various conflicts and revolutions, occur around the world, is why haven't we heard that the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are on their way to these regions? The Mercy was a big part in assisting Southeast Asia following the 2004 Tsunami, so where is she now? Also, I keep reading about how many countries and aid organizations are sending blankets - which are important, I know - but why haven't I heard anything about anyone sending emergency food and clean water supplies, aside from a brief blurb about 9 cargo ships loaded with grain sitting in the Pacific waiting for a port of some sort to open up?
    comment by chrisdostal11 at 21:54
    Our latest wrap on Japan's attempts to restore power to its crippled nuclear facilities www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:53
    Some citizens of Chiba Prefecture are now showing physical signs of radiation sickness- according to persons who have returned from the USA and have contacted their Japanese friends.
    comment by fezfatale at 21:52
    @Velouette Agree completely. The nuclear situation has overshadowed the much bigger humanitarian crisis that's unfolding in the tsunami-devastated areas.
    comment by Mentalic at 21:52
    Germany was already against nuclear power, this crisis just exacerbated it.
    comment by Duke-NJ at 21:52
    The crisis in Japan may be turning Germany and Italy against nuclear power www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:50
    @Velouette Here is an article describing how radiation fears are hampering deliveries of crucial resources, especially fuel for vehicles and cremation, to areas near the plant. mdn.mainichi.jp
    comment by briank edited by Aviva West at 21:48
    Latest developments:

    - Engineers work through the night to lay a 1.5 km (one mile) electricity cable to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in the hope of restarting pumps needed to pour cold water on overheating fuel rods.

    - Military helicopters and fire trucks had earlier poured water on the overheating plant.

    - Engineers hope to use power from the main grid to restart water pumps to cool reactor No. 2, which does not house spent fuel rods considered the biggest risk of spewing radioactivity into the atmosphere.

    - A water cannon also douses No. 3 reactor, the top priority for authorities with plutonium fuel inside. Smoke and steam had been escaping from the unit, indicating water evaporating from the cooling pool. Pressure had been rising.

    - United States sends aircraft to fly out nationals from Japan, authorizes voluntary departure of family members of diplomatic staff.

    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:47

    by Corinne Perkins at 21:46
    @Nuclear Core Design Engineer I would like to hear your views ref TEPCO statement today that Reactor No4 "pool water level feared receding, renewed nuclear chain reaction feared." english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by SOTA edited by Aviva West at 21:45
    The WHO issues guidelines on radiation exposure www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:44
    Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that engineers were able to lay an external grid power line cable to unit 2. The operation was completed at 08:30 UTC. www.iaea.org
    comment by lothor edited by Aviva West at 21:41
    A greater effort should be made to evacuate people devastated by the tsunami. The lack of infrastructure and basic necessities in the worst hit areas means that people who survived the quake and tsunami are now suffering in freezing conditions without adequate supplies of food, clean water and medicine. Surely an international effort could be made to transport people to the southern Honshu or up to Hokkaido? The radiation fears are overshadowing the crisis in tsunami-effected areas.
    comment by Velouette at 21:38
    a very interesting article on spent fuel www.nytimes.com
    comment by jjj at 21:36
    Japan's week of devastation is compressed into 60 seconds in this powerful combination of video and photos depicting the earthquake, tsunami and unfolding nuclear crisis.
    by Corinne Perkins at 21:35
    This is the entire translated blog entry from the TEPCO worker that was mentioned by Beh : naokokiyama.blogspot.com
    comment by briank edited by Aviva West at 21:33
    @printing724 You are correct. This generation of reactors is not walk-away safe, but the new reactors coming on line and under development are. The operators could quite literally leave the site unattended and the reactors would cool themselves through convection. I believe we need to get these new designs online quickly to replace the first generation. Unfortunately incidents like this tend to completely halt development of new sites.
    comment by Russell W. Miller at 21:32
    Has anyone seen any hard data on a worst case scenario? My understanding is that there is some 100 metric tons of spent fuel in Reactors 1 through 4. It now looks like 2, 3 and 4 have exposed spent fuel rods which are smoking and decaying into the atmosphere.
    comment by Seattle Engineer at 21:32
    @Nuclear Core Design Engineer That's helpful to know. I do believe reading that reactor #4 had rods, which were approximately nine months old. What are your opinions regarding damage at reactor unit #3 and #4 based upon the recent pictures?
    comment by JF at 21:30
    Tokyo Power Corporation's (TEPCO) official twitter account (Japanese). twitter.com
    by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Aviva West at 21:30
    Mayor Richard Daley acknowledged today passengers on a flight from Tokyo had set off radiation detectors at O’Hare International Airport, but he offered no details and said federal officials will be handling the situation.

    “Of course the protection of the person coming off the plane is very important in regards to any radiation, especially within their families and anything else,” Daley said at a downtown news conference to discuss his trip to China this week.

    City Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino would only say, “We are aware that occurred yesterday. We are working with Customs and Border Protection on this issue." She referred reporters to the Department of Homeland Security.
    comment by GarySFL at 21:29
    U.S. government charter flights begin to leave Japan www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:28
    We continue to read about relief centres in more inaccessible places running out of food, water, fuel, etc. Why are the US military bases and neighbouring countries not sending helicopters/planes to help drop supplies in these areas?
    comment by Angie at 21:26
    Tokyo flight triggers O'Hare radiation detectors: www.chicagobreakingnews.com
    comment by Beh edited by Aviva West at 21:26
    The Fukushima Plant Worker's Blog Post said: "The machine that cools the reactor is just by the ocean, and it was wrecked by the tsunami" Is this the feedwater pumps? And if so, what happens if your feedpumps are wrecked?
    comment by bluecoat_fan at 21:26
    @dubious That is a valid point. Pumps are not highly sophisticated but the switches and controls that manage them are. There have obviously be some very violent hydrogen explosions and damage to the control infrastructure is likely. That may be why they are attempting to restore power to unit 2 first, as that is the only one that has not suffered an explosion. Unit 3 will be a tougher challenge.
    comment by Jim at 21:21
    Nuclear-plant worker blogs from inside crippled reactor: www.thestar.com
    comment by Beh edited by Aviva West at 21:15
    Kyodo are reporting the Japanese governement are asking local authorities to check radiation in food english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Gw edited by Aviva West at 21:15
    As a former submarine nuclear power plant operator (not civilian), I am kind of taken aback by the reliance on backup power. Submarine plants can be put into a "safe" condition ( reactor vessel isolated, decay heat being removed, makeup water available as required) in the complete absence of any electricity except the batteries powering the battle lanterns (flashlights). I assumed that similar levels of contingency existed in civilian plants, but apparently not. Electricity (and the equipment that creates and transports it) can be complex and fragile indeed. I expect that many regulatory bodies will be studying this tragic series of events
    by printing724 edited by Aviva West at 21:12
    @Aviva West Another very interesting article by an expert with real life experience. Some experts will come out of this with reputations enhanced and some will never be considered experts again.
    comment by Peter at 21:11
    Sorry if this has been answered - but can someone explain, after seeing these photos, how there is any confidence that pumps/pipes/wiring survived, such that restoring power will do anything? I hope it works, but these buildings are in sorry condition...
    comment by dubious at 21:10
    Closer view of the No. 4 reactor. REUTERS/TEPCO
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 21:09
    @JF It depends on how "fresh" the fuel is. For instance, fuel that is ~5 years in the spent fuel pool can be air-cooled. Fuel that was just unloaded from a reactor could be damaged in a matter of hours of being left uncooled. Sorry to be too vague to your question, but there are too many factors. Spraying would help, but they should be covered for best protection.
    comment by Nuclear Core Design Engineer at 21:09
    This one shows damage to the No. 4 reactor. Photo taken yesterday and released today. REUTERS/TEPCO
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 21:08
    An aerial view from a helicopter shows steam rising from the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Photo taken yesterday and released today. REUTERS/TEPCO
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 21:06
    @sputnik thanks for the information, these numbers may seem very high but in fact are quite low. international safety standards for nuclear radiation is set extremely low due to the possibility of events like these. that is why "10 times the normal level" is still completely safe.
    comment by briank at 21:06
    @ Nuclear Core Design Engineer Can you elaborate on the time that it would take for the rods to split open under the current conditions? Is this something than can be stopped by spraying water?
    comment by JF at 21:06
    Somehow these workers have managed to get this far. They have had to go from an automated plant to manually keeping a nuclear facility with six reactors from creating a disaster. Not many days ago experts were more than dubious about sea-water cooling for the reactors. My prayers are with them. Tomorrow it is a week since their nightmare began. They've gotten this far. It's an amazing feat. Let's hope they make it.
    comment by Scill at 21:06
    A White House spokesman says the U.S. feels "great urgency" to assist Japan and he is confident that Japan can rebuild
    by Aviva West at 21:05
    Russian expert says Fukushima is no Chernobyl www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:03
    has anyone heard any results from the US drone flyover? did it test for radiation levels? was it able to confirm if pools are empty? what happened to tepco's webcam?
    comment by powell at 21:02
    I saw an interview with the director of the Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in California yesterday that disturbed me very much. He seemed very intent on emphasizing the safety of the plant and its backup systems, but even your backup systems need backup systems. One of the things the reporter pointed out was the failure of the generators due to the tsunami - the director very pompously assured him their backup generators were inland and wouldn't be affected by a tsunami. Maybe not in the initial wave - but how are they going to get them there if there is devastation like there is in Japan? Not exactly a Sunday drive from one place to another.
    comment by Kellie A Norcott at 21:00
    @SR Haddon The spent fuel pools might have been uncovered. If this is the case, it is possible that the end plug welds on each fuel rod have been damaged, and at worst case, the rods have split open. If so, fuel contamination could be in the pools, and these contaminants are carried away with the steam boiling off of the pool. Also, there are deposits from the reactor coolant system that builds up on the rods. This can dissolve in the water. Lastly, the water can become slightly radioactive due to neutron irradiation causing the hydrogen and oxygen in the water to transmute into radioactive isotopes.
    comment by Nuclear Core Design Engineer at 20:58
    Here is a list of different organizations/entities that each establish their own standards about what levels of radiation are considered "safe." www.radiationanswers.org
    by susanresearcher edited by Aviva West at 20:57
    The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan has released new statement regarding Daiichi nuclear plant situation. lewis.armscontrolwonk.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 20:56
    @Markfm, don't forget there have been multiple fires and explosions right next to these coolant pools, not to mention extreme heat. The explosions could easily slosh out or vaporize some water, and more water could boil out as steam if the heat gets high enough. You don't have to have a leak for the water levels to drop.
    comment by Novus at 20:56
    The song remains the same. I live 150 miles west of TMI and I remember. Best wishes for the responders and people of Japan. www.youtube.com
    comment by Neil edited by Aviva West at 20:55
    Indian Govt's Advisory: Indians in Tokyo and closer to exclusion zone may move to safer areas.
    by Keshavan edited by Aviva West at 20:54
    Please, when dealing with radiation levels, make sure you have familiarized yourself first with Gray, Sievert, effective dose, equivalent dose, different types of radiation etc. One cannot just treat these numbers as we are used to look at a thermometer. They need to be interpreted and related to time, distance etc
    comment by sputnik at 20:53
    Russ- I'm not certain you can say that our generators are more secure. My reading is that the tsunami ruptured the diesel oil storage tanks, which spilled their inventory. The diesels then ran on only the day tank inventory(inside their room), which only gives you enough fuel to last an hour. That is what I understand happened to them, and I don't know that the US ones are different, although my optimistic nature wants me to agree.
    comment by John Buckingham at 20:52
    The U.S. State Dept has said the first charter plane for U.S. citizens leaving Japan is en route to Taipei
    by Aviva West at 20:51
    Sloshing out doesn't make sense as a reason for the pools to be low. The pools are 45' deep, and the fuel is down in the bottom 15' of the pool. Operationally the pools have 30' of water above the rods.
    comment by Markfm at 20:49
    @jARED/Temp. of pools at No.5 & 6: Thank you. That was my worry. Yesterday they had declared temperatures of I tink 60 to 62 and rising. Today only "rising" makes me wonder. Also no signals to reinstall power there as they should be relatiely safely accessible unlike the complex 1-4.
    comment by Max at 20:48
    Excellent episode of BBC Radio 4's Science program 'Material World' covering the science behind the Japan Nuclear crisis. Now available online at www.bbc.co.uk
    comment by Jonathan Murray edited by Aviva West at 20:47
    @GDS... As anti-intuitive as it may seem at the moment, the back-up generators are placed underground to reduce damage from an earthquake! The logic behind the design was that the higher they're placed, the higher the amlitude of the movement during an earthquake and therefore the higher the potential for damage. They're also placed in water-tight rooms to prevent damage from flooding, hurricanes, etc. The "only" problem in this case is that they placed the fuel tanks that run the gensets above ground and they got washed up by the Tsunami!!! I have not seen any asessmnet of damage to the actual gensets, but I'm guessing that at the very least, all the fuel lines would be flooded with water.
    comment by Beh at 20:46
    Slideshow: Images of people evacuating from Japan, with some arriving to radiation screening upon reaching foreign shores www.reuters.com
    by Corinne Perkins at 20:46
    @Jana Perlet You are forgetting that the plant survived the earthquake itself unscathed. The tsunami also caused very little damage, unfortunately the small area that was damaged by the tsunami were the backup generators. In the US our backup generators are much better secured.
    comment by Russell W. Miller at 20:46
    According to a source, G20 deputies discussed Japan in a conference call today
    by Aviva West at 20:45
    Has it occurred to anyone that the lower levels in the spent fuel rod pools is due in large part to the "sloshing out" of water during the initial quake? Seems like a logical assumption since these pools are still claimed to be intact. Experts weigh in please...
    comment by SR Haddon at 20:43

    IAEA: Japan officials say Tepco engineers have successfully laid new external power cable to No. 2 reactor at Fukushima plant - press
    - Tepco plans to reconnect power at No. 2 unit after they finish efforts to spray water on No. 3 reactor unit. |

    comment by mike edited by Aviva West at 20:42
    238, 240 etc. is the total count of protons and neutrons, they are called different "isotopes". Different isotopes have the same chemical properties, but different nuclear characteristics, such as their susceptibility to fissioning.
    comment by John Buckingham at 20:41
    The leading authority on radiation and health in the USA has a very well-written pdf on radiation. To those of you worried about the effects of the population near Fukushima, please read hps.org - the dose rates to the public are most certainly in the area where there is no observable increase of cancer, even if they kept at that level for the rest of the year. Of course, the workers at the plant are a different story.
    comment by Garrett edited by Aviva West at 20:40
    People are concerned about varying estimates of what is "safe" in radiation levels. For a quick overview of TLVs or Threshold Limit Values and standards settings see en.wikipedia.org
    comment by susanresearcher edited by Aviva West at 20:39
    @Aviva West re: "The U.S. nuclear regulator is saying that plants in California are designed to deal with earthquakes and tsunamis". I believe the statement is false. I do not believe they are prepared for a tsnuami AND an earthquake after one another. They may be prepared for one of the two but not both together as experienced in Japan. Words must be carefully chosen as the US population possibly believes they are prepared for this situation when they are not.
    comment by Jana Perlet at 20:39
    @foobar & @sputnik: i understand that all plutonium is not the same ~ would someone be able to elaborate on the numerical meanings ie 238, 240 etc.? thanks.
    comment by elise at 20:38
    A woman wipes her eyes as Japanese living in Brazil attend a ceremony to honour victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, in Sao Paulo March 17, 2011. Sao Paulo has the largest Japanese community outside Japan. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
    by Corinne Perkins at 20:38
    thank you kim kyung hoon - for all the photos they really evoke a complexity of feeling of what is happening on many different levels.
    comment by elise at 20:37
    IAEA told by Japan that engineers were able to lay power cable to unit 2 of stricken nuclear plant
    by Aviva West at 20:36
    Click here for a factbox on the aid and rescue offers pouring into Japan. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:34
    Residents read a newspaper with their pet dog at an evacuation center for pets and their owners near a devastated area hit by an earthquake and tsunami in Kesennuma, north Japan March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
    by Corinne Perkins at 20:33
    Light water reactors (both PWRs and BWRs) use water as both coolant and moderator. Therefore in the event of loss of coolant, the moderator is lost simultaneously, which leads to a loss of power output. In BWRs the situation is more complex and reactor pressure plays a significant role in a loss-of-coolant event.
    comment by sputnik at 20:33
    The White House has said Obama believes Japan is fully aware of the severity of the crisis it is facing
    by Aviva West at 20:32
    May I ask gain? What is the thinking for putting the generators down low, where they can be flooded, and the pools up high, where they can be drained? Surely an ocean front site would have been more conservatively set up for the oposite? The pools down low where a tsunami would flood then, and the generators up high and dry?
    comment by GDS at 20:31
    Click here for an updated list of travel warnings for Japan www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:31
    @needtoknow - I believe the NHK story is mistaking. According to various sources, wikipedia being the most accessible, the normal background radiation level for humans is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2.4 millisievert per year. en.wikipedia.org
    comment by MikeO at 20:29
    @Display Name: Sandy That's not true. RBMK was Graphite Moderated Water Cooled
    comment by Nuclear Core Design Engineer at 20:28
    The U.S. nuclear regulator is saying that plants in California are designed to deal with earthquakes and tsunamis
    by Aviva West at 20:28
    The graphite-moderated RBMK reactors at Chernobyl were a "dry coolant" design.
    comment by Display Name: Sandy at 20:26
    Following Austria's example Germany is moving its embassy from Tokyo to Osaka as a "preventative measure" where the ambassador and his staff will continue their work. www.telegraph.co.uk
    comment by linbetwin at 20:26
    Watch "A is for Atom", a docu about the rise of nuclear power in the US, UK and the USSR: www.bbc.co.uk "The film shows that from very early on - as early as 1964 - US government officials knew that there were serious potential dangers with the design of the type of reactor that was used to build the Fukushima Daiichi plant. But that their warnings were repeatedly ignored. In 1966 the US government Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards tried to force the industry to redesign their containment structures to make them safer. But the chairman of the committee claims in the film that General Electric in effect refused."
    comment by linbetwin at 20:24
    Click here for a Witness piece by Reuters' Nastassia Astrasheuskaya about growing up in Chernobyl's fallout zone. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:24
    @Qasif: There are reactors that use gas as a coolant. But these are completely different designs.
    comment by sputnik at 20:22
    @Qasif No, air does not have the capacity to cool the fuel enough to keep it below it's melting point.
    comment by Russell W. Miller at 20:21
    Some forms of radiation are very difficult or impossible for a Geiger tube to detect. Tritium is a byproduct of a nuclear reactor and is used in research. The beta emissions from Tritium are so weak that there are very few instruments that are capable of detecting it. More sophisticated equipment is needed for the measurement of environmental samples, such as radioactivity in milk, produce, soil, etc., unless you are looking for gross contamination.

    seintl.com
    comment by fezfatale edited by Aviva West at 20:21
    Is there any way possible for DRY COOLING of reactors ?
    comment by Qasif at 20:20
    @Pawel: i feel compelled to point out that after seeing an article from NEI yesterday that seemed somewhat misleading based on my understanding of the situation, i did a little research and found out that they are a US lobbying group for the nuclear energy industry. just be mindful they have a very strong financial interest in the advancement of that industry in the US (as it is their reason for existing), so their position is more than a little biased
    comment by bjmckenna at 20:20
    @reuters: Did you mix up north and south in your comment about the aerial? (South is top of image)
    comment by sputnik at 20:18
    @MikeO - that level, 1 mSv exposure over one year, is not normal, but rather, safe, based on what the NHK story says: "Experts say exposure to those levels for 6 hours would result in absorption of the maximum level considered safe for 1 year." www3.nhk.or.jp
    comment by needtoknow edited by Aviva West at 20:17
    @jasondhsd Yes, that is #2.
    comment by Jim at 20:17
    For those wondering if the storage pools are intact look at this 5 min. closeup flyover helicopter video of all 4 reactors. You can see two plumes of steam 1) arising from low down and high up in the buildingS. Truly unbelievable video - it’s in Japanese, looks like it’s from Channel iwj7. www.ustream.tv
    comment by Chrisdat edited by Aviva West at 20:16
    In the aerial photo, the undamaged building is reactor 2, correct?
    comment by jasondhsd at 20:15
    @sputnik: Here is a link to a Union of Concerned Scientists article from 2010 on the dangers of plant designs that don't have containment structures around their spent fuel pools: www.ucsusa.org
    comment by foobar edited by Aviva West at 20:14
    Some 20,000 military dependents in Japan eligible for voluntary evacuation: U.S. military
    by Aviva West at 20:13
    The U.S. nuclear regulator is suggesting that Japan will have to focus on cooling its reactors, and that could probably take weeks
    by Aviva West at 20:12
    Hi-res version of the below image. static.reuters.com Credit: Digital Globe
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 20:11
    The U.S. nuclear regulator is saying that basic physics suggests there will be no harm from Japanese radiation to the U.S. and its territories
    by Aviva West at 20:10
    A satellite image of the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant taken yesterday and released today. Damage to the Units 1, 3, and 4 reactor buildings is visible. Also visible is steam venting from Unit 2 and 3 reactor buildings. Additional damage can be seen to several buildings north of the Unit 2 building. REUTERS/Digital Globe


    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz edited by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 20:12
    @reuters tepco did admit that "the possibility of criricality is not zero" in regards to the #4 spent fuel pool. www.bbc.co.uk
    comment by dealing edited by Aviva West at 20:09
    The U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary says he will maintain a dialogue with Japan to help the country do all it can to get the situation under control
    by Aviva West at 20:08
    The U.S. nuclear regulator says the U.S. is working to provide ideas and possibly equipment to help cool the stricken nuclear plant
    by Aviva West at 20:07
    A man cooks at his home in the devastated area of Kesennuma earlier today. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 20:05
    British Search and Rescue teams are due to pull out of Japan tomorrow, along with their American counterparts, it has been announced. www.telegraph.co.uk
    comment by linbetwin edited by Aviva West at 20:05
    It was prudent to recommend Americans evacuate area in 50 mile radius of Japan plant based on evidence: U.S. energy official
    by Aviva West at 20:05
    @needtoknow - That would actually be the level that is considered normal for a year. The safe level is a fair bit higher.
    comment by MikeO at 20:04
    @Corinne Perkins those are some powerful images and a stark reminder of the real life, humanitarian disaster that is unfolding. more to the point perhaps than the endless speculation and scaremongering over a disaster that, for all intents and purposes and as noted by experts, may never happen.
    comment by saymename at 20:03
    U.S. nuclear regulator repeats that it does not see the danger of harmful radiation levels from Japan coming to the U.S. or its territories
    by Aviva West at 20:03
    Here's our brief on the nine person U.S. nuke team heading to Japan to advise the military. www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:01
    @sputnik: It was mentioned here yesterday, that though the fuel in #3 is MOX, there is actually more plutonium in the #4 spent fuel rods, as regular uranium produces plutonium as a byproduct. Could the experts chime in on the dangers of this given the large number of spent rods in #4, the fact that they are exposed to the environment, and that the pools may have dried?
    comment by foobar at 19:59
    Some new updates from NEI: nei.cachefly.net
    comment by Pawel edited by Aviva West at 19:55
    @linbetwin: the actual levels are here www3.nhk.or.jp 0.17 mSv/hr at 30km. 6 hrs at this level reaches the maximum level considered safe for one year.
    by needtoknow edited by Aviva West at 19:58
    @Beh, @Vern, I have made quick google search for mobile diesel gensets. Look at this CAT equipment to see what the problem is. It is not that easy to lift a truck by heli.

    www.directindustry.com

    PS. This is proper post, previously I have pressed enter accidentally. Sorry about that.
    comment by Paweł Jackowski at 19:53
    I think we all have to remember there have been many nuclear disasters. I'm an historian and often use these disasters to help students understand the debate on energy. Here are just a few- www.history.com But there are others, including Idaho falls in the 1960's. These accidents happen and unfortunately people are killed due to radiation exposure. I pray that those trying to stop this nuclear threat will not meet the same fate. God bless them.
    comment by GrizzlyB at 19:51
    This is the most current technical info on Daiichi. www.jaif.or.jp They released the temperatures yesterday, and at that time I think they highest temp in pools 5 or 6 was low 60's.
    comment by jARED edited by Aviva West at 19:50
    Two Democratic Senators ask the NRC to review the capacity of all U.S. nuclear facilities to withstand disasters
    by Aviva West at 19:50
    Japanese fire fighters lower the body of a victim from a two-story house at a village that was destroyed in Kamaishi, March 17, 2011. The bodies of one man and three women were found in the house. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 19:49
    Are there informations about temperatures and water levels of No. 5 and 6 available. In the report www.nisa.meti.go.jp I haven'd seen them.
    comment by Max edited by Aviva West at 19:48
    @Beh let's not forget that turning them on without proper damage assessment on the pumps/equipment might actually damage other parts of the system rather than helping the situation.
    comment by jonathan at 19:46
    The situation seams severe enough to warrant changing methods to quickly build a containment structure or at least fill the reactor with inert materials such as boron, lead, dolomite ect.
    comment by ThunderD at 19:45
    @jARED: ~45ft, not meters
    comment by sputnik at 19:45
    @Vern Bringing in mobile generator sets is not as easy an operation as you'd think. They have to restore power to the entire control system that run and monitor the pumps, not just the pumps themselves. I believe the emergency back-up system @ Dai'ichi was somewhere in the 15-20 MW magnitude. Helicopter lifting 5-6 x 3MW plug&play type diesel gensets with enough fuel to run them for even 24 hours is a logisitcal nightmare. Personally, I have not seen mobile units bigger than 2 MW in Canada (even those are very rare). Don't forget that there is a lift limit for transport helicopters so all of this is mission "almost" impossible and that's IF (a big IF) they didn't have to deal with the radiation problem.
    comment by Beh at 19:44
    @Bengt: I am an architect, and looking at various images of no.4 and especially no.3 for days now, I have to conclude (and posted here before) that I strongly doubt that these pools have not suffered structural damage. No.3 pool is almost certainly damaged.
    comment by sputnik at 19:42
    As for the pools, they are not small and likely intact even if compromised. They are 45m deep and pool 4 was loaded with over 400 tons of spent fuel rods. The visible destruction is from outward blowing hydrogen explosions over the last several days and mean that there is no protection from emitted radiation.
    comment by jARED at 19:42
    @sputnik According to www.targetmap.com Ishikawa is reported also as Under Survey.
    comment by Ginger at 19:42
    Time for the Chernobyl option? Michio Kaku on MSNBC www.msnbc.msn.com
    comment by Indus edited by Aviva West at 19:38
    @ap123 They aren't sick now. Depending on the dose, the effects from high radiation exposure to get visible may take years or decades (allthough I don't like to compare it with tchernobyl, you can look there what happened to people who were exposed to high radiation levels years or decades later).
    comment by RW at 19:38
    There are a lot of discussion about the Spent Fuel Pools (SPF) that may have boiled dry, and exposing the fuel there. But when I see the pictures of the wreckened reactor buildings #2 and #3, how can it even be possible that these pools are intact? They are parts of the building (quite high up), which are completely devestated. I understand that the reactor vessel itself (thick steel) may be intact, but the pools with its spent fuel must resonably be gone?
    comment by Bengt Wilander at 19:36
    if the workers are not all severly sick can the danger to those outside evacuation zone be that great?
    comment by ap123 at 19:35
    Germany, the U.S., France, etc. are removing citizens and moving embassies to other places yet the Japanese government says their efforts are working and all is well? This is seriously concerning...who do we believe?
    comment by GrizzlyB at 19:34
    Also a note about prussian blue and cesium - prussian blue does not prevent it's uptake; it only allows to remove it from the intestine and thus indirectly from blood stream. Don't attempt to take it preventatively.
    comment by Pawel at 19:34

    ==

    Escape from the tsunami: Incredible new footage shows split-second decisions that made the difference between life and death By Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 10:56 PM on 18th March 2011

    Comments (24) Add to My Stories
    Heart-stopping footage shows:
    Woman plucked to safety as huge tidal wave engulfs town
    Buildings being swept away as its helpless citizens watch

    Cars bobbing in the sea after being overwhelmed by tsunami
    Port consumed by huge waves as boats are torn from moorings
    It pulverised everything in its path, sweeping away whole towns - and 25,000 people - with the raw power of nature at its most deadly.
    And confronted by a towering wall of water, these desperate Japanese had just seconds to save their own lives.
    Some fled before the tsunami, hauling themselves into trees and up the side of buildings.
    Others were trapped in their cars or in houses, able to do nothing but wait and pray.
    Their plight has been captured on dozens of videos posted online. Many tell the incredible stories of survival against all the odds.
    Some footage, however, does not have a happy ending. One of the videos below shows a distant man trapped on a roof as the waves engulf his home. His fate is still unknown.
    PLUCKED TO SAFETY BY A TV CREW

    Footage obtained by Channel 4 shows a Japanese news crew fleeing the tsunami in a taxi who then went on to save the lives of several people stranded after the wave hit.
    Realising that water levels are rising, they make the decision to get out of the car and run.
    Looking around, they realise the danger about to befall them and can be heard shouting, as they gaze up at the buildings close by: ‘It’s getting dangerous - where can we get in?’.
    People who have taken cover in a nearby building shout down and alert them to an open door and the group dash in, just seconds before the tsunami sweeps through.
    As they clamber up the steps to get higher and higher the churning, black sea water can be seen rising up the stairs.
    Stranded: The news crew who filmed the footage are safe but a woman clings to life on a rooftop (left). They are able to winch her to safety by rope


    Looking behind they can see the water powering past carrying all before it, including two shipping containers, banging into each other, on the road where they stood just seconds earlier.
    They eventually reach a balcony and are able to see a landscape utterly transformed. Roads have disappeared and buildings are submerged with just the roofs visible.
    Then, bobbing into view, comes the taxi they had been travelling in and one of the crew can be heard saying: ‘If we had been a little later we would have been caught’.
    As they take in their surroundings they see a fellow survivor clinging to a wall, a terrified man clinging to the branches of a tree and father on a roof with his two children clasped close to his side.
    Lucky escape: The woman bursts into tears after being saved from almost certain death
    Keeping calm and working as a team the survivors unearth a fire hose and use it to reach the woman whom they pull to safety.
    Once safe, she breaks down, crying: ‘I thought I was dying.’
    Snow then begins to fall and they then go to the man stuck in the tree who is helped to safety. Then they all form a human chain to reach the man with his children and one by one they are carried towards the building and out of danger.
    ‘My children are safe now, that’s enough for me,’ says the father as his children cry in the background.


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1367647/Japan-tsunami-Video-woman-dragged-safety-tsunami-hit.html#ixzz1H1E2gIHf

    ===

    Full Reuters coverage and resources: www.reuters.com Follow Reuters Japan Twitter feed: www.twitter.com All comments are moderated. We welcome links to breaking news, eyewitness accounts and comment from readers with specialist knowledge.
    by Reuters.com edited by Reuters_RossChainey at 17:26
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    Facebook Twitter Yahoo! MySpace Google MSN Make a comment Here's a recap of the events that unfolded in Japan in the past week: Timeline: Japan's horrible week www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 9:40
    Snapshot: Japan's nuclear crisis www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 9:37
    "Officials say 3 or 4 kinds of farm produce have been found to be contaminated, reports Kyodo. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano is reportedly due to talk about the contaminated food issue around 1600 local time" BBC
    www.bbc.co.uk
    comment by hk edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 9:36
    A very small amount of the radioactive substance xenon-133 was detected on U.S. west coast. english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Saori edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 9:24
    There may not have been any real risk to Tokyo residents in terms of radiation but there's a good reason to leave the city to escape aftershocks, disruption of public transportation, rolling blackouts and shortages of food, water and other essentials like toilet paper. While fuel remains needed in the north restocking Tokyo will continue to be an issue. I am a New Zealander living in tokyo and the NZ embassy recommended leaving because of these issues, not radiation.
    comment by Cameron at 9:21
    "BREAKING NEWS: Spinach near nuke plant found with high radiation levels: gov't official (15:13)" KYODO

    english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by hk edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 9:17
    @borrrden Only if the water contains high levels of boron, water will capture some neutrons however for the greater proportion it will just slow them down. The net result will be increased likelihood that the uranium captures these slow neutrons and undergoes fission, thus releasing more neutrons. That self-sustaining cycle is criticality, and is greatly aided by the presence of a neutron moderator like water.
    comment by Dissent at 9:16
    Bob MacDonald, highly respected Science Correspondant for CBC in Canada, weighs in on the Fukushima situation, and finds a lot of positives among the chaos. Very good read, for those who like a little optimism now and then. bit.ly
    comment by Ravlen at 9:16
    Here's another Reuters special report on how radiation fears may be greatly exaggerated www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 9:10
    Well, what option is left if the cooling fails? Just the Chernobyl option? A massive effort to drop concrete on top of all the reactors and spent rod pools in an attempt to bury the radiation as they did in Russia?
    comment by Saori at 9:03
    Update on the status of Fukushima nuclear power plants. Cooling of reactors #5 and #6 at Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant successfully resumed. english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Pedro Jesus edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:58
    @Saori I have to disagree since it is well known that water absorbs neutrons and PREVENTS their buildup.
    comment by borrrden at 8:57
    @Saori Anybody concerned about nuclear power need only look at the facts. More people die every year from other forms of power than all the people that have died due to nuclear power combined. And nuclear power has been around for almost seventy years, by the way. Brian Dunning: "Even taking the maximum predicted death toll from Chernobyl, we would need a Chernobyl-sized accident every three weeks to make nuclear power as deadly as coal and oil already is. Shall I repeat that? If the world was filled with Generation I reactors run by feuding coal miners, we would need a worst-case scenario every three weeks just to match the US death toll we've imposed upon ourselves by clinging to our current fossil fuel system."
    comment by Scientist at 8:57
    www.rttnews.com (RTTNews) - A 450-member team of experts equipped to deal with a nuclear emergency has been mobilized by the U.S. military for possible deployment in Japan in the event of a full-blown nuclear disaster there, reports said on Thursday.
    comment by seth edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:56

    by Reuters_VipulTripathi at 8:50
    @Saori Strictly speaking that's true, but leaving them dry is orders of magnitude worse.
    comment by Scientist at 8:48
    Arnie Gundersen says, "...dropping water on the spent fuel pool could make matters worse...It’s a bad idea to drop water onto the fuel racks. You could get an inadvertent criticality. That means you could have a nuclear reaction, similar to that in a reactor core, in the fuel pool. There is more radiation in the spent fuel pool—which is about ten stories in the air—than in the reactor core.” Gundersen notes that used rods contain more dangerous radioactive materials than new rods, including elements cesium, strontium and plutonium. Please could one of your experts disproof this statement!
    comment by Saori at 8:46
    @OsakaAmerican www.seattlepi.com
    comment by Whambot edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:42
    It is a coincidence that the Union of Concerned Scientists has released a new report on nuclear power plant safety while the Japanese nuclear crisis continues to unfold. www.ucsusa.org
    comment by Saori edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:40
    Osakaamerican - it's the State Dept's travel advisory for Japan: travel.state.gov
    comment by suecris edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:35

    by Reuters_VipulTripathi at 8:30
    @Grace. please click on the link in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:15
    Tony, please, details re Japanese media pull story of "miracle" tsunami survivor
    comment by Grace at 8:15


    Some structures on the coast somewhat helped to protect ports from the tsunami. This is amazing footage of the tsunami trying to invade a port.
    comment by Grizzly at 8:05
    can someone please give verification on the US State Department Story?
    comment by OsakaAmerican at 8:05

    by Reuters_VipulTripathi at 8:03
    Japanese media pull story of "miracle" tsunami survivor in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 8:01
    Two nuns attend a mass to pray for Japan's earthquake and tsunami victims at a church in Lima, March 18, 2011. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
    by Reuters_VipulTripathi at 7:59
    @John There was never any reason to leave Tokyo. Many oragnizations have said as much, including the World Health Organization who just said today that only travel within the 20km radius would cause any worry.
    comment by Ravlen at 7:58
    @John There were no articles stating that there was ever any reason to leave. The World Health Organization says that Tokyo is fine. news.yahoo.com
    comment by borrrden edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:57

    bbc.co.uk's live feed is reporting:The US State Department is strongly urging Americans in Japan to consider leaving and advising those who were planning to go to Japan to defer the trip. The US is also expanding the area for voluntary evacuations for family members of US personnel in Japan.
    comment by OsakaAmerican at 7:56
    Check out this video taken from a ship off the coast of Japan as it surfs over the tsunami www.youtube.com
    by Grant Surridge at 7:50
    Are there any recent articles stating whether it's safe to get back to Tokyo? (Please approve this mod, I'm asking for my family's sake.)
    comment by John at 7:50
    This is a harrowing video of people narrowly escaping the tsunami. I don't think it's been posted to this site. www.dailymail.co.uk
    comment by heartbroken edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:47
    NEWS ADVISORY: Temperatures fall in spent nuke fuel pool at No.5 reactor: TEPCO
    comment by NHK Listener at 7:45
    Possible cause of reactor building explosions: allthingsnuclear.org (scroll down to 3rd article)
    comment by Cup edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:40
    Here's the link to the animation video www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:37
    TonyTharakan: I would like to bookmark earthquake animation but can't find it on reuters website ... please show link?
    comment by Terratalk at 7:36
    Reuters: Kudos! With thousands of watchers, you've managed to moderate high-level and open discussions on the engineering issues, the market issues, the environmental issues, while the not letting us forget the human tragedy.
    comment by foobar at 7:32
    @Reuters_VipulTripathi Any news on the latest radiation levels at the plant?
    comment by SOTA at 7:30
    @Reuters_TonyTharakan www.nytimes.com At the request of the Japanese military, a Massachusetts company, iRobotc, said it put four robots on a plane for Japan on Friday. Colin Angle, the chief executive, said it had sent two small robots that could measure radiation levels close to the reactors and two larger ones that could pull hoses to spray water on the fuel rods.

    He said the robots might be able to tug the hoses for 200 to 300 yards. Japanese soldiers could operate the robots from a protected vehicle, he said.
    comment by seth edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:30
    www.usatoday.com worth a read
    comment by seth edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:27
    Maybe it will be posted this time...if not, can you please verify if Reuters will post youtube videos or not? There is some amazing footage being posted, such as this of the wave hitting the coast.
    comment by Grizzly at 7:26
    You never know when a black swan will float your way. And when your credit card is nearly maxed out, dealing with emergencies can be tricky. A massive rebuilding effort may stretch Japan to its financial limits. (Read more in the blog by Reuters BreakingViews columnist James Pethokoukis in 'Japan shows why U.S. must slash debt') blogs.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:19
    The danger of spent-fuel rods and the Yucca Mountain project (by Reuters columnist Gregg Easterbrook) blogs.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:13
    Sometimes there is no bright side (by Reuters columnist James Saft) blogs.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:09
    Dairy and property: How Japan’s crisis is effecting China (by Reuters editor and columnist George Chen) blogs.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 7:06
    Reuters blogger Felix Salmon on 'Donating to Japan' blogs.reuters.com and www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:59
    Kyodo withdraws story on miracle tsunami survivor www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:55
    as a follow up on this exaggeration on radiation fears. I am suggesting this too but can anyone here make the maths for an estimation of what doses of radiation have these people in Tokyo suffered for 8 days now, noting that highest ratings are measured every day? It's all easy if we take snapshots on events. The real case is when we see the series!
    comment by xanthos at 6:54
    NEWS ADVISORY: Temperatures fall in spent nuke fuel pool at No.5 reactor: TEPCO@12:36 PM JST
    english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Akki at 6:52
    Amid challenges at plant, nuclear official urges Japan to be more forthcoming www.washingtonpost.com
    by Whambot edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:45
    Far from the camera crews, crawling through the radioactive wreckage of a nuclear power plant, a faceless battalion is taking on the most dangerous job in Japan, if not the world.

    About 300 workers are toiling in Tokyo Electric Power's earthquake-smashed plant, wearing masks, goggles and protective suits whose seams are sealed off with duct tape to prevent radioactive particles from creeping in. www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:38
    Special Report: Radiation fears may be greatly exaggerated www.reuters.com
    by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 6:32
    heres the nrc summary of the report to in usa today www.nrc.gov
    comment by seth edited by Aviva West at 22:32
    So if any serious maintenance needs to be done on pumps and other equipment, BUT radiation is too high, what's the end game?
    comment by Paul at 22:32
    I think in the absolute worst case they might be able to get measurement devices to be operable again, to make assessments more accurate.
    comment by julien at 22:31
    paul, having power to the facility "area" is great the next challenge is getting close enough to the switchgear and electrical circuits to hook things up and then figure how to start the equipment.
    comment by dean at 22:30
    @Paul In theory, they can replace almost every component if damaged. However, if the radiation level is high inside the plant, it might be too dangerous to do so.
    comment by David at 22:29
    TEPCO confirms power line connected
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 22:27
    It's great that power now runs to the plant. What happens if the machinery and pumps inside no longer operate? Can they simply bring in new pumps?
    comment by Paul at 22:27
    @Jeffster We've got an update on the power line coming out momentarily.
    by Aviva West at 22:25
    @Reuters: Any update on the power line that has been connected, and how it would help the situation?
    comment by Jeffster at 22:24
    thank Dean, that info is great for those of us who are visual processors...
    comment by LCJ in Roslyn PA at 22:24
    bluecoat, as I undertand the japanese reactor and support facilities they would pump sea water in to a facility, treat the water to be used and then put it in a pool where water would be pumped to the facility as makeup water to the reactor as well as coolant water for the reactor systems. all of these systems are without power and they need to determine which to try and use, how to get the power to the proper electrical circuits which may be inside and then how to get the flows going, it all starts with the pool of water at the treatment facility and I'm sure they could fill it with plain sea water. the condition of the pumps is in question tho, with the corrosive sea water the bearings will not last indefinately
    comment by dean at 22:24
    @Seattle Engineer please read .it has been calculated www.usatoday.com
    comment by seth edited by Aviva West at 22:23
    Timeline: Japan's unfolding nuclear crisis
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 22:23
    @Dean, given the amount of spent fuel in #4, and assuming there is no water in the spent fuel storage pond, I have two questions for a nuclear engineer: 1. How much radioactivity would potentially be released into the air, and, 2. over what time frame. Again, this is assuming that TEPCO is unable to bring it under control. There is a lot of talk about the danger of the spent fuel,but very little data. This would seem to be a pretty straight forward calculation for a nuclear engineer (kg of spent fuel times assumed radioactivity per kg of spent fuel times assumed percentage that will be released into the air per unit time over an assumed time).
    comment by Seattle Engineer at 22:21
    The fuel elements in the spent fuel pool are stored and spaced in such a way to prevent a criticality accident, borated water is used as a safety precaution as well as chemistry as I mentioned
    comment by dean at 22:21
    @Dean, Do you think ocean Feedwater Pumps could have been clogged/damaged by this tsunami? If so, would this keep the inside plant water from being cooled, regardless if the backup generators worked?
    comment by bluecoat_fan at 22:20
    A member of the Japanese community in Peru makes origami cranes to support Japan's earthquake and tsunami victims at the Peruvian Japanese Cultural Center in Lima March 18, 2011. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo
    by Corinne Perkins at 22:20
    the capacity in gallons of water in a spent fuel pool varies depending on the size of the facility but I have seen figures of 250, 000 to 500,000 gallons of water, the water is cooled and controlled by chemistry controls to keep the purity of the water the same as the reactor.
    comment by dean at 22:19
    @Matt If they're using a Global Hawk to do flyovers, they're using the wrong tool. Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance platform that isn't meant for low-level passes of a site. A better choice would be a Predator, which flies slower and lower, or better still, one of the Navy's Fire Scout helicopter drones. With one of those, they could hover for hours within tens of feet of whatever they needed pictures of, which would provide much better close-up views of the plant.
    comment by Drone at 22:19
    sky, I believe most spent fuel pools that are out of the ground would be roughly 4-5 feet thick concrete on sides reinforced with steel rebar and the floor would be 6-8 or more feet, then, there is usually a stainless steel liner within the pool but the liner is not designed as robust as the reactor vessel itself
    comment by dean at 22:15
    @Sky read this www.nytimes.com
    comment by seth edited by Aviva West at 22:14
    @Matt lots of pics and video already available the Images from global hawk are important only to the people that would understand what they are looking at
    comment by gg at 22:12
    @Dean. I have wondered about the construction of the spent fuel storage pools, which are evidently on an upper story of each reactor building so that the gantry crane can transfer fuel elements back and forth between an in-service position within the reactor core and a storage position in the pool. I have been wondering if there's a possibility of physical damage to the pool(s) themselves which might be one cause of declining water levels. Everyone says the reactor vessel itself is 4-8 inch thick stainless steel (I hope I recalled the right) and discusses the robust construction of other parts of the plant, yet no one has mentioned the construction of the spent fuel pools.
    comment by Sky at 22:12
    @Ann Brunidge that would depend on the type of radiation (alpha, beta,gamma) and the radionuclide. Some radionuclides decay in a sequence of radioactive elements, where one element become another radioactive one, with a different half-life. Sr-90 (a beta-particle) has a half-life of years, after which it becomes (unstable) Yttrium-90, and so forth...
    comment by Geert Biermans at 22:11
    New video from YouTube - Video of giant tsunami wave approaching ship at sea. "Tsunami of Tohoku Earthquake Before Wrecking the Coast" (Reuters has not verified the accuracy of this clip) www.youtube.com
    comment by Joseph Petrella edited by Aviva West at 22:10
    The US Global Hawk spy plane has reportedly already been doing flyovers. To date I've yet to see any images or video from it yet.
    comment by Matt at 22:07
    when fuel elements are taken out of the reactor right after they shutdown, they are dispersed in container postitions in the canal so that they are not all together from one fresh core. Each element is still thermally hot and have very high radition levels which is why they cool them so long and shield them from workers. the green crane you see in one of the photos is the gantry crane that goes over the cana and is used to transfer the elements from the reactor to the canal area. they also have over head cranes which are used to lift the fuel elements that are ready to ship into a shielded cask and then off to another facility
    comment by dean at 22:07
    @Drew Swanson Electronics are sensitive against radiation, too. Look at the monitoring robots being deployed, they have special lead shielding to operate.
    comment by julien at 22:06
    The comment explaining the term half-life is slightly confusing. It sounds like the substance is disappearing, and that is not what happens. Radioactive materials are by definition unstable, and will decay into non-radioactive materials. In doing so, they radiate the extra particles that make them radioactive. For example, radioactive iodine, such as we have heard about from Fukushima nuclear plant, will decay into regular ordinary iodine. So if you had 100 grams of the radioisotope of iodine, if its half-life is 8 days then at that point you would have 50 grams of the radioisotope ANDalmost 50 grams of ordinary iodine. It's not 50 grams of regular iodine, because some material was emitted as radiation during the 8 days of decay.
    comment by Ann Brundige at 22:05
    they could do that DREW and I'm surprised they haven't yet
    comment by dean at 22:05
    Someone explain to me why they can't fly a small remote controlled helicopter with a video camera into the reactors with the pools exposed.
    comment by Drew Swanson at 22:04
    ty jesse clark, normally each reactor has spent nuclear fuel rods in their cooling pools that are undergoing cooling over a period of 1-2 years so they can be shipped to a reprocessing facility. not all of the fuel elements are taken out of the reactor typically in a refueling outage so there would be a mixture of new and older fuel elements.
    comment by dean at 22:04

    by Corinne Perkins at 22:01
    U.S. nuclear panel urged to give daily Japan updates
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 22:00
    1/2 life is important when it comes to air activity because many of the radioisotopes as a result of leaking out of the fuel pellets have a very short 1/2 life and decay to more stable elements which would not be carried far, the more important ones are the ones you hear about, cesium, iodine, strontium90 and xenon are among the main ones.
    comment by dean at 21:59
    @Dean: Welcome back! We've missed you here the past couple days. Question: I was under the impression that the only buildings with spent fuel pools that have rods in them were 4, 5, and 6, because those reactors were offline, whereas the issues with 1-3 were the reactors themselves. Are there SFPs at 1-3, and what problems are they undergoing?
    comment by Jesse Clark at 21:57
    The half-life of a radioisotope is the amount of time it takes for a quantity of the given material to be reduced to 1/2 of its original quantity. For example, if a certain radioisotope of Iodine has a half-life of 8 days, a quantity of 100 grams will be reduced to a quantity of 50 grams in 8 days by radioactive decay. It will then be reduced to 25 grams in another 8 days and so on repeatedly.
    comment by Joseph at 21:57
    The damaged Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant in Fukushima is seen in this satellite image, taken and released by DigitalGlobe March 18, 2011. REUTERS/DigitalGlobe/Handout
    by Corinne Perkins at 21:54
    TEPCO connects line, can supply power to Daiichi plant
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:53
    A picture of the deployed Monirobo can be found here: getnews.jp
    comment by Niel Malan edited by Aviva West at 21:52
    Don't give up, Japan - the whole world is with you.
    comment by cristos at 21:51
    We've received a report that TEPCO has managed to connect an external transmission line to the stricken Daiichi plant. Stay tuned for updates
    by Aviva West at 21:45
    @Serg In theory, yes, a renewed chain reaction is possible. If the residual fuel melts the zirconium rods encasing the uranium pellets, and these fall to the bottom of the reactor vessel where there are no control rods or an insufficient amount of borated water to absorb the neutrons, a return to criticality is possible. However, the physical conditions would need to be just right (or wrong I guess) for this to happen.
    comment by David at 21:42
    update on situation in shelters, US military relief from AP via earthquake: my.earthlink.net
    comment by LCJ in Roslyn PA edited by Aviva West at 21:39
    Kyodo says "renewed nuclear chain reaction feared" - english.kyodonews.jp Is nuclear chain reaction possible?
    comment by Serg edited by Aviva West at 21:38
    @KD909 The translation should be as follows: "The roads displayed in blue in the map below signify roads that were proven to be passable during from midnight to 11:59Pm the day before. Roads displayed in gray signify roads that were not proven to be passable during that time period."
    comment by Dan at 21:34
    Japan storage pools big worry: U.S. nuclear expert
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 21:33
    @ Dean. Considering half-life. Do you think exclusion zone will be necessary even if TEPCO cools the reactors and fuel pools?
    comment by zak at 21:31
    Monitoring Robot deployed at Fukushima Daiichi www.newscientist.com
    comment by kungfu panda edited by Aviva West at 21:28
    @dean Can you explain what half-life means exactly?
    comment by biblesmuggler at 21:27
    Apparently Tokyo FD was targeting reactor 3, from 12:30 until a little after 1 am, will be back at noon. english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Markfm edited by Aviva West at 21:27
    Special Report: Radiation fears may be greatly exaggerated
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West edited by Aviva West at 21:26
    I have returned to monitor the events and answer any questions I can. I am a nuclear engineer with 37 years experience in reactor operations and safety..
    comment by dean at 21:26
    Radiation data from EPA and RADNET for the United States. www.epa.gov
    comment by Sin edited by Aviva West at 21:25
    Repost: correction to Google/Honda traffic map interpretation: green appears to be expressways, and yellow appears to be standard highways, and thus, not denoting congestion (blue).
    comment by KD909 at 21:25
    • TEPCO: (Mar 18,2011) Effective March 22, additional execs appointed to manage reactor crisis at Fukushima Daai-ichi … goo.gl
    comment by daiichi_crisis edited by Aviva West at 21:20
    FEPC statement 3/18: lewis.armscontrolwonk.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Aviva West at 21:17
    • LAT: Radiation levels normal in California, officials say | According to Philip Fine, South Coast Air Quality Management District in Southern California, 'We have not detected any increases beyond what you'd expect historically. Nothing you can attribute to Japan' goo.gl
    comment by daiichi_crisis edited by Aviva West at 21:14

    by Aviva West at 21:07
    Slideshow: Seven days in Japan www.reuters.com The devastation in Japan as captured by photographers this past week.
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 21:07
    • MOE: (English edition) Radiation Readings from 20 Km Zone at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant … goo.gl
    comment by daiichi_crisis edited by Aviva West at 21:06
    I'd imagine the green/yellow means conditions now, with good/deteriorated road conditions, respectively.
    comment by KD909 at 21:04
    From the site: "In the map below the blue that you see in the road, the day before midnight - the road traffic in the hours of 24 was proven, gray shows the road traffic was not proven during the same period."
    comment by KD909 at 21:03
    Question on the google/honda link on road conditions. what do the yellow, green, and blue colors mean?
    comment by Tiffany Strub at 21:00
    Latest DigitalGlobe satellite photo of #Fukushima Daiichi Plant taken March 18th at 10:20am local time. www.flickr.com
    comment by Duke Budfester at 20:59
    Interactive timeline: Japan's humanitarian disaster
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:56
    This was published in 1996 but it's a great Postmortem on Chernobyl by the IAEA: www.iaea.org
    comment by Grizzly at 20:53
    Samaritans Purse is on the ground dispersing Water purification systems.
    comment by John at 20:53
    @JC The photo slideshow is slightly disingenuous. It mixes together pictures & information from Chernobyl related birth defects with those of Russian nuclear weapon test sites. Look at the locations in the captions. Those in Minsk or near Chernobyl are related to the Chernobyl accident, the others to weapon tests in Kazakhstan.
    comment by Max at 20:53
    US Navy Provides Pumps to Assist in Reactor Cooling Effort | YOKOSUKA, Japan - The U.S. Navy has provided five high-capacity pumping systems to Japan's Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Group Nuclear Asset Management Department to assist in the effort to cool the core of the damaged No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. ht.ly
    comment by daiichi_crisis edited by Aviva West at 20:52
    @markfm from BBC 1735 UTC: The operation to douse the overheating fuel rods at Fukushima resumed early on Saturday, AFP says, quoting a Tokyo Fire Department official. Five specially-equipped engines from the department poured seawater for 20 minutes. It's not clear what reactors were involved.
    comment by Jan at 20:51
    For those wondering how to assist in relief efforts, here's a repeat of our story on ways you can help
    blogs.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:51
    @Markfm Almost 3 am in Toyko and waiting for the latest news like many I am sure. NHK linl is www.ustream.tv
    comment by SOTA edited by Aviva West at 20:47
    Factbox: Japan disaster in figures
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:47
    @Scott the Daily Mail article mixes milli Sievert and micro Sievert thereby indicating 1000 times higher radiation than it is. Perhaps they should express all radiation either in micro or milli Sievert not mixing them. Journalist does not seem to understand the difference.
    comment by Jan at 20:46
    Passengers line up to check in for flights at Narita airport, east of Tokyo, earlier today. REUTERS/Issei Kato
    by Reuters_Jeremy Schultz at 20:45
    Honda and Google provide real time map of road conditions in the quake-stricken area. www.google.co.jp
    comment by Carwriter edited by Aviva West at 20:45
    @maria, I'm sorry but please take a look at this website, www.pixelpress.org which will give you an in depth perspective which runs counter to your claims that outside of thyroid cancer, no one has been proven to have suffered from Chernobyl. In the pictures you will see children born after Chernobyl that didn't drink milk or eat mushrooms, that continue to suffer the effects from the blast. I don't think it's a good idea to suggest everyone is doing just fine in the areas affected by the disaster.
    comment by JC edited by Aviva West at 20:45
    YouTube launches channel to help Japanese quake and tsunami victims communicate
    www.youtube.com
    by Aviva West at 20:41
    Any word on how the Tokyo Fire Department spraying at the reactors has gone? (reported via Kyodo about 2 hours ago, posted here at 11:49 EST by SOTA).
    comment by Markfm at 20:39
    Central banks launch rare currency action to stabilize the yen
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:37
    I don't know if this link has been posted, but I have found allthingsnuclear.org to be very informative, as well as the transcripts of their daily media briefings.
    comment by Barb at 20:36
    TEPCO plant chief weeps as he admits the radiation coming from the Fukashima Diiachi Plant could potentially kill. www.dailymail.co.uk
    comment by Scott edited by Aviva West at 20:30
    xpat, that is what happened to the chernobyl sarcophagus, it was put together quickly as a bandaid fix but it eventually failed during an earth quake and now a huge project is underway to build probably the worlds largest moving structue to move over the whole area. I think it is estimated at $850 million dollars or so.
    comment by dean at 20:29
    After recent hurricanes in the US, breweries donated millions of cans and bottles of drinking water to relief services. Portable shower trucks were brought in so people could be made more comfortable just by being cleaner while improving hygienic conditions at the same time. Has there been any news about this type of relief occurring in eastern Japan? The roads have got to be getting clearer daily so that this type of relief could be put into use. It's so disheartening to not hear and see more about how the victims are being aided. Yes there is a nuclear emergency, but we can't forget the displaced, suffering people.
    comment by SAE at 20:27
    Employees of Tono municipal office observe a moment of silence in Tono, northern Japan March 18, 2011, to mark the one week anniversary of a deadly earthquake triggering a tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
    by Aviva West at 20:26
    Concrete i believe is not the way forward in Japan, for any non earthquake active country yes it is a good solution like Chernobyl. The problem with Japan or any country along the Ring of Fire any future Earthquake could crack or destroy the concrete coffin and they would be in a worse situation.
    comment by Xpat at 20:23
    Trying to calculate and track plumes from these types of accidents is very difficult even with the sophisticated instruments. The international meterological group is tracking that now at the request of IAEA. I have a web site that can help to begin a look at as educational information only (it's not based on the accident in japan) www.davistownmuseum.org
    comment by dean at 20:22
    Slideshow: Looking back at seven devastating days in Japan www.reuters.com
    by Corinne Perkins at 20:21
    Trying this post again. Spent fuel - interesting doc. www.nirs.org
    comment by Scill edited by Aviva West at 20:19
    "Chernobyl solution" may be last resort for Japan reactors
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:18
    @ld01 There is no plume of radiation that has reached the US coast (as of Fri Mar 18). There have been lots of meteorological estimates about how much might reach here, but all estimates are very low, insignificant amounts. Search on the web to find some of these estimates.
    comment by Nick in Seattle at 20:14
    Japan weighs need to bury nuclear plant
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:12
    John, for me personally with such limited information on the precise level in the pool in #3 plant from the plant data, and , without a visual inside the facility I can only venture a guess that the structure had to have had some damage from the explosions. Until some one can either get a remote camera in .. or photo it is impossible to tell the exact nature of damage or precise water level, or condition of the many fuel elements stored in the storage grids
    comment by dean at 20:09
    @kb I apologize for the unit mistake. PeterC, I believe I am correct on these figures though - see NRC website www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/around-us/doses-daily-lives.html To correct my earlier comment and to avoid panic, Ibaraki figures at 750nSv/h would reach allowable 100mSv/yr in 7.6 yrs, so well within yearly allowables at current conditions
    comment by powell at 20:09
    To giver perspective... Sweden had a rather large dose radioactive fallout of cesium-137 from the Chernobyl accident (actually the russians did not inform and it was our own nuclear plants who detected it. This was 25 years ago and we have not had an increase in cancers because if this and yet we pick berries and mushrooms and hunt moose and other wild animals. If you look into recent research (not rumours) exept for thyroid cancer with children (then drinking contaminated milk) not even people close to Chernobyl can be proved to have proven effects: there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure two decades after the accident. www.unscear.org
    comment by Maria edited by Aviva West at 20:08
    We keep hearing about this "plume" of radiation that has reached the West Coast. Yet I can find no mention of any such thing in the news stories from earlier in the week. The stories all mention computer models of wind patterns but make no mention of the actual radiation. Only one person on CNN had addressed the "plume" and he said it was a theoretical scenario did did not occur. Can anyone give us real facts on this "plume"?
    comment by ld01 at 20:07
    Harmless radiation may reach Europe soon: expert
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 20:06
    @Meretisa Gy is the SI unit for absorbed radiation. It is the same unit as Sivert (Sv) for gamma rays and x-rays.
    comment by Ron Lau at 20:05
    Radiation readings for every prefecture: www.mext.go.jp (English versions available further down) and radiation readings near Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP outside the 20km evacuation zone: www.mext.go.jp (English versions have english titles) Source: MEXT, Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Updated several times daily. (PDFs)
    comment by heywood edited by Aviva West at 20:05
    @ dean What is it that makes you believe the pool in reactor #3 has not been destroyed?
    comment by John at 20:04
    It looks to me like the people in northern Honshu need temporary housing units like what FEMA was using after Katrina. Is there any way to ship 20 or 30 thousand of those to Japan? It wouldn't fix the problem, but it would help.
    comment by JoelUpchurch at 20:03
    Radiation Measurement Units, cross-refence

    www.civildefensemuseum.com
    comment by fezfatale edited by Aviva West at 20:03
    I put out a note earlier, the average spent fuel element pool contains about 400,000 gallons of water. That equates to about 1600 tons of water. If THE pool can be kept full enough to cover the fuel and with cooling flow, the fuel will not over heat. It was reported that the temperaures in the unit 5 and 6 are about 140 degrees F which is roughly 50 degrees over where it should be. The water cooling flow is about 600-900 gallons per minute and it goes to a heat exchange to remove heat.
    comment by dean at 19:59
    Frequently used SI multiples are the millisievert (1 mSv = 10−3 Sv = 0.001 Sv) and microsievert (1 μSv = 10−6 Sv = 0.000001 Sv).

    An older unit of the equivalent dose is the rem. In some fields and countries, the rem and millirem (abbreviated mrem) continue to be used along with Sv and mSv, causing confusion. Here are the conversion equivalences:

    1 Sv = 1000 mSv (millisieverts) = 1,000,000 μSv (microsieverts) = 100 rem = 100,000 mrem (millirem)
    1 mSv = 100 mrem = 0.1 rem
    1 μSv = 0.1 mrem
    1 rem = 0.01 Sv = 10 mSv
    1 mrem = 0.00001 Sv = 0.01 mSv = 10 μSv
    (from wikipedia)
    comment by Maria at 19:57
    @Meretisa, here is one such table: www.stevequayle.com
    comment by PeterC edited by Aviva West at 19:56
    Supply concerns grow as Japan lacks parts, power
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 19:54
    I have a question: please show me a table relating the following figures Sv, mSv, uSv, nGy, Gy, mrem, etc. It is highly confusing to see numbers shifting around between all these SI units. It makes understanding the scope of the situation very difficult at best.
    comment by Meretisa at 19:52
    @lennansidhe lennan - The containment option was discussed in the lead story from Reuters - This option is very viable to reducing Global impact but increases regional damage. so in response, there is a different option outside of cooling.
    comment by ThunderD at 19:52
    Power effort crucial in Japan's nuclear crisis www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 19:49
    Employees of Tono municipal office observe a moment of silence in Tono, northern Japan March 18, 2011, to mark the one week anniversary of a deadly earthquake triggering a tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
    by Corinne Perkins at 19:49
    @powell, I think you must be mistaken that most people see 10-20 mSv (milliSeiverts) per year. That comes out to 1000-2000 mrem (millirem) per year. The NRC radiation dose limit for protecting members of the public is 100 mrem per year. You wouls need to be a radiation worker to get 1000-2000 mrem per year.
    comment by PeterC at 19:48
    Everyone is frustrated about the lack of measured valus of water etc, but has it occured that they just can not be given by anyone as no one can ger close enough to the reactors to actually check and all instruments are wiped out. I am absolutely sure Tepco/Japan would tell IF they know. The problem is not lying but not knowing.
    comment by Maria at 19:47
    @Jay77 I am going to Tokyo at the end of this month, barring really bad development of course. It's undeniable that the Japanese culture is one that keeps things secret, but at the same time it's a culture of honor as well. They would not lie outright if they know for certain that you (the people) are going to get sick or die ..
    comment by lucidity at 19:47
    realtime figures for Ibaraki here www.houshasen-pref-ibaraki.jp
    comment by sputnik edited by Aviva West at 19:46
    @powell: Those values are in nGy. 750 nGy = 0,75uGy.
    comment by kb at 19:46
    Consider that the spent fuel pools do not have to be full to completely cover the rods. There is a large margin of water (~10m) above the top of the fuel rods under normal conditions. This is for radiation shielding, which is of no importance right now. Temperature is the key. 50 tons is still very little considering the amount of water needed. Nevertheless every drop of coolant they manage to get onto the rods is valuable. But it is a makeshift last ditch effort, which is not made easier by the fact that there is very little practical experience with spent fuel melting afaik, which doesn't make things easier for the workers and engineers.
    comment by sputnik at 19:45
    Even if you assume R3's spent fuel pond was half full, with 50 tons of water put in there a day, you still have a net negative of 92 tons ( 1000 tons lost over 7 days = 142 per day - 50 tons = 92 ). My point is that it is still an escalating situation and they are not getting ahead of it.
    comment by Norman66 at 19:44
    If these sources are correct www.bousai.ne.jp and to do the math for everyone, people in Ibaraki prefecture receiving 750uSv/hr will receive a years worth of the US recommended dose in the first 6 days. Even the lowest readings in Japan will reach the limit in 70 days or so. This is based on current conditions. The situation has not stabilized. Stay informed.
    comment by powell at 19:43
    @Dante It seems that the situation would need to get substantially worse for a prolonged period to pose a real danger to Tokyo. I didn't believe that a few days ago, but now I'm much more hopeful for Tokyo. Particularly since it seems they are finally making good progress on mitigating the situation. This whole thing has made me wonder, though about the physical and logisitical impossibility of evacuating a city of 36 million.
    comment by Jay77 at 19:42
    Meal Supply, water supply & evacuation places (East Japan)(Japanese). maps.google.co.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Aviva West at 19:41
    @ThunderD -- they can't contain the reactors until they are under control -- which is what the cooling effort is! My deepest gratitude to the TEPCO workers who are risking their lives to save us all.
    comment by lennansidhe lennan at 19:39
    the earlier quoted piece by The Australian (www.theaustralian.com.au) offers interesting if frigthening insight into the possible reasons why we dont get a clear picture regarding radiation measurements. Its a culture of not disclosing worrying information until its absolutely undeniable, and it has been observed throughout the crisis. the fact that the IAEA head traveled to Japan to personally oversee the situation is quite meaningful. To me, its a scary scenario, that the sitaution still is run by the utility instead by a joint international taskforce under the authority of the governement or even UN, especially considering the past record of tepco falsifying information and ignoring safety, and their lack of crisis-management displayed during the last days. my heart pains when i think of the heroes remaining on site, and who should have been replaced long time ago who are not allowed to withdraw
    by MH edited by Aviva West at 19:39
    @Norman66 I had thought the same. That would only equate to 2-3% of the normal pool volume. Has anyone established wether or not there is indeed an intact pool in reactor #3?That part of the building looks demolished?
    comment by John at 19:38
    @Norman66 There are other variables. Some water lies below the rods, some water surrounds the rods and some water is on top of the rods. The rods being exposed is the problem. It is doubtful that the tank has ever become "bone dry."
    comment by susanresearcher at 19:37
    There needs to be a larger push to contain, not cool these reactors. Thanks to Reuters for asking the hard questions in the morning lead story.
    comment by ThunderD at 19:36
    Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty says the yen was challenging Japan's recovery by trading in a disorderly way. He adds that the G7 discussed the nuclear situation and all are prepared to help.
    by Aviva West at 19:36
    The wind is changing (According to CNN Weather) Heading toward Sendai. This is potentially one of the many "if's" that is coming to fruition.
    comment by Lucid_OS at 19:33
    @lucidity yes, most people see about 10-20mSV per year. Current levels are claimed to be 20mSv per hour at reactor 3. Total allowable levels for workers was raised from 100 to 250mSv, a level that may be reached in only 12 hrs exposure. Also, to put things in perspective - trace radiation is being detected 5000 miles away.
    comment by powell at 19:32
    Doing some math on filling the spent fuel pond at reactor 3. Yesterday the Govt. and Tepco said they were aiming to spray 50 tons of water in the pond. Previously they said they believed the pond was essentially empty. The pond holds 2000 tons of water. Since the accident happened 7 days ago, that means that on average 285 tons per day either boiled off or leaked out. Based on those numbers, 50 tons cannot work to replenish coolant levels.
    comment by Norman66 edited by Aviva West at 19:31
    Here is the status of Fukushima nuclear reactors as of friday night JST - Kyodo news english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by akki edited by Aviva West at 19:30
    @Mabelli The fuel from the #4 Reactor was removed during a December 2010 inspection. This means the only nuclear material in the building housing Reactor #4 is in the spent fuel pool, there is no nuclear material in the reactor itself.
    comment by ids at 19:30
    @Mabelli : it means they are standing without containment and unmoderated in a probably damaged pool with few (or no) water and without roof.
    comment by Matsuoko at 19:29
    @Dannie The water evaporates, but the radioactive particles become airborne.
    comment by susanresearcher at 19:28
    We hear intermittently that relief is having a hard time reaching remote areas due to bad road conditions, so why have they not expedited the relief by going by air?Why have there not been any pics of helicopters dropping aid supplies to people in hard to access areas? Or of helicopters plucking stranded people from isolated areas? I've been on this site regularly for a week and seen only 1 pic of a helo lifting a person stranded on a roof. IMO, visual flight rules in force, the skies over the eastern Japan coast should be buzzing with helicopters.
    comment by SAE at 19:27
    I did the test on www.new.ans.org and turns out in the past year I've been exposed to about 20 mSv
    comment by lucidity edited by Aviva West at 19:25
    @Dannie into steam, left in the vessel, or into the ground. I doubt much of it went into the ground or the sea.
    comment by lucidity at 19:24
    @Dante and others in Japan I think it is well understood that this situation has the potential to escalate dramatically in a short period of time, and there has been plenty of data posted indicating potentially hazardous conditions in surrounding prefectures. You can imagine the panic created if people were told to evacuate, so use your judgement and plan ahead accordingly.
    comment by powell at 19:24
    Few radioactive particles on U.S. west coast: sources
    www.reuters.com
    by Aviva West at 19:23
    When IAEA informs that "Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that, prior to the earthquake of 12 March, the entire fuel core of reactor unit 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had been unloaded from the reactor and placed in the spent fuel pond located in the reactor's building." What does it mean? Thank you. www.iaea.org
    comment by Mabelli edited by Aviva West at 19:22
    Does anyone know what happens with the salt water they used to cool the reactors? This water must be highly contaminated and as far as I know this question remains unanswered and largely unasked.
    comment by Dannie at 19:21
    The most intersting monitoring point would certainly be downwind in the pacific. At least one would know what was coming if the wind changed.
    comment by sputnik at 19:20
    @Mark This is interesting that they place the monitors to the west. This would generally be upwind. And higher readings would be more downwind, to the east, tho sometimes to the south. Pity they don't have monitors in all 4 directions.
    comment by susanresearcher at 19:19
    I think the reason the reactor situation is distracting is not that the current situation seems particularly lethal (unless your at the site), it is that there is chance it could dramatically escalate. (see MIT analysis mitnse.com )
    comment by Steve at 19:17
    NEWS ADVISORY: Tokyo Fire Dept. begins dousing coolant water over Fukushima reactor - Reported by Kyodo english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by akki at 19:16
    It will be interesting to see where that 20 mSv/hr reading was taken, TEPCO has mostly been reporting readings from the west (main) gate (PDF in Japanese) www.tepco.co.jp and from monitoring point 4 www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by Mark at 19:16


    ==

    Published: March 16, 2011
    Status of the Nuclear Reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant
    None of the six reactors at the plant have operated since the earthquake. But explosions have damaged four of the buildings, and fuel in the reactors and spent fuel stored in the buildings is in danger of melting and releasing radioactive materials.
    Reactor 1
    MARCH 18, 9:45 PMJapanese authorities raise the assessment of severity of the accident to a 5 out of 7 on the international nuclear event scale.
    MARCH 18The plant expects to run a power cable to the reactor by Saturday to restart water pumps needed to cool fuel rods.
    March 12, 8:20 PMWorkers start flooding the reactor with seawater in a desperate effort to cool it.
    MARCH 12, 5:00 PMRadioactive materials, including an isotope of iodine, are detected.
    March 12, 3:36 PMAn explosion blows the roof and top walls off the reactor building. The reactor containment vessel is not significantly damaged.
    March 12, 5:22 AMThe pressure-suppression pool stops working properly.
    March 12, 3:48 AMOperators start injecting water into the reactor to cool it.
    March 11, 3:41 PMBackup diesel generators for running the plant's cooling systems fail.
    March 11, 2:46 PMAn earthquake sparks a tsunami. The reactor shuts down automatically, though its fuel continues to produce large amounts of heat.
    Outer building is damaged and it is presumed that there was a partial meltdown. Small amounts of radioactivity have been vented. Reactor has 400 fuel assemblies, the spent fuel pool has 292.
    .
    Reactor 2
    MARCH 18, 7:15 PMJapanese authorities raise the assessment of severity of the accident to a 5 out of 7 on the international nuclear event scale.
    MARCH 18There is an uncontrolled steam release from the reactor. The plant expects to run a power cable to the reactor by Saturday.
    MARCH 15, 6:14 AMAn explosion near the pressure suppression pool damages the containment vessel around the reactor.
    MARCH 12, 3:48 AMOperators start injecting water into the reactor to cool it.
    March 11, 3:41 PMBackup diesel generators for running the plant's cooling systems fail.
    MARCH 11, 2:46 PMAn earthquake sparks a tsunami. The reactor shuts down automatically, though its fuel continues to produce large amounts of heat.
    Partial meltdown is presumed to have occurred. The primary containment vessel is cracked and some radioactivity has vented. Reactor has 548 fuel assemblies, the spent fuel pool has 587.
    .
    Reactor 3
    MARCH 19, 12:45 AMFire engines hose down the building for 25 minutes to try to fill up the spent fuel pool.
    MARCH 18, 7:15 PMJapanese authorities raise the assessment of severity of the accident to a 5 out of 7 on the international nuclear event scale.
    MARCH 18, 2:00 PMFire trucks are again used to try to hose down the building and the spent fuel pool.
    MARCH 17, 7:00 PMWater cannon trucks spray water on the reactor building for an hour, though it is unknown if it has any effect.
    MARCH 17, 9:48 AMHelicopters make four passes to dump water on the building in an effort to cover the spent fuel, which may have been exposed to the air.
    MARCH 14, 11:01 AMAn explosion damages the reactor building and the primary containment vessel. Eleven workers are injured.
    MARCH 13, 9:00 AMPlant operators detect increasing levels of radioactive material.
    MARCH 13, 6:00 AMInjection of water fails and officials warn that an explosion is possible.
    MARCH 12, 8:25 PMA safety valve is opened to reduce pressure and seawater containing boric acid is injected in the reactor.
    MARCH 12, 3:48 AMOperators start injecting water into the reactor to cool it.
    March 11, 3:41 PMBackup diesel generators for running the plant's cooling systems fail.
    MARCH 11, 2:46 PMAn earthquake sparks a tsunami. The reactor shuts down automatically, though its fuel continues to produce large amounts of heat.
    The reactor used uranium and plutonium, which may produce more toxic radioactivity. The spent fuel pool may have become uncovered. Reactor has 548 fuel assemblies, the spent fuel pool has 514.
    .
    Reactor 4
    MARCH 17Engineers say the spent fuel pool appears to be leaking as water is disappearing too quickly to be only caused by evaporation.
    MARCH 17, 5:00 AMThe chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the water covering the spent fuel rods may have boiled off.
    MARCH 16, 5:45 AMA fire is reported in the building. An inspection 30 minutes later finds no sign of a fire.
    MARCH 15, 7:00 PMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 183 degrees Fahrenheit (normal is 77 degrees).
    MARCH 15, 6:00 AMA hydrogen-gas explosion created by chemical reactions with the spent fuel rods damages the building. A fire also breaks out.
    MARCH 14, 7:08 PMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 183 degrees Fahrenheit.
    MARCH 11, 2:46 PMAn earthquake hits just off the coast, sparking a tsunami. The reactor was already shut down for maintenance.
    Spent fuel rods in a water pool may have become exposed to air, emitting radioactive gases. An explosion and fire have damaged the building. No fuel assemblies in reactor; 548 were removed for maintenance and are part of 1,479 in spent fuel pools.
    .
    Reactor 5
    MARCH 18, 3:00 AMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 150 degrees Fahrenheit (normal is 77 degrees).
    MARCH 17, 12:00 PMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 148 degrees Fahrenheit.
    MARCH 16, 12:00 PMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
    MARCH 15, 7:00 PMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 141 degrees Fahrenheit.
    MARCH 14, 7:08 PMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 139 degrees Fahrenheit.
    MARCH 11, 2:46 PMAn earthquake hits just off the coast, sparking a tsunami. The reactor was already shut down for maintenance.
    The reactor is shut down and the building is not damaged. But there is concern that spent fuel in the building may become exposed to air. Reactor has 548 fuel assemblies, the spent fuel pool has 826.
    .
    Reactor 6
    MARCH 18, 3:00 AMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 144 degrees Fahrenheit (normal is 77 degrees).
    MARCH 16, 12:00 PMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
    MARCH 15, 7:00 PMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 137 degrees Fahrenheit.
    MARCH 14, 7:08 PMTemperature in the spent fuel pool is 136 degrees Fahrenheit.
    MARCH 11, 2:46 PMAn earthquake hits just off the coast, sparking a tsunami. The reactor was already shut down for maintenance.
    The reactor is shut down and the building is not damaged. But there is concern that spent fuel in the building may become exposed to air. Reactor has 764 fuel assemblies, and there are 1,136 in spent fuel pools.


    ===

    Japan weighs need to bury nuclear plant; tries to restore power18 Mar 2011 13:34

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    Fire engines in Iwaki city, Fukushima prefecture, prepare to head to Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant March 18, 2011. Mandatory Credit REUTERS/Kyodo
    * Japan nuclear agency says aware of "Chernobyl solution", to bury reactor

    * Engineers still trying to restore power to reactors

    * G7 agrees rare concerted intervention to restrain yen rise

    * Japan's Nikkei index ends up 2.72 percent, down 10.2 pct on week (Adds details)

    By Shinichi Saoshiro and Yoko Nishikawa

    TOKYO, March 18 (Reuters) - Japanese engineers conceded on Friday that burying a crippled nuclear plant in sand and concrete may be a last resort to prevent a catastrophic radiation release, the method used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl in 1986.
    But they still hoped to solve the crisis by fixing a power cable to two reactors by Saturday to restart water pumps needed to cool overheating nuclear fuel rods. Workers also sprayed water on the No.3 reactor, the most critical of the plan's six.

    It was the first time the facility operator had acknowledged burying the sprawling 40-year-old complex was possible, a sign that piecemeal actions such as dumping water from military helicopters or scrambling to restart cooling pumps may not work.

    "It is not impossible to encase the reactors in concrete. But our priority right now is to try and cool them down first," an official from the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, told a news conference.


    As Japan entered its second week after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and 10-metre (33-foot) tsunami flattened coastal cities and killed thousands, the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl and Japan's worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two looked far from over.

    Around 6,500 people have been confirmed dead from the earthquake and tsunami while 10,300 are missing, many feared dead.

    Some 390,000 people including many elderly are homeless and battling near-freezing temperatures in makeshift shelters in northeast coastal areas. Food, water, medicine and heating fuel is in short supply.

    The government signalled it could have moved faster in dealing with the multiple disasters.

    "An unprecedented huge earthquake and huge tsunami hit Japan. As a result, things that had not been anticipated in terms of the general disaster response took place," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference.

    Japan also raised the severity rating of the nuclear crisis from Level 4 to Level 5 on the seven-level INES international scale, putting it on a par with America's Three Mile Island accident in 1979, although some experts say it is more serious.

    Chernobyl was a 7 on the INES scale
    .


    Tourists, expatriates and many Japanese continue to leave Tokyo, fearing a blast of radioactive material from the nuclear complex 240 km (150 miles) to the north, even though health officials and the U.N. atomic watchdog have said radiation levels in the capital were not harmful.

    That is little solace for about 300 nuclear plant workers toiling in the radioactive wreckage, wearing masks, goggles and protective suits with seams sealed off by duct tape to keep out radioactive particles.

    "My eyes well with tears at the thought of the work they are doing," Kazuya Aoki, a safety official at Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, told Reuters.


    Even if engineers restore power at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the pumps may be too damaged from the earthquake, tsunami or subsequent explosions to work.

    The first step is to restore power to pumps for reactors No. 1 and 2, and possibly 4, by Saturday, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, Japan's nuclear safety agency spokesman.

    By Sunday, the government expects to connect electricity to pumps for its badly damaged reactor No.3 -- a focal point in the crisis because of its use of mixed oxides, or mox, containing both uranium and highly toxic plutonium.

    Asked about burying the reactors in sand and concrete, Nishiyama said: "That solution is in the back of our minds, but we are focused on cooling the reactors down."

    Burying the reactors would leave part of Japan off-limits for decades. "It's just not that easy," Murray Jennex, a San Diego State University in California professor said when asked about the so-called Chernobyl option to bury the reactors.

    "They are kind of like a coffee maker. If you leave it on the heat, they boil dry and then they crack," he said. "Putting concrete on that wouldn't help keep your coffee maker safe. But eventually, yes, you could build a concrete shield and be done with it."


    DOLLAR GAINS AS FINANCIAL LEADERS INTERVENE

    The Group of Seven rich nations, stepping in together to calm global financial markets after a tumultuous week, agreed to join in rare concerted intervention to restrain a soaring yen.

    The U.S. dollar surged more than two yen to 81.80 after the G7's pledge to intervene, leaving behind a record low of 76.25 hit on Thursday.

    Japan's Nikkei share index ended up 2.7 percent, recouping some of the week's stinging losses. It has lost 10.2 percent this week, wiping $350 billion off market capitalisation.

    U.S. markets, which had tanked earlier in the week on the back of the crisis, rebounded on Thursday but investors were not convinced the advance would last.

    The yen has seen steady buying since the earthquake as Japanese and international investors closed long positions in higher-yielding, riskier assets such as the Australian dollar, funded by cheap borrowing in the Japanese currency.

    Expectations that Japanese insurers and companies would repatriate billions of dollars in overseas funds to pay for a reconstruction bill that is expected to be much costlier than the one that followed the Kobe earthquake in 1995 also have helped boost the yen.
    MANY STILL WITHOUT ELECTRICITY, WATER, POWER

    The plight of those left homeless by the earthquake and tsunami worsened following a cold snap that brought heavy snow to worst-affected areas.

    Supplies of water, heating oil and fuel are low at evacuation centres, where many survivors wait bundled in blankets. Many elderly lack proper medical supplies. Food is often rationed. Rescue workers report acute fuel shortages.

    The government said on Friday it was considering moving some evacuees to parts of the country unscathed by the devastation.

    Nearly 320,000 households in the north were still without electricity in near-freezing weather as of Friday afternoon, officials said, and the government said at least 1.6 million households lacked running water.

    The government has told everyone living within 20 km (12 miles) of the crippled plant to evacuate, and advised people within 30 km (18 miles) to stay indoors.

    The U.S. embassy in Tokyo has urged citizens living within 80 km (50 miles) of the plant to evacuate or remain indoors "as a precaution", while Britain's foreign office urged citizens "to consider leaving the area". Other nations have urged nationals in Japan to leave the country or head south. (Additional reporting by Linda Sieg, Nathan Layne, Elaine Lies, Leika Kihara and Chris Gallagher; Writing by Jason Szep; Editing by Dean Yates and John Chalmers)

    ===

    "Work to connect power cables to the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors was temporarily halted Monday at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, after grayish and blackish smoke was billowing from the building of the No. 3 reactor, the plant operator said." english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Eric Cheney at 14:50
    Reply@Matsuoko: For more info could look at online.wsj.com for example. For my comment rearding the contact of water with radioactive materials, look at the design of the reactor buildings. The ocean currents along the coast of Japan will dilute any pollution by a factor of 50-100 and then sweep any pollution out to sea and down deep underwater. This is in agreement with the standard models of Pacific ocean currents.
    by nfreeman edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:47
    @Adam Pruitt : they are definitely not pumping sea water into anything, they are just spraying and hoping they hit the vessel or the rods to cool them down.
    comment by Matsuoko edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:46
    The government also says it expects to establish a power supply at the no.4 reactor "very soon".
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:40
    @Matsuoko: My understanding of pumping sea water into the reactors is to replace the evaporated water that is leaving the fuel exposed, not to flow in and drain out to the sea or otherwise as the conamination level of this water would be very high. Once power is restored to the pumps then water recirculation can resume, which is a more effective cooling method.
    comment by Adam Pruitt at 14:39
    The Japanese government says firefighters are postponing attempts to cool down reactor 3 after smoke is seen.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:39
    @NHK Listener - thanks for supplying the additional links. On this live blog we can pass on to you what Reuters correspondents are reporting. We're not in a position to comment on the veracity of other outlets' news reports.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:37
    @reuters here is another from japan times search.japantimes.co.jp that dispute your story
    comment by NHK Listener at 14:34
    NEWS ADVISORY: TEPCO hints at paying compensation over suspension of farm products (20:19). english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 14:34
    As a result of the Fukushima accident, the international community will have to ask itself if it is beneficial to the safety of nuclear power to have the same international agency that is tasked with the promotion of civil use of nuclear power as the one that is also responsible to monitor its safety.
    comment by sputnik at 14:33
    @jj - Japan orders halt to spinach & milk shipments from around nuclear plant: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:33
    @Reuters: Mark Kolmar - that would suggest food produced inside isn't.
    comment by jj edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:32
    Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuyama says Japanese food produced outside the nuclear crisis zone is safe.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:21
    @nfreeman : what are yourscources for that description?
    comment by Matsuoko edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:20
    @NHK Listener - To clarify, there is a difference between physically connecting the cables, and actually supplying electricity down them.

    The Reuters report is that cables have been connected at the reactors, but that work is still underway to allow power to be restored.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:27
    @reuters www3.nk.or.jp is still reporting that reactors 3 and 4 won't be hook up until tomorrow. Your story is questionable. uk.reuters.com
    by NHK Listener edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:24
    The IAEA head says the situation remains very serious, but he has no doubt it will be effectively overcome, and adds that nuclear power will remain an important and viable option for many countries.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:15
    @concerned: I don't think any information on sea water contamination or radiation levels have been released as of yet. Although I'd be interested to know. Also the impact would depend on the severity of contamination/exposure.
    comment by Adam Pruitt at 14:10
    @concerned: The water which drains into the sea (and does not stay in the pools inside the reactor buildings) is likely to have had little contact with radioactive materials. The ocean currents will disperse it and should mean that only a tiny increase over the background radiation level occurs.
    comment by nfreeman at 13:56
    It adds that there is no indication the need to take it will come at any point, and that making it available is "out of an abundance of caution".
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:56
    The U.S. says it is taking the precautionary measure of making potassium iodide available to U.S. personnel and their families in Nagoya, Tokyo, Yokohoma and certain other areas, although it stresses that no-one should actually take it now, and it should only be consumed if circumstances change and on notification from the U.S. government.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:54
    If there any information available on the lavels of radioactivity in the sea water around Fukushima? Have all the tons of cooling water that have been used in the meantime completely evaporated into the atmosphere, or is some of that drained into the sea? If so, would the impact remain mostly local?
    comment by concerned edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:46
    World Bank sees Japan slowdown as temporary: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:44
    The sorts of background radiation levels being reported in the US at the moment are of little consequence. Where there is a need to exercise caution, is in minimizing inhalation and ingestion of radioactive particles. The US Environmental Protection Agency has some excellent explanations regarding this on their website. www.epa.gov
    comment by Rudy edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:42
    @sputnik I'm just trying to assess the spread of radioactive particles in different prefectures with current condition of the north-east winds and high humidity. Gunma Prefectural Institute of Public Health and Environmental Sciences: www.pref.gunma.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 13:30
    Kyodo is reporting that the nuclear safety agency is saying smoke can no longer be seen coming out of the no.3 reactor.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:26
    @Sergey Nikitaev For those not familiar with these numbers one might want to add that in many plaves around the globe normal background radiation is in the range of 120nGy/h (it depends alot on altitude and soil). World average is around 50nGy/h
    comment by sputnik at 13:22
    Kanagawa prefecture`s radiation level now 160nG/y: www.bousai.ne.jp . National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology levels: www.aist.go.jp (very good info on isotopes)
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 13:12
    Jiji is reporting that Japan's nuclear safety agency says white smoke can be seen over no.2 reactor.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:11
    Here's an up-to-date overview: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:08
    Result of measurement for the environmental radiation (drinking water) 14:00 March 21, 2011: www.worldvillage.org "ND:Value below the minimum fixed quantity" - what does that mean?
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:08
    Progress at Japan nuclear plant, not turning point: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:50
    Rolling blackouts OfficialTEPCO (preliminary) today (March 21) second, do not perform any load shedding will be the third group. This load shedding is performed today. Thank you everyone for your help to save power. twitter.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 12:50
    Nuclear crisis forces firms to shift production from quake-hit region. www.asahi.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 12:49
    Yokosuka Naval Base is voluntarily evacuating families according to the Commander Naval Installation Command website www.cnic.navy.mil
    comment by PanageMan at 12:49
    One of the most visible faces of the Japanese Govt. in the last few days has been that of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano. Found his handling of the emergency and matter-of-fact way of speaking really impressive. I wish this country had more such leaders who get going when the going gets tough.
    comment by ani at 12:49
    A summary of the food exports news: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:36
    China jails man for spreading radiation rumours: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:35
    After a peak in the very early morning hours radiation levels in Ibaraki prefecture are stable at levels around 10 times background. No increase can be observed since grey gray smoke was observed rising from the no.3 reactor building. www.houshasen-pref-ibaraki.jp
    comment by sputnik at 12:30
    University of Aizu radiation measures: plixi.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:29
    Monitoring data at Ibaraki prefecture: www.mext.go.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 12:29
    BREAKING NEWS: No change seen in pressure inside containment vessel of reactor No. 3 (18:11)
    NEWS ADVISORY: Cause of smoke still unknown, no injuries of workers confirmed: agency (18:06) (Kyodo: english.kyodonews.jp)
    by Mina edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:18
    It is now ten days since the tsunami struck but still the victims are living off meagre rations as Japan struggles to cope with a disaster that stretched along hundreds of miles of twisting, cove-filled coastline. www.telegraph.co.uk
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 12:17
    The Cabinet Secretary says TEPCO should have primary responsibility for compensating affected food producers.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:17
    This link has radiation readings taken in Tokyo every minute for the last 5 days, readings have risen in the past 12 hours and are now back to where they were on March 17th. Current reading is close to twice the normal natural background level. Not dangerous. www.denphone.com
    comment by Mark edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:15
    The government has also told Fukushima Prefecture to halt shipment of raw milk.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:14
    The government has told four prefectures near the Daiichi plant to hold spinach shipments.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:05
    Average radiation has grown up to 5cpm on Tokyo. mu.jklmnop.net
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:04

    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:57
    Japan's nuclear safety agency says there is no significant change in radiation levels after the smoke at no.3 reactor.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:47
    JPN Red Cross & Int'l Committee of the Red Cross launched a website to help restore contact btw separated family members. twitter.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 11:44
    Trace amounts of radioactive substances detected in 9 prefectures english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by tchan edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:44
    A South Korean government agency also says it is to expand radioactivity inspections for food to include processed items.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:39
    Updated status on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Pedro Jesus at 11:32
    @sputnik BREAKING NEWS: The Nuclear Safety Agency says the Tokyo Electric Power Company informed the agency about 4:30 PM that gray smoke is coming up from the No. 3 reactor building of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. www3.nhk.or.jp
    comment by Jeff at 11:31
    Chinese state news agency Xinhua is citing hte country's quality watchdog as saying China will monitor food imported from Japan for radiation.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:26
    CNN: "[2:53 a.m. Monday ET, 3:53 p.m. Monday Tokyo] After more than a week of blowing from the northwest, winds in and around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan have now shifted - threatening to blow more radioactive emissions over more populated areas to the south." news.blogs.cnn.com
    comment by SteveA edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:24
    @superfrucht Pay close attention to the units. The site you are referring to reports in nanoGray/h, on this site www.mext.go.jp the Ibaraki prefecture readings are in microSv/h, while the wider area monitoring on the same website is reported in milliSv/h.
    comment by sputnik at 11:24
    Status of Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station (as of 3:00 PM) shows spike at 8.10am today up to 28.4uSv/h. www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 11:24
    WHO concerned about food radiation: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:22
    Since 10h, radiation has elevated in aeas far away from the plant: tinyurl.com/radiationpeak
    comment by superfrucht edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:17
    @ids NHK is saying now that the smoke is coming from where the spent fuel cooling pool is at..
    comment by NHK Listener at 11:16
    @reuters @ids The reported smoke from no.3, is that white smoke as in the recent days or dark? How come you assume there is a fire ids?
    comment by sputnik at 11:15
    The fact that TEPCO has evacuated workers tells me the fire is not electrical or oil related. The only reason TEPCO will be evacuating workers at this point is higher radiation levels.
    comment by ids at 11:11

    by linda.noakes at 11:11
    @Paranoia Agent A big danger. That is why they are checking thoroughly before slowly activating systems, even though they have connected the cables.
    comment by borrrden at 11:10
    Here's a round-up of the most recent developments uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 11:10
    Also, let's say they were to restore power to the building with a damaged electrical system causing a short or electrical surge with live electricity sparking out... What kind of danger would that put the workers in who are dousing these buildings reactors/SFP with water/sea water?
    comment by Paranoia Agent at 11:09
    Elderly survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami sit on a sofa at a relief shelter in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture, Japan on March 21, 2011. REUTERS/Aly Song
    by linda.noakes at 11:09
    TEPCO says unsure how many workers evacuated; 420 workers had been at the site as of Monday morning
    by linda.noakes at 11:08
    A volunteer (L) collects donations for earthquake and tsunami victims in northern Japan from a woman at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district March 21, 2011. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
    by linda.noakes at 11:07
    @Paranoia Agent No reports. Looking at the structural damage of no.3 and no.4 buildings it seems highly likely though.
    comment by sputnik at 11:05
    TEPCO confirms some workers withdrawn from nuclear plant after smoke detected at reactor 3
    by linda.noakes at 11:05
    Detailed Weather and Tide Forecast for Tomioka (Hukusima), Fukusima: www.tide-forecast.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 11:04
    Has there been any word on whether or not any of the electrical systems were damaged during any of the explosions?
    comment by Paranoia Agent at 11:04
    Smoke seen rising from No. 3 reactor at nuclear plant - NHK
    by linda.noakes at 11:01
    @Dennis Meyers sputnik's link has a really great graphic that I hadn't seen before. To further add to it, they are basically like "dead batteries." They still have radioactive byproducts (thus the need for proper storage), but not enough of the original uranium to continue being used in a reaction. Also, reactor 4's nonspent rods are in the pool with the spent rods (they were removed before the earthquake).
    comment by borrrden at 11:00
    TEPCO temporarily evacuates some workers from a part of the stricken nuclear plant - NHK
    by linda.noakes at 11:00

    by linda.noakes at 10:59
    The yen has stayed on the defensive but losses have been limited, in a sign that further action may be needed to curb the Japanese currency after the first G7 joint intervention in over a decade uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:57
    To recap, power cables are hooked up to all reactors at the plant, TEPCO says uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:56
    @Dennis Meyers Good explanation about spent fuel: www.nytimes.com
    comment by sputnik at 10:53
    Tokyo's Ginza shopping district is seen in this general view taken March 21, 2011. A smaller than usual number of people were seen in the popular shopping district despite Monday being a national holiday. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
    by linda.noakes at 10:53
    @borrrden what are spent fuel rods and what happens when they're exposed?
    comment by Dennis Meyers at 10:52
    @Dennis Meyers The fuel rods in no.1, 2 and 3 reactors have only been partially submerged in water over the last few days. See www.nisa.meti.go.jp and previous reports.
    comment by sputnik edited by linda.noakes at 10:52
    @inquiring mind wikipedia's source link for some of the info i cited wasn't working, so here is the plutonium fact sheet from Argonne national labs with the health risk figure i cited. www.evs.anl.gov
    comment by CrazyPerson at 10:50
    @Dennis Meyers Not directly no. There are some suspected containment area cracks in reactors 2 and 3 that allow steam to escape, though. The rods in the spent fuel pools, however, are exposed to open air when their water level drops.
    comment by borrrden at 10:48
    @Sergey Nikitaev "NHK just bailed out of live TEPCO briefing with announcer on set saying the briefing about "wet vent" "a little difficult to understand."" Could you clarify? Can't find it under the link you posted.
    comment by sputnik at 10:48
    Japan's Cosmo Oil says it has put out a fire at its 220,000 barrels per day Chiba refinery, but it is not yet sure when it will restart normal operations
    by linda.noakes at 10:48
    I actually haven't been keeping up to date. Are any of the cores exposed to open air?
    comment by Dennis Meyers at 10:46
    Our latest wrap, WHO warns of "serious" food radiation in disaster-hit Japan uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:45
    @Jun Yes, 6 was first to receive power, followed by 5. Reactors 1 and 2 are connected, and reactor 2 has received power to some systems. Pumps need replacement parts, though. www.iaea.org
    comment by borrrden at 10:44
    Japan Makes Progress at Nuclear Reactors, but Contamination Spreads. www.nytimes.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 10:43
    Q+A - Can Japan handle huge relief and reconstruction costs? uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:41
    @Dennis Meyers They have been running tests on the systems to assess their situation. More accurate and reliable data will be available as the systems are restored.
    comment by Pedro Jesus at 10:41
    @Dennis Meyers I believe only 5 and 6 (not too sure on 6) are working off the power grid, the other reactors only have power lines connected, they have yet to restore power to the systems (pumps/controls) on reactors 1-4.
    comment by Jun at 10:41
    The Stricken Japan plant missed scheduled inspections uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:40
    Now that the reactors have power again, what challenges does TEPCO still face?
    comment by Dennis Meyers at 10:38
    For some Japanese, tsunami memories go back to 1933 uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:37
    @Phil honestly I don't know, it shouldn't effect its chemical properties such as absorption rate via ingestion, I'm guessing that its not based on an isotopically pure mixture but rather
    @inquiring mind wikipedia, but it cited its sources pretty well
    comment by CrazyPerson at 10:34
    TEPCO says a pump in reactor 5 is now running on power from the grid
    by linda.noakes at 10:34
    TEPCO says power cables have been connected to the plant's No. 3 and 4 reactors. All six reactors are now rigged to power cables
    by linda.noakes at 10:34
    @CrazyPerson - Can you provide link to source material for that data? thanks
    comment by inquiring mind at 10:30
    Reuters' Yoko Kubota writes of how even the Japanese are amazed by the stoicism of the disaster-struck north uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:30
    NHK just bailed out of live TEPCO briefing with announcer on set saying the briefing about "wet vent" "a little difficult to understand." twitter.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by linda.noakes at 10:28
    @CrazyPerson - What isotope of plutonium are those DoE statistics for?
    comment by Phil at 10:28
    @inquiring mind ingested is less of a risk than inhaled, only .04% of plutonium oxide is absorbed by the body in that case.
    comment by CrazyPerson at 10:28
    I think the burial option(s) look better all the time. These things are not going to stop leaking for a very long time. We're not very far along with it right now and its looking not good for Japan in a lot of ways. Agriculture and fishing are going to suffer greatly even if it all stopped right now. The reason it will be covered up, sooner or later, is because no one seems to have the stomach for sending workers to their death. Can't say I blame them.
    comment by Jim Carver at 10:25
    @CrazyPerson - You wrote: "according to the U.S. Department of Energy estimates: that the lifetime cancer risk for inhaling 5,000 plutonium particles, each about 3 microns wide, to be 1% over the background U.S. average" - Do they mention anything about Ingested plutonium..since the question was about the effects on the water, i.e. the food chain infiltration???
    comment by inquiring mind at 10:25
    new NISA release www.nisa.meti.go.jp
    comment by Sin edited by linda.noakes at 10:25
    Japanese Prime Minister says the situation at the nuclear plant is improving slowly - Kyodo
    by linda.noakes at 10:23
    @SteveA: It seems CNN completely misunderstood the purpose of these pumps.
    Here's a statement from the company providing the pumps. It's pretty clear they will use it for spraying water: www.sanygroup.com
    comment by JBK at 10:22
    The Japanese concept of ‘wa’ — or harmony — may help Prime Minister Naoto Kan to solve his country’s mounting problems, writes Reuters breakingviews columnist Martin Hutchinson blogs.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:22
    @SteveA Jake is right, the concrete pump is for water, however unlikely that sounds. There was a long discussion of the issue right here. Check a few pages back for lots of info on the topic.
    comment by Bev at 10:21
    does someone happen to have a link to the latest MEXT radiation monitoring (the daily summary PDF, with map)? Thanks.
    comment by sputnik at 10:20
    @ids Here is our latest wrap uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:20
    @Reuters, could you link me to the most recent wrap up? Thanks.
    comment by ids at 10:19
    Read a report a couple of days ago where Ukraine suggested that Tin should be used to cool down the reactors at Fukushima. Has the Japanese Govt. considered that option? It sounds like a good idea to me.
    comment by ani at 10:18
    Midori Sato, from Date in Fukushima, receives a screening test for signs of nuclear radiation from a doctor at a welfare centre in Yonezawa, northern Japan, 98 km (61 miles) from the Fukushima nuclear plant March 21, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
    by linda.noakes at 10:18
    Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami will depress growth briefly before reconstruction kicks off and gives the beleaguered economy a boost, the World Bank says uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:16
    @JakeMelb - I quoted the CNN article; do you have a better source?
    comment by SteveA at 10:15
    Switzerland moves embassy from Tokyo to Osaka, reiterates that Swiss citizens should leave Japan: worldradio.ch
    comment by SteveA at 10:15
    A slideshow of the tsunami aftermath uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 10:15
    Japanese Metropolitan Radiation Readings Spike Once Again, As Wind Turns Toward Land. www.zerohedge.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by linda.noakes at 10:13
    @Sergey Nikitaev - I think a reading of 40 on a gyger is about double the normal background radiation for that area, still, I think that that count is a general idea of the intensity and not specific enough to show what the constituent parts are. See this link for more information on that...http://www.radiationnetwork.com/
    comment by inquiring mind at 10:12
    re TEPCO webcam ... looks like a raindrop on the lens.
    by Howzit edited by Howzit at 10:12
    @TMS - For sure!!!
    comment by inquiring mind at 10:12
    thanks
    comment by CJ at 10:11
    @SteveA incorrect, they're preparing to use the concrete pump to pump water.
    comment by JakeMelb at 10:11
    No to that post by @steveA they have been training the plant staff to use the concrete sprayer, to spray water
    comment by compelling viewing edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:11
    God bless the Fukushima Liquidators
    comment by TMS at 10:11
    Tepco webcam has cleared-ish. After three days watching it,this is the 1st time we have had 'black' smoke from the reactors. www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by compelling viewing edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:09
    Radiation level creeping up today in Ibaraki (maybe due to rainfall): twitter.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 10:09
    CNN: "Officials were training workers Monday to spray the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant's stricken reactors with concrete..." "A Tokyo electric official told CNN that six workers trying to restore electricity to that reactor have been exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation. " www.cnn.com
    comment by SteveA edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:07
    @ani I only mean in terms of the power plant, which seems to be approaching a sort of metastability, in terms of the humanitarian crisis and the need to see increased aid to the affected people, it seems like we haven't seen much improvement yet at all.

    @inquiring mind no you're right about plutonium being non-naturally occurring, however saying that one particle can cause cancer, its somewhat unlikely, strictly speaking a single particle of just about any radioactive element could be the one that causes cancer, even if its just a banana. Plutonium is toxic and will stay inside human tissues and bones for a long time (a biological half life of 200 years), and it has a radioactive half life of thousands to tens of thousands of years, so yes it is bad. I don't want seem like I'm ignoring the dangers here, but the total danger is according to the U.S. Department of Energy estimates: that the lifetime cancer risk for inhaling 5,000 plutonium particles, each about 3 microns wide, to be 1% over the background U.S. average. Not certain doom.
    comment by CrazyPerson at 10:06
    www.nrc.gov nrc uranium factsheet
    comment by banned seth at 10:06
    New file just posted showing readings at various points in Fukushima for 3/21 www.mext.go.jp
    comment by Robert S edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:58
    @seth - it is the 21st. You are quoting info from the 18th
    comment by compelling viewing at 9:55
    @CrazyPerson - You wrote: "uranium comes out of the ground in the first place, dilution will be enough"...Does plutonium also come out of the ground, and if so, will dilution be enough? Isn't it true that one single particle of plutonium can cause cancer in a person? Or have I missed something here?
    comment by inquiring mind at 9:55
    @CrazyPerson That's a perception I would say. I guess we are also kind of getting used to the chaos that surrounds us at the moment and we feel that life is returning to normal. This will take months and years to fix.
    comment by ani at 9:55
    The last token of a husband's love. KESENNUMA, Miyagi--A White Day present she will never forget shines on Eriko Ohara's hand--a delicate ring that would prove to be her last gift from her husband Yoshinari. www.yomiuri.co.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:55
    @BenF Municipal water supplies are filtered in a systematic way that doesn't easily allow adaptation to other methods based on sheer volume alone. Having said that, I agree that they should already be moving forward with plans to add activated carbon to their filtration methods. Maybe they are. But any project of that size will take months/years to implement, while the homeowner can spend $20 and attach the filter directly to his tap.
    comment by Bev at 9:52
    march 18 nuclearhistory.wordpress.com INTERNATIONAL Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano says Japan is “racing against the clock” to cool the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, as the official threat level is raised and the Pentagon prepares to send up to 450 radiological and disaster specialists to the site.
    comment by banned seth at 9:52
    Infectious diseases could proliferate in shelters. www.yomiuri.co.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:51
    @Sergey Nikitaev cpm is meaningless without knowing the sensitivity of the equipment.
    comment by borrrden at 9:50
    Even Japanese amazed by stoicism of disaster-struck north in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:49
    Japan fears unlikely to hurt ausie uranium sales news.smh.com.au
    comment by banned seth edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:47
    @building152 @ani That being said, we're a lot better off then we were a week ago.
    comment by CrazyPerson at 9:46
    @CJ never, the answer is never, at least for this disaster.
    comment by CrazyPerson at 9:46
    This is from a few days ago: www.msnbc.msn.com "Popping potassium iodide already? Really bad idea:
    Poison control centers hear early reports of sickness from preventive pills"
    comment by Robert S at 9:45
    Link to short article suggesting contaminated food is not a localized problem. I think, as of now, the post below saying 'contaminated food in Japn is a serious situation' is overstated. www.jpost.com
    comment by spleen edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:45
    @CJ There's been no perceptible change in radiation levels in the US according to the EPA's RADNET monitors. See www.epa.gov Honestly, I doubt the US will see anything unless you see a reactor building on TV totally engulfed in flames, and even then we might not see anything. Don't take iodine unless instructed! People are ending up at poison control centers because of that.
    comment by Robert S at 9:41
    @sam not even remotely, they said last week that a partial meltdown has already occurred and this is far from over
    comment by building152 at 9:40
    One measurement around Tokyo gives around 40cpm on gyger. mu.jklmnop.net
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 9:40
    From bioRobot To (Long Overdue) iRobot In 25 Short Years. www.zerohedge.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:40
    @Sam Not yet. They are barely managing to keep the temperature and pressure stable for a prolonged period of time. We are nowhere close to a resolution yet.
    comment by ani at 9:39
    The effects of radiation contaminated food not well understood, CNN edition.cnn.com
    comment by Jim Carver at 9:39
    The Cabinet of Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Sunday finally established a special task force to focus on providing support to victims of the March 11 mega-earthquake and tsunami. Not sure if the link will work. There is more info on Asahi Facebook page than website. www.facebook.com!/AJW.Asahi?sk=wall
    ...
    comment by karen89117 edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:38
    If Active charcoal Filters work, shouldn't the extE
    comment by BenF at 9:38
    If active charcoal works, shouldn't the standard filtering that is done on the provider Side catch that. I was under the impression that they were doing a lot anyways ? If not shouldn't they be doing that right now in ibaraki etc ?
    comment by BenF at 9:36
    Is it time to start taking Iodide pills in the US? If not, then when?
    comment by CJ at 9:36
    Can we say that Japan actually succeeded in preventing a nuclear meltdown?
    comment by Sam at 9:36
    Asahi Shinbun Confirms Nuclear Rods In Pressure Vessels And Spent Fuel Pools Are Damaged. www.zerohedge.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:36
    Understanding the
    radioactivity at Fukushima
    A physics and engineering perspective
    Prof. Ben Monreal
    UCSB Department of Physics
    online.kitp.ucsb.edu
    video: online.kitp.ucsb.edu
    comment by Robert S edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:34
    World health organisation spokesman says contaminated food in Japan is a "serious situation", food contamination is "clearly not" a localised problem
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:27
    @CrazyPerson I'm thrilled with the misread! Best mistake of the week for Tokyo residents. :-)
    comment by Bev at 9:18
    @Kavin That was the latest one listed on this site: www.mext.go.jp I don't know if they just published an old file with a new date but no new data, or if someone failed to update the date fields in the document.
    comment by Robert S edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:16
    @Bev Haha, you're right, I just realized I misread the article I was reading as "does not absorb well", instead of "does absorb well". Yeah, activated carbon filters will work.
    comment by CrazyPerson at 9:15
    Comprehensive report via www.bloomberg.com
    comment by karen89117 edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:14
    @Mac Authorities said don't go out for a walk, so don't. Let your dog do his business on the floor and clean it up. Unpleasant but hardly lethal.
    comment by Bev at 9:14
    FROM CNN:[1:04 a.m. Monday ET, 2:04 p.m. Monday Tokyo] Iodide pills will be made available Monday to U.S. military families and their dependents at four locations around Japan, according to the U.S. Navy's commander in Japan.

    The potassium iodide pills, which are commonly prescribed to curb the ill effects of radiation exposure, will be made available starting at noon Monday at U.S. military facilities in Yokosuka, Ikego, Negishi and Atsugi, according to a Facebook posting with information from the Navy's Japan operations.

    The message told people not to take the pills "until notified," and added that "there is enough potassium iodide in Japan for all" U.S. military personnel there. news.blogs.cnn.com
    comment by Sin edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:14
    Gamma ray radiation near Fukushima Dai-ichi. plixi.com Seems to fall in radiation at the station is only associated with the decay of iodine-131 and will soon stabilize at a fairly high level.
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 9:12
    @sarklaw Time will tell unfortunately.. As for venting you should have your answer in 24-48 hours.
    comment by NHK Listener at 9:11
    @inquiring mind Thank you for the link www.lenntech.com , toward the bottom it states RAI can be removed with activated charcoal, the simplest and most common method of personal water filtration. Let's hope they're right. @tchan, if you're still here, grab some Brita-type charcoal filters, it can't hurt.
    comment by Bev at 9:09
    can anyone tell me how to reduce radiation exposure for my dog when we go out for a walk?
    comment by mac at 9:08
    About 1 Gy = 1 Sv. There is a conversion of 1 Gy = 0.7 Sv in the reports by the UN Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), but this applies to the "environmental exposures to gamma rays of moderate energy" (or something like this) - I do not think it is applicable here...
    comment by nick from down under at 9:08
    @NHK roger that, i know they are, thank god, the us got into the game, not a moment to late, but that said , nothing about them monitoring goes to prove or disprove either of my posts about releasing gas when the winds change nor to the point about the ocean being contaminated, thanks though
    comment by sarklaw at 9:02
    @Robert S sorry, but that seems to be for yesterday...where is today's?
    comment by Kavin at 9:02
    @banned seth uranium comes out of the ground in the first place, dilution will be enough.
    comment by CrazyPerson at 9:01
    regarding the pressure, Thursday is too long imo. its 3 days from now. I afraid if the pressure build up too much, we may see another hydrogen explosion.
    comment by Jake at 9:01
    @sarklaw or the world if uranium get in oceans water table .it will dillute but it wont go away...
    comment by banned seth at 8:58
    @sarklaw You do realize the US is doing the monitoring from the air with a Global hawk and they are using another plane designed for monitoring hot zones right? And 9 Nuclear engineers on the ground?
    comment by NHK Listener at 8:54
    Tamane Mitsuko, a 60-year-old resident, prays outside her destroyed house in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture March 21, 2011, after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11. REUTERS/Aly Song
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 8:54
    Latest radiation readings: www.mext.go.jp (in Japanese, but there's a map)
    comment by Robert S edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 8:51
    @Bev - I don't know, personally, but I found this. Hope it is helpful. www.lenntech.com
    comment by inquiring mind at 8:51
    @Bev deionization will remove ions, as the name would imply, so it wouldn't necessarily do much against other forms of suspended matter. Interestingly enough removal of iodide would apparently decrease the solubility of elemental iodine, making it easier to remove, but I don't really know how useful that would be.
    comment by CrazyPerson at 8:51
    @reuter's lets hope through your efforts we do not let the Japanese people down!! Has anyone donated?? Good Day/Night to All!!
    comment by andre' at 8:51
    www.ieer.org uranium fact sheet www.ieer.org Fact Sheet
    Radiation and Human Health
    comment by banned seth edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 8:49
    @sarklaw That's what the alarmists said about seafood from the gulf of Mexico after the months of spewing BP oil. But mother nature has an astounding ability to heal herself. I had Appalachicola Bay oysters last weekend and they were superb. Don't panic yet.
    comment by Bev at 8:49
    Just commenting to say I am enjoying the pics that are coming up. Not because of the horrible tragedy, but because of the way the people are reacting. No one's looting for goods that aren't theirs. They're solemnly walking through, many picking up their own things. I'm impressed with the way they've handled their losses. It can't be easy to see all the things they once knew in such a destroyed state. Keep the images and stories coming. Got you app-tabbed to firefox so i can keep you running the moment I start up my browser. :D
    comment by lurker at 8:49
    Thank U Reuter's for the pics!! Hopefully
    comment by andre' at 8:49
    @Inquiring mind @CrazyPerson Thank you for the information! Would deionization remove the iodine from water, whether in elemental or colloidal form? Is that the "ultimate" mechanical method, aside from chemical binders?
    comment by Bev at 8:43
    Timing of release of pressure .... this is probably being delayed until Tuesday in order for the winds to change, because of the extreme radioactivity of the gas. TEPCO and co., do not want to alarm everyone as to the real toxicity in japan nor the us.
    comment by sarklaw at 8:42
    A resident walks near debris as seen from the inside of a destroyed house in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture March 21, 2011, after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11. REUTERS/Aly Song
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 8:41
    @David It is too early for it to be a water table issue.. It would have to be from any one of the explosions and the dust and debris in the air.
    comment by NHK Listener at 8:40
    WHAT about the radioactive seawater, they are using it to douse the plutonium, and uranium and trap the CS etc., then it is going into the Ocean. The sea life is toast and the fish, seafood should probably be avoided for many, many years to come!
    comment by sarklaw at 8:38
    What is a likely source for the radioactive isotopes they are finding in water supplies in Japan? Is it most likely to be from fallout from the venting/smoking from the Fukushima reactor complex, or is it possibly from cracked cooling pools leaking into the water table?
    comment by David at 8:35
    www.ieer.org
    comment by banned seth edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 8:35
    oh and that's ignoring any specific chemical methods to bind and remove iodine because I'm not a chemist.
    comment by CrazyPerson at 8:33
    if uranium is expelled from reactor 3 all bets are off for water supply for all...http://www.ieer.org/fctsheet/uranium.html
    comment by banned seth at 8:33

    ==

    Power cables hooked up to all reactors at Japan nuclear plant - operator
    21 Mar 2011 07:44

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    TOKYO, March 21 (Reuters) - Power cables have now been connected to all six nuclear reactors at Japan's tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power said on Monday.

    The last two reactors to be hooked up to power from the main grid on Monday were reactors No.3 and No.4, the two most badly damaged units, company officials told a briefing.
    The company, though, is checking for damage to the plant's reactor cooling systems and other plant machinery before attempting to power them up. It is operating equipment using grid power at reactor No.5 only, one of the least damaged reactors, the officials said. (Reporting by Mark Bendeich)

    ==

    Japan tests sea for radiation near crippled plant: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 15:57
    ReplySupply-chain woes hit more Japanese plants: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 15:48
    @Reuters: Mark Kolmar Ty and kudos to Reuters for staying ahead of this story. Surely most people would find the radioactive contamination of their food etc, unacceptable, regardless of the amount, the toxicity or the Half-life?
    comment by sota at 15:39
    The German environment minister says nuclear waste storage sites will also be checked.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 15:39
    She adds that further decisions should happen as soon as possible, "not over five years", and that she does not rule out safety checks having an impact on the life span of nuclear plants.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 15:37
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is not able to say whether the seven nuclear plants ordered to close will reopen again.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 15:30
    Ghost ship haunts tsunami-hit Japanese city: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 15:23
    Tiny amount of radioactive particles reaches Iceland: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 15:21
    Experts pore over contaminants: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 15:08
    Japan's nuclear agency says the spent nuclear fuel pool at reactor 2 is filled with water.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 15:01
    @edi1969 - as of earlier today, he had not visited the area: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 15:00
    @Reuters: do you know if Japanese PM Kan visited disaster area till now?
    by edi1969 edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:59
    Mark, the story about the Tsukiji fish market is a tragedy; however, it is worth noting that Japan imports much of its seafood, including about 80% of the pollack fishery in the Bering Sea, Alaska, the largest fishery in the world by volume, used to make surimi (fake crab). My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the tsunami victims. Thanks again for the great stories.
    comment by Grace at 14:57
    Japan's tsunami recalls devastation of World War II: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:57
    @sota - and a more detailed look at issues at the plant: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:50

    Thanks, @sputnik, went back a couple of hours or so for southern Tohoku precipitation map, and 1700 JST showed little or no rain: www.jma.go.jp
    comment by Alblee in Manila via Jma.go.jp at 14:41
    @sota - some more on missed inspections: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:40
    NISA coming under scrutiny reports the BBC saying "no proper inspections for 10 years" from bbcworld 1136GMT
    comment by sota edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:38
    Fish market reflects human tragedy, economic cost: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:36
    A small radiation spike could be observed in Ibaraki prefecture over the last two hours. Very likely due to rain. www.houshasen-pref-ibaraki.jp
    comment by sputnik at 14:26
    NEWS ADVISORY: External power connected to all 6 Fukushima Daiichi reactors (Kyodo news)
    comment by JohnS at 14:22
    @jon We have also seen data in the 170 to 100uSv/h from monitoring post 32 (MEXT reports) abou 30km NW of Daiichi in the recent days. This was down to below 100 as of yesterday.
    comment by sputnik at 14:17
    @Pawel yes it is common to wear masks during flu season but never to the point where everybody from young to old is wearing them.
    comment by mac at 14:17
    Current and extended weather forecast for Fukushima, Japan www.wunderground.com
    comment by sota edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:04
    Not yesterdays, @NHK Listener, although it is from about 10 hours back.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:03
    @jon @reuters that is Yesterdays news
    comment by NHK Listener at 14:02

    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 14:01
    Radiation hotspot discovered at edge of evacuation zone: english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by jon at 13:58
    @mac Isn't it a commonplace in Japan to wear surgical masks during flu season?
    comment by Pawel at 13:54
    Icy rain and fuel shortages hamper relief: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:49
    Everybody that I see in my city (80km from reactors) is wearing masks. They are all fearful of radiation exposure. My English school has lost half the number of students because most of them have evacuated to Southern Japan.
    comment by mac edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:48
    @sota JMA is usually a little different than USGS.
    comment by audi_driver2009 at 13:41
    Japan warns again on yen, extra budget seen by May: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:39
    He adds that more water injections are needed to cool down those three units, and that data showing a rise in temperatures around the core of reactor 1 is a concern.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:38
    TEPCO's vice president says it is too early to say reactors 1, 2 and 3 are fully stabilised.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 13:35
    BREAKING NEWS: TEPCO exec accepts responsibility for Fukushima nuke plant crisis (18:39) english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by sota edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:44
    another earthquake of 6 (second today) www.emsc-csem.org
    comment by edi1969 at 12:38
    Bank of Japan governor Shirakawa says he won't comment on if the government should issue bonds for disaster relief, but does say that the central bank underwriting government bonds would hurt confidence in the yen.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:35
    Thanks for the really great post about the sea water. Don't know about other environmentalists, but might say it may be a little unfair to people trying to avert a nuclear catastrophe to castigate them for trying whatever measures at this point are possible.
    comment by Grace at 12:34
    A Japanese government official says there is still a small amount of white smoke present at reactor 2, and that there is no longer any smoke at reactor 3.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:19
    TEPCO may scrap all six reactors at quake-hit nuclear plant. www.asahi.com
    comment by sota edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:14
    Japan tests sea-water radiation levels near damaged nuclear: uk.reuters.com
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:12
    The Higashimatsushima city government said it has prepared a large tract of land for burial of up to 1,000 bodies. It plans to bury about 20 bodies Tuesday. Mayor Hideo Abe said it is a temporary measure and the city government will cremate the bodies within two years. e.nikkei.com
    comment by NHK Listener at 12:10
    Kyodo report: "The government and TEPCO faced the additional challenge of seawater contamination Tuesday as abnormally high levels of radioactive materials have been detected in the sea near the crisis-hit nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture."
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 12:01
    Weather and Tide Forecast for Tomioka (Hukusima), Fukusima: www.tide-forecast.com Tue 22 night: heavy rain, wind 5km/h east.
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 12:00
    Power generator to be set up at high ground at Hamaoka atomic plant. english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 11:51
    Tohoku Electric says it will restart operations in early June at its Higashi-Niigata power plant to help increase national capacity. The plant has been suspended since April last year.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:48
    NEWS ADVISORY: Water being doused on No. 4 nuke reactor using cement spraying equipment (17:41) : www3.nhk.or.jp (Special vehicle).
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 11:46
    The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said it will study seawater at eight locations every 10 kilometers in the sea of 30 km off the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

    The utility also plans to study seawater at four locations off the Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture. e.nikkei.com
    comment by NHK Listener at 11:43
    Japan's Deputy Finance Minister Igarashi says there is no truth to reports that the government decided to issue bonds for disaster relief.
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:43

    A buddhist monk prays for the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami as bulldozers excavate at a temporary mass grave in Higashi Matsushima, northeastern Japan March 22, 2011. Twenty-four bodies were buried temporarily on Tuesday and more are expected due to the lack of facilities to cremate bodies in the city. The site will be excavated to accommodate around 1,000 bodies in total. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:35
    Defense Minister Kitazawa announced that operation of measuring surface
    temperature from the self-defense force helicopter will be conducted
    everyday given the situation of smoke risen from unit-2 and unit-3.(12:10,
    March 22) www.jaif.or.jp
    comment by NHK Listener at 11:33
    Monitoring data at Ibaraki prefecture 22 March: www.mext.go.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 11:32
    Guideline on Projected Dose Levels Requiring Shelter and Evacuation(see Reference): www.mext.go.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 11:32
    @Haystackt: as well as the Excellent observations made by Sven, with Chernobyl I believe they were also only dealing with one malfunctioning reactor.
    comment by Sarah D edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:32
    @NHK Listener - you can find all our special reports (as well as much more), on our Japan page here uk.reuters.com/places/japan
    by Reuters: Mark Kolmar edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:23
    @haystakt - such a structure would have to be earthquake and tsunami proof, it was never on any drawing board of any architect, by the time this would be ready to be build the accumulated radiation would limit the works to very small stints + the rods would have to be still cooled by some pumps (internal or external) causing more steam, more radiation etc.
    comment by Sven at 11:22
    Japan Meteorological Agency - Earthquake map
    www.jma.go.jp
    comment by ds at 11:22
    Global earthquakes: another link, updated about every 1/2 hour: www.aeic.alaska.edu
    comment by SarahDouts at 11:20
    @reuters I like this article. It is a good read www.reuters.com
    comment by NHK Listener at 11:19
    live earthquakes map & list www.emsc-csem.org
    comment by edi1969 at 11:15
    Monitoring results of seawater sampled at the front coast of the station showed that radioactive Iodine, I-131, and Cesium, Cs-134, 137, exceeding the regulatory limit were detected. www.jaif.or.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters: Mark Kolmar at 11:14
    Why don't the forces that be organize to use the huge steel dome drum already started for Chernobyl, finish it in good time, then use it for these reactors, with plugged caps through which one can both examine the condition and treat each reactor appropriately?
    comment by haystakt at 11:08
    @Albert Lee Epicenter was quite a way offshore. 272 km (169 miles) E (85°) from Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
    292 km (182 miles) ESE (111°) from Sendai, Honshu, Japan
    312 km (194 miles) E (99°) from Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
    415 km (258 miles) ENE (64°) from TOKYO, Japan earthquake.usgs.gov
    comment by sota at 11:05
    USGS is showing the last quake as 6.6 earthquake.usgs.gov
    comment by Jacomm3 at 11:03
    Factbox - Japan's disaster in figures uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 11:02

    Lance Cpl. Jonathan Blake, assigned to the 1st Marine Logistics Group, uses an AN/PDR-77 Radiac to detect possible surface radiation on the sole of a shoe during an authorized voluntary departure of DoD dependents and Navy civilians from the island of Honshu in this U.S. Navy handout photo dated March 21, 2011. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jonathan Kulp/Handout
    by linda.noakes at 11:00
    Thisnis the link to info about the 16:19 JST quake, Magnitude 6.3 with epicenter offshore Fukushima-ken Oki --> www.jma.go.jp
    comment by Albert Lee at 10:56
    And ANOTHER 6.6 right after the last
    comment by Erika at 10:45
    Thanks, @LeMoyne. Link, please, to the source?
    > @Q+A at end: "A breach of the containment building would
    > release radiation into the atmosphere." All six reactor buildings
    > have had containment breaches ranging from intentional holes
    > made in 5&6 recently to the general destruction of 1,3 & 4 last week.
    > comment by LeMoyne at 3:37 PM
    comment by Albert Lee at 10:45
    Japan's ruling party aims to compile its first supplementary budget to finance reconstruction after this month's devastating earthquake and tsunami in April or May in a process that will involve at least two stages, the party's secretary-general said. "We're considering a first extra budget from April to May," Katsuya Okada told a news conference.
    by linda.noakes at 10:44
    @foobar I do Believe that is the case at 1 and 3. With number 1 I think they will find the dry well cap is still in the building. The JDF is bringing in a Tank with bulldozer blade to move concrete and I would bet that is the piece of concrete in question.
    comment by NHK Listener at 3/22/2011 7:42:20 AM10:42
    Japan's Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda has shrugged off the possibility of the government asking the Bank of Japan to directly underwrite government debt to finance costs for disaster relief from the devastating earthquake earlier this month. "The BOJ is prohibited by law to directly underwrite government bonds," Noda told a parliamentary committee meeting.
    by linda.noakes at 3/22/2011 7:42:03 AM10:42
    Radiation levels in Ibaraki have gone up during the day but are falling again. www.houshasen-pref-ibaraki.jp
    comment by sputnik at 3/22/2011 7:41:11 AM10:41
    @Sputnik ooops. I really didn't look closely, sorry.
    comment by dealing at 3/22/2011 7:41:08 AM10:41
    M6.3 quake hit Chiba about 5 mins. ago. Light shaking here in downtown Tokyo. twitter.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 3/22/2011 7:41:02 AM10:41
    2 GSDF tanks sent to clear debris at Fukushima plant: www.yomiuri.co.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 3/22/2011 7:41:00 AM10:41
    @Q+A at end: "A breach of the containment building would release radiation into the atmosphere." All six reactor buildings have had containment breaches ranging from intentional holes made in 5&6 recently to the general destruction of 1,3 & 4 last week.
    comment by LeMoyne at 3/22/2011 7:37:27 AM10:37
    @dealing The link to the NRC diagrams shows the vessel head of a PWR, which is significantly different. In BWRs control rods are usually inserted from below, as the uppper end of the vessel is taken up by steam separators.
    comment by sputnik at 3/22/2011 7:37:13 AM10:37
    Earthquake List for Map of Asia Region: earthquake.usgs.gov - 6.6
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 3/22/2011 7:37:07 AM10:37
    @NHK Listener: So you conjecture that the drywell cap (and primary containment) is still in place but the refueling cavity (above the drywell) is now exposed to the atmosphere?
    comment by foobar at 3/22/2011 7:37:05 AM10:37
    Another quake off the coast of Honshu: 6.6 this time
    comment by Erika at 3/22/2011 7:34:27 AM10:34
    @Ulle I'm afraid that's a PWR, not a BWR
    comment by dealing at 3/22/2011 7:34:24 AM10:34
    It was Albert Einstein who said, "That's a helluva way to boil water."
    comment by Sonja at 3/22/2011 7:34:17 AM10:34
    Australia weighs nuclear push after Japan crisis uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 3/22/2011 7:30:59 AM10:30
    @steve - I read they put 60 tons of water in the spent fuel pool (SFP).
    comment by FradyKat at 3/22/2011 7:29:18 AM10:29
    @NHK Listener Ok, thanks. I think reactor 2 may only have steam buildup, and no hot spots, hopefully. The steam rising right now is from the current watering of number 3.
    comment by FradyKat at 3/22/2011 7:28:59 AM10:28
    To all those talking about the fact that more steam is shown, this is directly related to the spraying activities, which is happening RIGHT NOW (based on NHK news on the TV in front of me). I forgot which reactor they said they were spraying, but that's why you see the white steam/vapor/smoke in the tepco webcam image.
    comment by Ravlen at 3/22/2011 7:27:44 AM10:27
    there's a blog entry at CLL stating at 3:28pm Tuesday that firefighters resumed spraying water... the webcam image of the plant with steam rising is time stamped 4pm tuesday... could be steam from the spraying... I wouldnt want to take a steam bath in that personally
    comment by RLL at 3/22/2011 7:27:39 AM10:27
    sorry I forgot to provide the cnn link: news.blogs.cnn.com
    comment by RLL at 3/22/2011 7:27:30 AM10:27
    Someone was looking for the diagram on the BWR earlier - there is one here: netfiles.uiuc.edu Figure 20 on page 18.
    comment by Paus at 3/22/2011 7:26:21 AM10:26
    OPINION: Information controlled when atomic power out of control. english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 3/22/2011 7:26:07 AM10:26
    fradykat - the didn't pour any water at all into No. 2 as I believe. It didn't explode. They opened some vents/made holes to let the hydrogen out. Not sure if that was a good idea.
    comment by Steve at 3/22/2011 7:26:04 AM10:26
    Slideshow - Japan's evacuation centres uk.reuters.com
    by linda.noakes at 3/22/2011 7:23:59 AM10:23
    @Jake @Foobar: No schematic, but in the video posted here earlier, www.ustream.tv speaker shows a photo of the operations floor from one of these reactors. Does that help?
    comment by Ulle at 3/22/2011 7:23:24 AM10:23
    @Sergey This has only been updated to 21Mar. Official site. www.mext.go.jp
    comment by dealing at 3/22/2011 7:23:07 AM10:23
    @FradyKat I am pretty sure the IR images were used to determine what got sprayed first and for how long.. So before spraying started
    comment by NHK Listener at 3/22/2011 7:23:01 AM10:23
    Another earthquake in Japan just shook us in Tokyo. That is the third today. Probably 3 on the Japanese scale.
    comment by Worried at 3/22/2011 7:22:48 AM10:22
    I noticed in the thermal pictures that reactor #2 is orange (very warm) and I remember that they poured 60 tons of water into the SFP of reactor 2. My question is was the picture taken before or after the 60 ton watering?
    comment by FradyKat at 3/22/2011 7:15:39 AM10:15
    Wow, that photo doesn't look so good.
    comment by A.D. at 3/22/2011 7:15:30 AM10:15
    @Jake Don't know if this will help www.nrc.gov
    comment by dealing edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 3/22/2011 7:15:12 AM10:15
    @foobar, I believe the pic you are looking for can be found here: wissen.dradio.de
    comment by Sven edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 3/22/2011 7:14:44 AM10:14
    www.tepco.co.jp Much more steam in latest photo.
    comment by gabe edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 3/22/2011 7:13:33 AM10:13
    @Sergey Alot of steam coming out of buildings www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by dealing at 3/22/2011 7:13:02 AM10:13
    Latest readings (up to 13:30 JST) from TEPCO taken at the front gate. Japanese only. www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by relocated edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 3/22/2011 7:12:53 AM10:12
    @Sergey Nikitaev
    there is, about 23XX uSv near main building (in PDF). I don't have the link. Someone posted it 4-6 hours ago.
    comment by Jake at 3/22/2011 7:09:07 AM10:09
    @foobar Dry well cap is a giant concrete cap that sits above the reactor.. I posted the youtube of the reactor explosion for reactor no3. Everyone has been saying the pressure vessel cap was what it was but the rads do not support that at all. The jaif reports that are out also do not support that. So conclusion is that it must be the concrete plug.
    comment by NHK Listener at 3/22/2011 7:07:29 AM10:07
    Did somebody find data about measurement near main building? Did TEPCO or NISA provide explanation about gray and white smoke? I try to understand cause and effect of icident.
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 3/22/2011 7:06:56 AM10:06
    article about TEPCO's power shortage in 2003 (when it was forced to shut down all its nuclear power plants): eetd.lbl.gov "Saving electricity in a hurry"
    comment by akmeier edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 3/22/2011 7:03:17 AM10:03
    @NHK Listener : It would be very useful to have some of those photos that LCJ was referring to earlier. Could the debris you saw be the concrete shield plug (above the refueling cavity)? @Matsuoko yesterday claimed he could see the drywell head exposed in one of aerial the pictures of @3 (though I could not see anything in the pictures I saw). Could someone comment on the whether the radiation readings have been consistent with either of these structures blowing (exposing the drywell or the refueling cavity, respectively).
    comment by foobar at 3/22/2011 7:02:01 AM10:02
    @foobar
    seen that, it was in IAEA Technical Briefing of nuclear safety aspects of the situation in Japan >> www.slideshare.net << on 17 March. What we need is top view schematic diagram.
    comment by Jake edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 3/22/2011 6:57:47 AM9:57
    @Sergey Nikitaev Several reasons why they don't spray all 4 at the same time. 1. Containment structure is intact at some of the reactors, making spraying impossible. 2. There are only so many pump trucks to spray right now. 3. Apraying is done based on feasability and urgency.
    comment by Danny at 3/22/2011 6:57:18 AM9:57
    We can all do everybody else a good favor by uncluttering up this service, whose primary function is public news delivery, after all. Tips and direct informed inputs are fine, but other NOISE should best give way to NEWS. Lightening the stress on the moderators will help Reuters produce more edifying news for everybody. Thanks, all.
    > @foobar You will have to look it up.
    > It'll not be possible for us to search for it.
    > Sorry! ... by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 2:41 PM
    comment by Albert Lee at 3/22/2011 6:56:52 AM9:56
    SL here is the link for MEXT monitoring by prefecture. Best of luck to you. www.mext.go.jp
    comment by FYI edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 3/22/2011 6:56:12 AM9:56
    @sergey I believe thay addressed that at one of the earlier briefings. Said the trucks were too long to manuever around each other. But there's prob problems with equipment wear, etc. that made them not want to risk all at once. btw you're right about spike correlation, IMO.
    comment by dealing at 3/22/2011 6:55:41 AM9:55
    @SL ........Others have noticed that. I distinctly remember the IAEA saying that they were going to set up independant radiation monitors to verify the Japanese readings. My question - where is that monitoring data ?
    comment by Norman66 at 3/22/2011 6:55:26 AM9:55
    @dealing: I am definitely not an expert, but I would think that the problem would be too little water not too much, that is, if the rods intermittently get exposed and then recovered...experts?
    comment by foobar at 3/22/2011 6:55:17 AM9:55
    @Sergey Nikitaev Because reactor 1 is the most stable and doesn't need it (hasn't had a problem in a while), and reactor 4 is empty.
    comment by borrrden at 3/22/2011 6:55:11 AM9:55
    SL, look on MEXT site at this link for radiation by prefecture. It's up to date, and shows Ishikawa as fairly low. Hope this helps!
    comment by annb at 3/22/2011 6:55:09 AM9:55


    ==

    found the answer: The city water supply comes from a number of sources, including Doshi River in Yamanashi Prefecture and Lake Sagami and Lake Tsukui in the northwest of Kanagawa Prefecture. So there is possibility it might contaminated as well for Yokohama too...
    comment by wishknew at 11:31
    ReplyBlack smoke from Fukushima's no.3 reactor gradually settling down, says Kyodo
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 11:31
    @paul (UK) I've been scanning all Freeview news here this morning in UK, and there is no more than a sentence on each channel, with the mention of smoke on the tickers. Nothing else. If it wasn't for Reuters, NHK etc we'd know very little.....
    comment by compellingviewing edited by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 11:30
    Here's a roundup of the impact of this month's devastating earthquake and tsunami on Japanese manufacturers of cars and electronics. reut.rs
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 11:28
    @Paul (UK) The more that blasted smoke gets into the upper atmosphere and accumlates, trust me, the media will be talking about it for a long time to come.
    comment by TMS at 11:26
    @Sergey Nikitaev I agree. I think we are seeing something on a new scale. The heat is getting excessive in the pools or reactors or both. As for the US halting food imports, what happened to operation Tomodachi?
    comment by Worried in Tokyo at 11:26
    @Sin The point is to NOT take KI at present in Tokyo. The KI should be saved for when it is really needed, not squandered when it is not needed.
    comment by dd at 11:26
    Anyone know where tap water source is coming for Yokohama area?
    comment by wishknew at 11:26
    @Paul: you are so right
    comment by superfrucht at 11:25
    @Paul (UK) Couldn´t agree more. It scares me...
    comment by Cath at 11:25
    Is it just me or is the story changing along the lines of "there will be more radiation release" , reading between the lines there saying " we have a leak and we cant stop it ?
    comment by bathmagic at 11:23
    A Reuters analysis: Japan disaster could fuel production shift overseas reut.rs
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 11:23
    It appears from the photo that the smoke is mostly blowing out to sea - not good of course, but better than the alternative! Does anyone know if this wind direction is likly to remain the same?
    comment by Ulle at 11:22
    This is all so surreal to me... a potential worldwide disaster that could affect just about everyone on the planet - not exactly 'yesterday's news' - yet most people have lost interest it seems. All encouraged by a media shutdown of course. Disasters come and go regularly, most of them forgotten within days - surely an attitude that conveniently suits those with a vested interest in burying the truth? 'Just sit it out and they'll all get bored and go away' seems to be the line that works every time. If a comet ever heads towards us, they'd better not report on it until at most a few days before it hits, else we'll all lose interest. No doubt they'd also tell us there's 'no immediate threat' even then!
    comment by Paul (UK) at 11:22
    Japan chief cabinet secretary says no need to widen evacuation zone now around Fukushima nuclear plant
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 11:21
    @simon_in_tokyo On www3.nhk.or.jp the briefing is translated into English.
    comment by NELLAL edited by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 11:19
    The live webcam: www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by Jeff M at 11:19
    Japan agency says radiation level at Fukushima plant had been 435 microsieverts 2 hours before smoke seen
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 11:19
    Can anyone provide a summary for non jp speakers on Edano's comments?
    comment by simon_in_tokyo at 11:17
    Please, could someone post the link of the TEPCO webcam!
    comment by Atsuko at 11:17
    @taniaaust1: A picture of the used cement crane
    comment by ben via Sardog.eu at 11:17
    Do we actually know that TEPCO restricts access to the webcam or could it just be that the webcam server cannot handle the amount of traffic?
    comment by NELLAL at 11:15
    Japan agency: radiation level at Fukushima was 283.7 microsieverts shortly after smoke first seen
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 11:15
    @Sin IMHO it's very bad. I did not see smoke of such scale before on TEPCO web-cam.
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 11:14
    Quake-ravaged Japan digs mass graves reut.rs
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 11:13
    www.justin.tv NHK streaming on CNN now.
    comment by Darren edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 11:11
    @joopa joo A high chance of too much load breaking it.
    comment by simon_in_tokyo at 11:11
    That smoke looks very BAD. Experts?
    comment by Sin at 11:11
    New pressconf: www3.nhk.or.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 11:10
    @dd The point is to take KI as a preventative measure, the concentration in the water has increased, and will continue to increase especially given the current situation with the smoke.
    comment by Sin at 11:10
    @joopa joo A question I've asked myself. I think the answer is very simple: Tepco doesn't know what is happening on site, so they prefer openly censoring the cam to showing something really devastating, like #3 containment blowing up or something. If the cam doesn't show it, they can decide when to make the news public and how to spin it.
    comment by Salvador at 11:10
    I think most concern is now on food/water than the radiation in the air.
    comment by simon_in_tokyo at 11:10
    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano may be on a press conference soon.
    comment by cecilchow at 11:10
    knackk - CNN on justintv.com opened with brief information on the black smoke. I do not know if they will be expanding on the story. www.justin.tv
    comment by Darren at 11:10
    @Rick Not that fast. See: en.wikipedia.org . It`ll decay in period of 100 days totally.
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 11:10
    U.S. halts Japan food imports, Tokyo water contaminated reut.rs
    by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 11:09
    I think we need to put the radiation rates into perspective. Seems like people are scared of the "4-5x normal levels" in Tokyo. In Tokyo, normal is 0.03 uSv/hr. in New Hampshire, "normal" is close to 0.15 uSv/hr
    comment by Rick at 11:09
    annb - S/E corner is around the area of the spent fuel ponds.
    comment by Stevie2 at 11:09
    thanks for explaination on what the "robotic arm" is. Reuters is there an full update on things? Have they been able to go back and work on reactor 2? eg both reactor 2? and 3 currently evacuated. Seems the situation is getting more and more out of hand
    comment by taniaaust1 at 11:09
    @gg you don't need a fire to have something burning or smoldering. Something could simply be in contact with a heat source and thus causing the smoke.
    comment by Rick at 11:09
    I-131 has a half life of 8 DAYS not hours. This means if you have 1 gram, in 8 days you will have .5g of stable elemental iodine and .5g of I-131. 8 days later you'll have .25g I-131 and .75g elemental etc.
    comment by CTU Coyote at 11:08
    latest image from the webcam:
    comment by Kaiser via Ungestaltbar.de at 11:08
    @Rick I think Iodin-131 has a halflife of ~8 days, not hours
    comment by Hendrik at 11:08
    Camera is working now
    comment by katylied at 11:08
    @Rick Half life is 8 days not hours en.wikipedia.org
    comment by tchan at 11:08
    SAFETY TIP: If you are allergic to shellfish ASK A DOCTOR before taking KI or KI03. There is a strong chance of severe allergic reaction to include anaphylaxis
    comment by CTU Coyote at 11:08
    Cause of smoke at Fukushima no.3 unit is still unknown, says Japan nuclear agency
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 11:07
    Japan nuclear agency says smoke at Fukushima no.3 unit is from building that houses reactor
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 11:06
    Iodine-131 has a 1/2-life of ~8 hrs. So any contamination by the Iodine-131 will be gone relatively soon. So if radiation by Iodine-131 was causing 8x normal levels, it will return to normal after 24hrs.
    comment by Rick at 11:02
    Why does Tepco censor their webcam every time that something is happening? Who do they think they are fooling?
    comment by joopa joo at 11:02
    A little known scientific fact - you can't have black smoke without fire
    comment by gg at 11:02
    Black smoke seen rising from no.3 nuclear reactor at Fukushima plant – NHK; Nuclear operator Tokyo electric says ordered workers to temporarily evacuate
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman edited by Reuters_UrvashiSibal at 10:58
    @taniaaust1 I can confirm this. They use a 50 meter high cement crane to pump water into rector buidling #4. They try to fill the spend fuel pool. I have even seen a picture, but can't link it here because of copyright problems.
    comment by Salvador at 10:57
    @cecilchow Thanks. There is Nothing there on that link.
    comment by Grace at 10:57
    @Sin Highest Tokyo rate on 23rd was 0.154 microSv/hr, so if 100% was I-131 (is less), then to get a 10mSv dose for infant KI recommendation, at current dose rate, need time = 10mSv/0.154microSv/hr * 1day/24hr = 2706 days = 7.4 years. But, situation could change for better or worse, but no KI recommended at present I assume.
    comment by dd at 10:57
    @karen89117 Let`s see this: earthquake.usgs.gov about >6.0 quakes yesterday.
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:56
    i dont have tv just internet. is there any us tv stations reporting about the black smoke?
    comment by knackkl at 10:56
    TEPCO: No fire visible at No. 3 reactor, source of smoke is unknown.
    comment by Brandon at 10:56
    @taniaaust1 the "robotic arm" is the pump truck that's been there since yesterday. It's not as fancy as it sounds, it's the concrete pump truck that can be remotely controlled, and is currently used to pump water directly into the SFP's.
    comment by Rick at 10:56
    black smoke from reactor 3...workers evacuated
    comment by detroiter616 at 10:55
    @vindolin - I saved the last image from the webcam: i.imgur.com - that was taken at 3am EST/4pm JST
    comment by Matt via I.imgur at 10:55
    TEPCO pressconf now: gray smoke from N3. www3.nhk.or.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:55
    No flames seen from no.3 unit at Fukushima plant, says NHK
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:52
    @T.E.H. Standard KI regimen is 130 mg tablet/day for 14 days. Longer term use may have some negative side effects.
    comment by dd at 10:49
    @vindolin - I saved the last image from the webcam: i.imgur.com
    comment by Matt via I.imgur at 10:49
    I havent seen anything about the following here.. but my local tv station just mentioned that a robotic arm has been brought in and is now spraying water onto one of the reactors.
    comment by taniaaust1 at 10:47
    NHK reporting black smoke from Reactor 3 at 4:20 PM JST. TEPCO press conference confirms black smoke but TEPCO does not know the source.
    comment by ids at 10:47
    Tepco has cut the camera feed @http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/f1-np/camera/
    comment by cecilchow at 10:46
    NEWS ADVISORY: Details on smoke from Fukushima reactor still unknown: TEPCO (16:37)
    NEWS ADVISORY: Workers evacuate from Fukushima Daiichi's No. 3 reactor due to black smoke (16:36)
    NEWS ADVISORY: Black smoke seen rising from Fukushima Daiichi's No. 3 reactor (16:33) english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 10:46
    Does someone know about 500mSv/h radiation around some pump at N3 reactor?
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 10:46
    @Sergey: I watched the seismic activity since early this morning. Fortunately, it has receded. Are you in Japan?
    comment by karen89117 at 10:45
    NHK and Kyodo are saying black smoke is rising from the SE corner of #3 reactor at time 16:33
    comment by annb at 10:45
    NUCLEAR OPERATOR TOKYO ELECTRIC CONFIRMS BLACK SMOKE RISING FROM NO.3 NUCLEAR REACTOR IN FUKUSHIMA (Reuters news feeds)
    comment by simon_in_tokyo at 10:44
    any sign of contamination in china or russia?
    comment by littlejoemac at 10:43
    I am not getting an image now at all from Tepco Cam, anyone else ?
    comment by Veen Oui at 10:43
    Kyodo ticker saying black smoke from R3 and NEWS ADVISORY: Workers evacuate from Fukushima Daiichi's No. 3 reactor due to black smoke (16:36)
    comment by gabe at 10:43
    and the webcam is offline again. how convinient... anyone made a snapshot of the last working image?
    comment by vindolin at 10:43
    Becquerel is VERY small unit. Normally talked about kBq. Remember facts.
    comment by Finn at 10:43
    TEPCO: Reactor 3 area evacuated, reason for the black smoke there not clear. @W7VOA -Twitter
    comment by Brandon at 10:43
    Yokohama waterworks dept detected iodine131 in Totsuka waterworks on Mar22. City said harmless because of lower level than the limit by state regulation. Detected:55.3Bq/Kg. Regulation(indexical value):300Bq/Kg goo.gl
    comment by tora3x at 10:42
    Nuclear operator tokyo electric confirms black smoke rising from no.3 nuclear reactor in Fukushima
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:42
    Black smoke seen rising from no.3 nuclear reactor at Fukushima plant - NHK
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:37
    @dd According to the CDC website, KI doses protect for 24 hours.
    comment by T.E.H. at 10:35
    next 24h wind forecast, animating calculations from Fukushima. Wind direction varied in different heights. ilmatieteenlaitos.fi
    comment by Finn edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:35
    @fradykat - Ahh, okay! Thanks!
    comment by Matt at 10:29
    @Sin 10mSv is the advertable I-131 dose at which KI is recommended for infants in the WHO PDF document. The I-131 daily dose rate (not total radioactive dose rate) in Tokyo seems to be too low currently to provide that dosage unless extended for many months or years. The KI only lasts a few weeks I believe.
    comment by dd at 10:26
    On the JAIF site, new post is an updated chart of reactor status. Now the chart lists how many fuel rods are in each reactor core, and in each spent fuel pool. Here is the link:http://www.jaif.or.jp/english/news_images/pdf/ENGNEWS01_1300863268P.pdf This will download or open the PDF file directly.
    comment by annb at 10:24
    @simon: could you explain that in laymens terms? :)
    comment by Matt at 10:24
    @Matt Yes, under normal operations, the vented steam (after scrubbing) goes up those towers to be released away from plant buildings. Scrubbing seperates most of the radionuclides from the hot gases (H2 and O2).
    comment by FradyKat at 10:23
    @karen89117 Not only that. There are tons of info in 20-30 different and totally disconnected sources. I need to trace situation on earthquakes, maps, radiation spreading, news,videos. Puzzle in itself, and not in timely manner.
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 10:23
    @Cath Nothing new, it could just be shadow on vapour (getting cooler in the afternoon).
    comment by simon_in_tokyo at 10:23
    @Matt from a news report in NHK last night, I think the towers are connected to the suppression ring things at the bottom of the BWR
    comment by simon_in_tokyo at 10:23

    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:19
    @simon_in_tokyo No :( Any new from the plant about that greyish dark smoke??
    comment by Cath at 10:19
    Tepco can not be trusted, its own history will verify that alone. What we must look at is that the 'Nuclear Power' business is massive in scale, we are talking enormous sums of money. Japan has invested heavily in this technology as well. Unfortunateley, I for one don't think this is going to end well.
    comment by benji at 10:18
    What are the towers in the webcam pic for? Is that where steam is released under normal operation? I'd appreciate any info.
    comment by Matt at 10:18

    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:16
    Detailed Weather and Tide Forecast for Tomioka (Hukusima), Fukusima: www.tide-forecast.com Very bad wind.
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:11
    @ borrrdens post. I think the US 50 mile no go zone is not cause it is right now dangerous to that distance but rather to protect people in case the situation suddenly worsens. The uncontrolled situation makes things unsafe.
    comment by taniaaust1 at 10:08
    If you wanna instant news - listen NISA, TEPCO and other pressconf yourself, or trace info from yokosonews.com He translates it from IWJ iwakamiyasumi.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:08
    I think that Sergey means that things are escalating. Let's face it; with the lack of information coming from GOJ and TEPCO, and so much going on behind the scenes, it's like putting a puzzle together. Everyone is left to speculate. When the disaster hit, TEPCO threatened to pull out. Read: www.washingtonpost.com
    comment by karen89117 at 10:08
    I don't think it was an overreaction since this time last week things were going downhill rapidly at the plant.
    comment by Jason at 10:08
    Link to World Health Organization fact sheet w/recommendations for prophylactic potassium iodide doses by age www.who.int
    comment by Sandy at 10:07
    @Jeff simplest reason - wind
    comment by gg at 10:04
    U.S. hematologist who treated Chernobyl victims says that 50-mile no-go zone specified by the U.S. may be an overreaction search.japantimes.co.jp
    comment by borrrden edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 10:04
    New webcam image taken @ 3am EST/4pm JST - www.tepco.co.jp - Not sure if that's grey smoke or steam with a shadow.
    comment by Matt at 10:03




    Latest webcam shot not so great looking compared to last time www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by simon_in_tokyo at 10:03
    Activated charcoal filters are 99.9% effective against iodine 131 & 133 according to the National Institutes of Health. (Available at grocery store, pet stores, etc) Somewhat, but less proven efficacy at removing cesium, strontium, tritium, etc. Bottled water is first choice, but for backup, If you have no other alternative, it can't hurt.
    comment by Bev at 10:03
    Can anyone explain how the tap water became contaminated in Tokyo? There seems to be no specific explanation in the media stories on this.
    comment by Jeff at 10:02
    I did further down, but here it is again : www.who.int and what the CDC says too: www.bt.cdc.gov
    comment by Sin at 10:02
    @Norman66, @Sergey, it is the NISA report. The blurb just says that on the morning of the 23rd, NISA reported the temperature was over 400 degrees.
    comment by Jenny at 10:01
    @relocated I got this link from here: twitter.com It's not my blog.
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 10:01
    I believe this is the WHO pdf that @Sin is referencing: www.who.int
    comment by Brandon at 10:01
    @sin, could you provide a link to the WHO advice you reference, please? Is this general advice for such a situation or specific to the changing situation in Tokyo and northwards?
    comment by NC0823 at 9:57
    @A.D Sorry I can't tell. It needs much deeper inquiry in topic. Try find youself, now it's too many news about different things. Something is happening fast...
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 9:57
    @Sin Can you provide a link to this PDF?
    comment by Brandon at 9:57
    I understand that low levels of Iodine 131 is not harmful to adults. But it seems to me the psychological impact of the water warning is not likely to be reduced by that fact. If you lived in Tokyo and heard that warning, I suspect you would either evacuate or buy every ounce of bottled water in sight, or both. Leaving families with small children without available bottled water.
    comment by Bev at 9:57
    @Sergey Nikitaev Nothing about it rising fast. Just says that TEPCO reported the internal temperature (原子炉内) was found to be above 400c today.
    comment by relocated at 9:56
    @A.D. "Fast" was Sergey's comment (based on I assume figures he heard at an earlier time). It does not say rising fast in the article, or even that it is rising.
    comment by borrrden at 9:53
    Need confirmation of that report Sergey...........could be the earlier report by NISA commenting on the external temp. of R1 being at 400 C
    comment by Norman66 at 9:53
    An amazing service you have here. This the most comprehensive coverage available of a still very unstable situation.
    comment by Osakadave at 9:53
    @JMV Yeah. Really scary. Thanks.
    comment by Grace at 9:53
    Sergey Nikitaev, how fast is "fast"? I can't read that site, unfortunately :/ Is it an evacuate-now kind of fast?
    comment by A.D. at 9:50
    @Grace To the air and what's on the ground.
    comment by JMV at 9:50
    Fukushima Engineer Says He Covered Up Flaw at Shut Reactor. www.bloomberg.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 9:50
    @JMV Gotcha. In other words, it's all open to the air...?
    comment by Grace at 9:43
    [Tokyo Tap Water] DO NOT feed MINERAL bottled water your baby. Mineral water is HARMFUL to your baby. Choose the right water bottle. twitter.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:43
    Just out from IAEA: Reactor 1 is over 400-degrees Celsius. Rising fast bit.ly
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 9:43
    @Grace "A watershed is a basin-like landform defined by highpoints and ridgelines that descend into lower elevations and stream valleys. A watershed carries water "shed" from the land after rain falls and snow melts. Drop by drop, water is channeled into soils, groundwaters, creeks, and streams, making its way to larger rivers and eventually the sea".
    comment by JMV at 9:41
    Another plant 4 picture news.xinhuanet.com
    comment by T via News.xinhuanet at 9:41
    There isn't a comprehensive wrap since this one at 3:22 am IAEA tracks radiation leaks at Japan's crippled plant in.reuters.com There are many stories on separate events since this morning, like in.reuters.com
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:40
    Best wishes and little prayer for all. Thanks Reuters, and Goodnight.
    comment by BuddyBur at 9:40
    thank you Dean and thank you Reuters!
    comment by inCalifornia at 9:40
    @Reuters. Please post some links of yours reports on whole situation in Japan in a moment. Can't grasp picture in totallity.
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev at 9:40
    Geiger Counter in office Azabujuban, Tokyo: www.denphone.com
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:35
    'Tiger Mask' donates gas, oil for evacuees: www.yomiuri.co.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:34
    @ JMV Thank you. Are those hydro projects (dams)?
    comment by Grace at 9:34
    my time for rest here... I hope I"ve been alittle help .... thoughts and prayers to all those from japan and around who are helping.... good night
    comment by Dean at 9:34
    simon_in_tokyo &Reuters_AnujaJaiman: Re the Water Statistics ,the link also directs to an English website. URL - bit.ly
    comment by prayer edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:33
    I do have one positive thing on nuclides... cesium 131 is a very short 1/2 life (9 days) isotope and it in the form of a small round shaped object, that is inserted into the prostrate cancer and it kills the cancer and then decays to stable state in 9 days.. and NO SURGERY
    comment by Dean at 9:33
    Picture of plant news.xinhuanet.com
    comment by T via News.xinhuanet at 9:32
    Guidelines from WHO on radioactive iodine www.who.int
    comment by Sin edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:32
    @Matt Orlando Thank you
    comment by crs at 9:29
    Over-limit radioactive materials found in 11 Fukushima vegetables. english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:29
    ok.........just saw JMV's post on Tokyo's source.
    comment by Norman66 at 9:28
    Pumpkin hour. My prayers for all involved at the plant, and for the people of Japan. and Reuters -- thank you so much for maintaining this site, even with reduced readership/participation. You are doing a great service, unparalleled by any other news agency!
    comment by LCJ in Roslyn PA at 9:28
    @Dean and LCJ: Take a look at the Bloomberg article that I posted @ 9:00 pm. @gg: TEPCO is a public corp. and the CEO hasn't been heard from since his breakdown.
    comment by karen89117 at 9:28
    @LCJ Brita is probably concerned with liability issues with regard to radioactive iodine and activated carbon. This NIH article would suggest it's very effective. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
    comment by Bev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:28
    If the problem is hot Iodine in tapwater, then it can be a temporary problem if the source of contamination is stopped. Iodine 131 with a HL of 8 days will be at just over 1 % of the original intensity after 6 half lives.........so 40-ish days. What you don't want to see is Sr 90 or Cesium anything. Don't know about Tokyo's water system, but I would imagine with that many people, there would be several lakes as the main source ( ie. open air ).
    comment by Norman66 at 9:28
    @crs The darker gray on the horizon between the two towers is smoke/steam. The rest are clouds.
    comment by Matt Orlando at 9:27
    Tokyo gets its water from the Arakawa and Tonegawa river watersheds north of the city.
    comment by JMV at 9:24
    I have no idea of water tables in japan around fukushima.. they are so close to the ocean and all.... so not sure on what reaches water tables and how that is distributed under ground there
    comment by Dean at 9:24
    I'm wondering where all the MEXT gov agency information publishes have disappeared too.. so many have not been published for today.
    comment by simon_in_tokyo at 9:23
    @ids Are those clouds or smoke? RE: New image up on TEPCO webcam www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by crs at 9:23
    @jonathan @tchan It is not dangerous to the thyroid if you don't ingest it.
    comment by Sandy at 9:23
    How to clean up the nuclear industry with a piece of paper - FILO (First In Last Out) clause inserted into the licensing. In the event of an incident the owner and management must be present on-site assisting with restoring operation. Then you would see management turning the wrench for a technician instead of trying to source the cheapest nut and bolt...
    comment by gg at 9:23
    Rephrased, what about all the area in between the 240 km distance between plant and Tokyo, nothing ? no contamination...I don't think so.
    comment by Veen Oui at 9:22
    China sending a super-sized water pump: news.xinhuanet.com
    comment by karen89117 at 9:22
    Tap water levels news.yahoo.com
    comment by Sin edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:22
    New image up on TEPCO webcam www.tepco.co.jp
    comment by ids edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:20
    @ Meretisa I went back a few pages for the "50% Cesium" link ... couldn't find it, but there were a number of back-and-forth posts about that; all I can tell you is that if should be within a few pages of 10 pages ago, and I did click on it and see the info ...
    comment by LCJ in Roslyn PA at 9:20
    @borrrden - I understand it now. Not sure what this conversion site is trying to tell me.
    comment by M at 9:19
    correction, was considering both cesium and iodine
    comment by RLL at 9:19
    @gabe They are saying infants is under 1 year of age (but really will anybody want to take the chance of drinking the water?) They say use for bathing and laundry is safe. But I would imagine breastfeeding mothers (myself included) probably should avoid it too.
    comment by tchan at 9:19
    @gabe I am very worried about this. I live in Chiba, and have a nursing 2 month old at home. We can`t find bottled water at any stores around my house. I have no idea what to do. I have a well system though, so I wonder if that affects me or not.
    comment by Jonathan at 9:19
    @Meritisa, the comparison to 50 %of Chernobyl was only referring to the iodine. a quote from teh article: "The researchers estimate that 3x10^15 becquerels of Cs-137 (which has a half-life of 30 years) were released during the first two days following the disaster on 11 March. A further 3x10^16 was released over the next two days, totalling 50 %of the Cs-137 emitted in the Chernobyl accident." the source is estimates by the Austrian weather service. link to article: blogs.nature.com
    comment by RLL edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:19
    Matt, I am a nuclear engineer with about 37 years experience in reactor operations and reactor safety,
    comment by Dean at 9:18
    Dean or anyone - are we past a point where a potential concern could involve the melted materials hitting the water table? Now the risk is a serious fire?
    comment by Chris at 9:18
    @Dean Is it possible that Tritium is being released in the steam/leaks?
    comment by Bev at 9:18
    www.waterfilters-camping-water-purifier.com
    comment by Dean edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:18
    They now call this Iodine Explosion. Here there were talks about radiation contamination of Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Gunma and Tochigi for two or three days. See www3.nhk.or.jp
    comment by Sergey Nikitaev edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:18
    Remember wondering a couple of days ago why thet were working to hook up #3 instead of #2. Well according to Kayodo news, that's when radiation climbed to 500 millisiieverts. HHMMMM
    comment by BuddyBur at 9:17
    www.msnbc.msn.com Info on US military aid to Japan
    comment by LCJ in Roslyn PA edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:17
    @gabe They are saying up to 1 year. No info on bathing or nursing. And no info on water north of Tokyo.
    comment by Sandy at 9:16
    @ dealing - yes, BING is the archive I have been looking through. But there are now about 500 pix there ...
    comment by LCJ in Roslyn PA at 9:16
    240 km S of the Nuclear Plant, the Tab Water is infected.....how did it get there....Water Dilutes, Air doesn't..and yet there is no problem breathing this within 240 km range???
    comment by Veen Oui at 9:16
    a small smal from Kyodo news english.kyodonews.jp
    comment by Roland at 9:16
    @Bev - a while back someone contacted the manufacturer of household charcoal water filters (like Brita) - they DON'T filter out iodine, radioactive or not.
    comment by LCJ in Roslyn PA edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:16
    www.worldvillage.org
    comment by Juddo at 9:16
    Radiation levelsin water in Fukushima are here at the bottom of the page
    comment by Juddo at 9:16
    LCJ... the infrared immage was fairly consistently over the whole area which, to me, means that the temps inside the upper building are probably steam vapor, spraying water into that temp of atmosphere for instance probably would flash to steam some what.. it's just so uncertain... good thing there is a small hole in the building wall
    comment by Dean at 9:15
    That link to the webcam posted here, that one of the "wrong plant" What about the smoke from it? Wheres it from?
    comment by Cath at 9:15
    @FradyKat Thanks for the correction. I think it's time for me to get some rest. Keep up the good work. Thanks Reuters and thank you Dean.
    comment by Pedro Jesus at 9:15
    @Karmen though there are very different 'safe' levels, I believe, for adults vs. babies vs. pregnant women, I have to think this tap water situation will be a dealbreaker for some Tokyo residents who can afford to leave. Maybe not but it is a whole order more insudious than "don't eat northern spinach."
    comment by L.A. at 9:15
    @karen89117 I know that the Chiba and Saitama government pages show the water levels (separated between iodine and cesium). Since I live in Saitama, that is the one I look at the most. See the chart under number 2 www.pref.saitama.lg.jp
    comment by borrrden edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:15
    www.worldvillage.org
    comment by Juddo at 9:15
    @BuddyBur The 500mSV were quote "detected at the No. 2 reactor's turbine building", not outside.
    comment by Pedro Jesus at 9:14
    KAREN... I'm not sure where to get the water contamination levels for sure... I think that the gov't see's the readings and takes very extra precautionary measures ....
    comment by Dean at 9:14
    @JMV, here is the source for Tokyo tap water (in Japanese): sankei.jp.msn.com Tokyo gets its water from Katsushika-ku
    comment by wishknew edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:14
    @borrrden Is that true? But this site says otherwise: online.unitconverterpro.com
    comment by M edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:12
    @karen89117 the latest water and other results have not been published yet (for those who read japanese they will appear on eq.yahoo.co.jp)
    comment by simon_in_tokyo edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:11
    What are Dean's credentials?
    comment by Matt Orlando at 9:11
    Japan govt says sees 'significant' impact from power outages
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:10
    Japan damage estimate excludes impact of nuclear plant, power cuts, mkt moves, business sentiment
    by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:10
    The information for about the infants not consuming tap water in Tokyo is woefully inadequate. Does this mean that nursing mothers who drink tap water should not nurse? Is it ok to bathe infants? Infants are defined usually as under 2y of age? BTW this news sent the Nikkei down 2%.
    comment by gabe at 9:09
    @Norman66 It also adds, and this is relevant, that those two injured workers were not exposed to radiation.
    comment by Pedro Jesus at 9:07
    ty norman... restoration of electrical power in a damaged facility is risky .... your talking very high voltage... 120v, 220V. 480 v, 2400 v, 4160 v then up to 13.8KV, AND UP TO 132 kv...
    comment by Dean at 9:07
    www.yomiuri.co.jp
    comment by Sky edited by Reuters_AnujaJaiman at 9:05
    There's a little bit of additional information in this Yomiuri Shimbun article about why radiation protection levels are set at specific values by the health authorities.
    comment by Sky at 9:05
    Meretisa that link didn't work...


    ===

    FACTBOX-Japan's nuclear power plant construction plans24 Mar 2011 05:54

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    TOKYO, March 24 (Reuters) - Japan's regional power firms are set to announce their mid- to long-term supply plans ahead of the start of the country's next financial year on April 1, with nuclear power coming increasingly under the spotlight as engineers struggle to prevent radiation leaks at a six-reactor plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) .

    Chubu Electric Power Co , the country's No.3 power company, announced a minor change to its nuclear development plans on Wednesday amid concerns about nuclear safety after TEPCO's facility in northeastern Japan was knocked out by a tsunami following a massive earthquake this month.
    The other firms, apart from TEPCO and quake-affected Tohoku Electric Power Co , are slated to announce their plans next week.

    The table below shows the status of Japan's new nuclear power generators that are scheduled to start operations in the coming years, reflecting the latest announcements. Capacities are shown in megawatts.

    Company, plant Unit Capacity Date for commercial operation ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Tokyo Electric Power Co

    Fukushima-Daiichi No.7 1,380 Oct. 2016

    No.8 1,380 Oct. 2017

    Higashidori No.1 1,385 March 2017

    No.2 1,385 FY2020/21 or after -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chubu Electric Power Co

    Hamaoka No.6 1,490* Within 5 years from FY2018/19 -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Kyushu Electric Power Co

    Sendai No.3 1,590 April 2019-March 2020 -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Tohoku Electric Power Co

    Namie-Odaka N/A 825 April 2021-March 2022

    Higashidori No.2 1,385 FY2021/22 or after -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chugoku Electric Power Co

    Shimane No.3 1,373 **March 2012

    Kaminoseki No.1 1,373 March 2018

    Kaminoseki No.2 1,373 April 2022-March 2023 -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Japan Atomic Power Co

    Tsuruga No.3 1,538 ***July 2017

    Tsuruga No.4 1,538 ***July 2018 -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Electric Power Development Co (J-Power)

    Ohma N/A 1,383 Nov. 2014

    * Reuters estimates

    ** Chugoku Electric said last month it was delaying the start of commercial operations at its No.3 Shimane reactor, previously slated for December 2011

    ***Japan Atomic said last month it had pushed back the schedule for commercial operations at two new reactors by 16 months due to extended government safety checks (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori and Risa Maeda; Editing by Joseph Radford)

    =====

    Q+A-Risks at each reactor of Japan's stricken plant

    26 Mar 2011 09:17

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    TOKYO, March 26 (Reuters) - The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant at the centre of Japan's crisis has six reactors. The plant is operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO).

    The following summarises the main risks as Japanese engineers scramble to deal with the worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown:


    WHAT'S THE OVERALL SITUATION?

    Two of the plant's reactors are seen as safe, but the other four occasionally emit steam and smoke. The nuclear safety agency said on Saturday that the temperature and pressure in all reactors had stabilised.

    In recent days fears have grown that the core of one of the reactors, No.3, had been damaged by the quake and tsunami and was leaking radiation. Three workers there sustained injuries on their legs after stepping into a puddle of water earlier this week and were shown to have been exposed to radiation levels 10,000 times higher than what is usual in a reactor.

    Another challenge is how to store this radioactive water -- found in the buildings of three of the six reactors -- in a secure location after it has been collected.

    A separate priority has been switching the source of water, used to cool the reactor cores and pools containing spent fuel, to fresh water from sea water. Sea water is more corrosive and leaves deposits that prevent water from circulating around the rods to cool them.

    WHAT ARE THE RISKS IN EACH REACTOR?

    -- REACTOR No 3: 784-MW (Manufacturer Toshiba)

    On March 18, TEPCO said the situation at the reactor had been labelled Level 5 severity on the International Nuclear and Radiologicial Events Scale. Level 7 is the most severe.

    Preventing radiation leaks from reactor No. 3 is particularly crucial. It is the only one to use plutonium in its fuel mix. The others only use uranium, which is less toxic.
    Following the incident in which workers were contaminated by highly radioactive water, Japanese officials have said damage to the reactor core is unlikely, though they have not ruled it out. Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency senior official Hidehiko Nishiyama said there was no data showing damage.

    Officials have cited other possible sources of the unusually high radiation in the standing water, such as steam-venting operations or water leakage from pipes or valves.

    The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Friday that it had received information the two hospitalised workers were likely to be released on Monday.

    "From my medical perspective, if they got something serious, they wouldn't be discharged on Monday," IAEA Human Health Director Rethy Chem told a news conference.

    On the corrosive water issue, TEPCO said it had started injecting fresh water into the reactor pressure unit on Friday.


    -- REACTOR No 2: 784-MW (Manufacturer: GE, Toshiba)

    Level 5 severity.

    TEPCO officials said on Saturday that engineers had begun to pump fresh water into the reactor building instead of sea water on Friday .

    The No. 2 reactor's primary containment vessel, designed to prevent radiation leaks, may have been damaged when there was an explosion in the building on March 15. The portion of the vessel damaged was the suppression pool, into which steam is vented from the reactor to relieve pressure. The IAEA said the blast "may have affected the integrity of its primary containment vessel".

    However, beyond the primary containment vessel is the containment building, which is also designed to prevent radiation from escaping.

    The reactor's fuel rods were exposed fully at one point. When fuel rods are not covered in coolant, they can heat up and start to melt, raising the risk of a radiation leak .


    -- REACTOR No 1: 460-MW (Manufacturer GE)

    Level 5 severity.

    This is the only reactor where engineers have begun collecting the radioactive water from parts of the building and containing it in a vessel.

    Nuclear safety agency officials said on Saturday that the water was being stored inside the building for now. They said it was being collected into a vessel that was made to house the water resulting from cooling vapors given off by the reactors.

    The officials said the next challenge for this as well as the other reactors was to devise a safe way of transporting this water to a place where it could not contaminate people or the environment.


    -- REACTOR No 4: 784-MW (Manufacturer Hitachi)

    Level 3 severity.

    At the time of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, the reactor was undergoing maintenance, Kyodo has reported.

    This is currently the only reactor building that is using sea water instead of fresh water as a cooling agent.

    Four days after the quake, the spent fuel pool caught fire and caused an explosion. Japan's nuclear safety agency says the blast punctured two holes around 8 metres square in the wall of the outer building of the reactor.

    The pools contain racks that hold spent fuel taken from the reactor. Operators need to constantly add water to the pool to keep the fuel submerged so that radiation cannot escape.

    Exposing the spent fuel to the atmosphere will release radiation.

    -- REACTOR No 5: 784-MW (Manufacturer Toshiba)

    The No 5 reactor has been stable since it was safely stopped on March 20 , when the temperature of the water inside the reactor fell low enough for it to achieve a so-called cold shutdown.

    At the time of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, the reactor was undergoing maintenance


    -- REACTOR No 6: 1,100-MW (Manufacturer GE, Toshiba)

    The No 6 reactor has been stable since it was safely stopped on March 20, when the temperature of water inside the reactor fell low enough for it to achieve a so-called cold shutdown.

    At the time of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, the reactor was undergoing maintenance.

    (Compiled by Chizu Nomiyama, Editing by Alan Raybould)

    ====



    4 reasons to hedge against Japanese equities

    -- The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

    By Wayne Arnold
    HONG KONG, March 28 (Reuters Breakingviews) - What was a contrarian view right after Japan's earthquake has become consensus: confidence in a V-shaped recovery has powered a 10 percent rally in Japanese stocks since March 15. That outlook still appears likely, but questions surround the speed and strength of the recovery. Investors should hedge against the risk that politics, power shortages, and nuclear troubles prompt investors to turn tail.
    Hedge
    Making an investment to reduce the risk of adverse price movements in an asset. Normally, a hedge consists of taking an offsetting position in a related security, such as a futures contract.



    Amid a drumbeat of cautiously optimistic forecasts, foreign investors pumped almost $12 billion into Japanese stocks, a surge that helped stoke an unwanted spike in the yen. Even Warren Buffett joined the chorus of support for Japanese equities. The rally also turned up some reconstruction darlings such as generator-maker Denyo, which has climbed 44 percent since March 15; water purification company Nihon Trim, up 48 percent; and lighting company Iwasaki, up 58 percent.

    But bad news out of Fukushima, where radiation continues to seep from crippled nuclear reactors, is nibbling at confidence. Alongside fears of worsening fallout, investors face three other worries. First, that power shortages will create a lasting dent in Japanese output. The quake took out almost a quarter of Tokyo Electric Power's capacity, prompting it to ration power and force key suppliers to shut down, with reverberations down the entire supply chain. If industry cannot restore its power before surging summer demand, lost production could cost Japan global market share.


    The speed of reconstruction is another concern. Opposition politicians are quibbling over an emergency budget. Even when passed, destruction is so extensive that infrastructure may need not only rebuilding, but relocation. Last and perhaps most important is consumer confidence. Some fear that younger Japanese, already chastened by two decades of job insecurity, will pull their purse-strings even tighter.
    Increasing prices for options to sell Nikkei futures suggest that some investors are already turning cautious. Aside from such put options, investors can consider short-selling Nikkei futures. Shorting exchange-traded funds, such as the iShares MSCI Japan Index, provides another way to offset potential losses on a portfolio of Japanese stocks.

    The prognosis is not universally bleak, and Japanese equities are hardly expensive. The forward p/e multiple for the Topix index, using IBES estimates, is an unstretched 12.2. But prudence suggests investors should hedge against the risk that the Tokyo equity market lurches downwards again.

    CONTEXT NEWS
    -- Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average has recovered nearly half the ground it lost immediately after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11. Foreign investors bought a record $11.8 billion in Japanese stocks in the week ended March 19, according to Nomura.
    -- Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said March 25 that the government planned to draft an emergency budget by the end of April to help fund a reconstruction it estimates could cost up to $300 billion.
    -- Tokyo Gas, Japan's biggest city gas supplier, said March 28 that it had diverted liquefied natural gas to Tokyo Electric Power to make up for lost output from damaged nuclear plants. The quake forced the closure of 23 percent of TEPCO's total power sources.
    -- Japan's chief cabinet secretary said March 28 that high levels of radiation in water at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was probably an indication that some fuel rods had melted.
    ((wayne.arnold@thomsonreuters.com))
    (Editing by Robert Cole and Martin Langfield)

    =========



    SPECIAL REPORT-Japan engineers knew tsunami could overwhelm Fukushima plant

    30 Mar 2011 04:57

    Source: reuters // Reuters


    (Reissues to update PDF link and add Special Reports blog link)

    * Tokyo Electric ignored own study on tsunami risk

    * Utility decided safety issues, not regulators

    * Kept vulnerable vent systems despite quake data

    * Tokyo Electric cited the most for safety violations


    By Kevin Krolicki, Scott DiSavino and Taro Fuse

    TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters) - Over the past two weeks, Japanese government officials and Tokyo Electric Power executives have repeatedly described the deadly combination of the most powerful quake in Japan's history and the massive tsunami that followed as "soteigai," or beyond expectations.

    When Tokyo Electric President Masataka Shimizu apologised to the people of Japan for the continuing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant he called the double disaster "marvels of nature . that we have never experienced before".

    But a review of company and regulatory records shows that Japan and its largest utility repeatedly downplayed dangers and ignored warnings -- including a 2007 tsunami study from Tokyo Electric Power Co's senior safety engineer.

    "We still have the possibilities that the tsunami height exceeds the determined design height due to the uncertainties regarding the tsunami phenomenon," Tokyo Electric researchers said in a report reviewed by Reuters.
    The research paper concluded that there was a roughly 10 percent chance that a tsunami could test or overrun the defenses of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant within a 50-year span based on the most conservative assumptions.

    But Tokyo Electric did nothing to change its safety planning based on that study, which was presented at a nuclear engineering conference in Miami in July 2007.

    Meanwhile, Japanese nuclear regulators clung to a model that left crucial safety decisions in the hands of the utility that ran the plant, according to regulatory records, officials and outside experts.

    Among examples of the failed opportunities to prepare for disaster, Japanese nuclear regulators never demanded that Tokyo Electric reassess its fundamental assumptions about earthquake and tsunami risk for a nuclear plant built more than four decades ago. In the 1990s, officials urged but did not require that Tokyo Electric and other utilities shore up their system of plant monitoring in the event of a crisis, the record shows.

    Even though Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, (NISA) one of the three government bodies charged with nuclear safety, cataloged the damage to nuclear plant vent systems from an earlier earthquake, it did not require those to be protected against future disasters or hardened against explosions.

    That marked a sharp break with safety practices put in place in the United States in the 1980s after Three Mile Island, even though Japan modeled its regulation on U.S. precedents and even allowed utilities to use American disaster manuals in some cases.

    Ultimately, when the wave was crashing in, everything came down to the ability of Tokyo Electric's front-line workers to carry out disaster plans under intense pressure.

    But even in normal operations, the regulatory record shows Tokyo Electric had been cited for more dangerous operator errors over the past five years than any other utility. In a separate 2008 case, it admitted that a 17-year-old worker had been hired illegally as part of a safety inspection at Fukushima Daiichi.
    "It's a bit strange for me that we have officials saying this was outside expectations," said Hideaki Shiroyama, a professor at the University of Tokyo who has studied nuclear safety policy. "Unexpected things can happen. That's the world we live in."

    He added:
    "Both the regulators and TEPCO are trying to avoid responsibility."

    Najmedin Meshkati, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Southern California, said the government's approach of relying heavily on Tokyo Electric to do the right thing largely on its own had clearly failed.

    "The Japanese government is receiving some advice, but they are relying on the already badly stretched resources of TEPCO to handle this," said Meshkati, a researcher of the Chernobyl disaster who has been critical of the company's safety record before. "Time is not on our side."

    The revelation that Tokyo Electric had put a number to the possibility of a tsunami beyond the designed strength of its Fukushima nuclear plant comes at a time when investor confidence in the utility is in fast retreat.

    Shares in the world's largest private utility have lost almost three-fourth of their value -- $30 billion -- since the March 11 earthquake pushed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into crisis. Analysts see a chance the utility will be nationalized by the Japanese government in the face of mounting liability claims and growing public frustration.

    AN 'EXTREMELY LOW' RISK

    The tsunami research presented by a Tokyo Electric team led by Toshiaki Sakai came on the first day of a three-day conference in July 2007 organized by the International Conference on Nuclear Engineering.

    It represented the product of several years of work at Japan's top utility, prompted by the 2004 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra that had shaken the industry's accepted wisdom. In that disaster, the tsunami that hit Indonesia and a dozen other countries around the Indian Ocean also flooded a nuclear power plant in southern India. That raised concerns in Tokyo about the risk to Japan's 55 nuclear plants, many exposed to the dangerous coast in order to have quick access to water for cooling.
    Tokyo Electric's Fukushima Daiichi plant, some 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was a particular concern.

    The 40-year-old nuclear complex was built near a quake zone in the Pacific that had produced earthquakes of magnitude 8 or higher four times in the past 400 years -- in 1896, 1793, 1677 and then in 1611, Tokyo Electric researchers had come to understand.
    Based on that history, Sakai, a senior safety manager at Tokyo Electric, and his research team applied new science to a simple question: What was the chance that an earthquake-generated wave would hit Fukushima? More pressing, what were the odds that it would be larger than the roughly 6-meter (20 feet) wall of water the plant had been designed to handle?

    The tsunami that crashed through the Fukushima plant on March 11 was 14 meters high.

    Sakai's team determined the Fukushima plant was dead certain to be hit by a tsunami of one or two meters in a 50-year period. They put the risk of a wave of 6 metres or more at around 10 percent over the same time span.

    In other words, Tokyo Electric scientists realised as early as 2007 that it was quite possible a giant wave would overwhelm the sea walls and other defenses at Fukushima by surpassing engineering assumptions behind the plant's design that date back to the 1960s.

    Company Vice President Sakae Muto said the utility had built its Fukushima nuclear power plant "with a margin for error" based on its assessment of the largest waves to hit the site in the past.
    That would have included the magnitude 9.5 Chile earthquake in 1960 that killed 140 in Japan and generated a wave estimated at near 6 meters, roughly in line with the plans for Fukushima Daiichi a decade later.

    "It's been pointed out by some that there could be a bigger tsunami than we had planned for, but my understanding of the situation is that there was no consensus among the experts," Muto said in response to a question from Reuters.

    Despite the projection by its own safety engineers that the older assumptions might be mistaken, Tokyo Electric was not breaking any Japanese nuclear safety regulation by its failure to use its new research to fortify Fukushima Daiichi, which was built on the rural Pacific coast to give it quick access to sea water and keep it away from population centers.

    "There are no legal requiremen



    ====


    By RYAN NAKASHIMA and MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Ryan Nakashima And Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press – Sun Apr 3, 11:46 am ET
    TOKYO – Engineers pinned their hopes on chemicals, sawdust and shredded news


    ================


    Tepco bailout head: undecided on debt waiver requests

    26 Sep 2011 07:21
    Source: Reuters // Reuters

    * Tepco bailout head: electricity fee hikes hard to implement

    * Japan trade minister: Tepco salaries should be cut

    * Bank shares end little changed (Adds share price moves, details)

    TOKYO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co has yet to decide whether to ask lenders to waive some of their debt for a restructuring plan that needs government approval next month, the head of a government body set up to aid the struggling utility said.

    Indecision by the utility, still battling a radiation crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi plant triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, leaves open the possibility that banks will be asked to shoulder more of the burden of keeping it alive.

    Creditors came under pressure to do more earlier this month when Japan's new trade minister Yukio Edano said shareholders and lenders should share in the pain of saving Tepco.

    "Tepco will seek the cooperation of its creditors and banks, but it has not decided what to request," said Takehiko Sugiyama, who is in charge of the entity set up to help the utility pay compensation to victims of the crisis.

    A business plan formed with the backing of its creditors would need the entity's approval before being submitted to the government.

    Sugiyama, a former university president, also said it would be difficult to implement electricity fee hikes unless Tepco can show its customers it is being thoroughly restructured.

    The utility will draw up the business plan in October and seek government approval to receive funding -- which some experts have said could be 2 to 8 trillion yen ($26-105 billion)-- financed by contributions from nuclear power operators and taxpayers' money.

    Edano, one of the ministers whose approval is necessary for the bailout entity to provide funding to Tepco, said on Monday that Tepco employees' salaries should be cut to the level of those of civil servants.

    To help finance compensation, the utility aims to raise more than 600 billion yen by selling real estate, securities holdings and other assets.

    The chairman of a government panel overseeing Tepco's restructuring said last week that Tepco's efforts are inadequate.

    Japan's top banks were among lenders that provided about 2 trillion yen in emergency loans to Tepco in the immediate aftermath of the March 11 earthquake.

    Share of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group , Tepco's main creditor, edged down 0.6 percent on Monday, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group was down 0.9 percent, against a 0.3 percent fall in Tokyo's banking subindex . ($1 = 76.260 Japanese Yen) (Reporting by Mayumi Negishi; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Michael Watson)

    =================

    Tepco to ask for $12 bln to help with compensation -sources

    28 Oct 2011 02:49
    Source: Reuters // Reuters

    * Tepco to ask for Y900 bln from bailout body to help with compensation -sources

    * Needs approval from trade minister to get funds

    * Does not yet know how much it will have to pay in wake of Fukushima crisis (Adds detail, background)

    TOKYO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power has asked for about 900 billion yen ($12 billion) as the first instalment of tax payer-funded assistance to pay for compensation from the crisis at its Fukushima nuclear plant, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

    The utility plans to submit a special business plan later in the day to Trade Minister Yukio Edano, whose approval is necessary for the firm to receive the money from a government-sponsored bailout body, said the sources, who were not authorised to discuss the matter publicly.

    The utility, known as Tepco, does not yet know the total size of compensation payouts as the fight to bring the crippled reactors under control rumbles on.

    The trade minister's approval on Tepco's business plan, which includes cost-cutting measures, is expected to come in early November.

    The plan is also likely to include a request for financial assistance from lenders, including additional loans from the state-run Development Bank of Japan, the sources said.

    The bailout body, funded by public money and contributions from nuclear power operators, has been set up to help Tepco to meet compensation claims, with the troubled utility required to pay back the money in the coming years.

    The business plan to be submitted on Friday will concern funds the firm needs for the immediate future. It is expected to come up with a more comprehensive plan early next year to get further money from the bailout body. ($1 = 75.840 Japanese Yen) (Reporting by Kentaro Hamada and Taiga Uranaka in Tokyo, Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore; Editing by Joseph Radford)
    ===================================================================================================

    Email to a friend
    Japan allows partial glimpse inside crippled nuclear plant

    12 Nov 2011 09:30
    Source: Reuters // Reuters

    By Shinichi Saoshiro

    TOKYO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Conditions at Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, devastated by a tsunami in March, were slowly improving to the point where a "cold shutdown" would be possible as planned, officials said on Saturday during a tour of the facility.

    Officials shepherded a group of about 30 mainly Japanese journalists through the plant for the first time since the meltdown of the plant's reactors, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

    Cooling systems at the plant, 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, were knocked out by the powerful tsunami and evidence of the devastation was clear to see.

    The nuclear reactor buildings were still surrounded by crumpled trucks, twisted metal fences, and large, dented water tanks. Smaller office buildings around the reactors were left as they were abandoned on March 11, when the tsunami hit.

    Cranes filled the skyline in testimony to recovery efforts.

    Journalists on the tour mainly stayed on a bus as they were driven around the plant and were not allowed near the reactor buildings. Still, they all had to wear protective suits, double layers of gloves and plastic boot covers and hair nets.

    All carried respiration masks and radiation detectors.

    "From the data at the plant that I have seen, there is no doubt that the reactors have been stabilised," Masao Yoshida, chief of the Daiichi plant, told the group.

    The compound may still be littered with rubble, but Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the utility operating the plant, has succeeded in bringing down the temperatures at the three damaged reactors from levels considered dangerous.

    They are confident they will be able to declare a "cold shutdown" -- when temperatures are stable below boiling point -- as scheduled by the end of this year.

    While Tepco had managed to stabilise conditions so workers could enter the reactor buildings, Yoshida said there was still danger involved for those working there.

    The disaster prompted the government to declare a 20 km (12 miles) no-entry zone around the plant, forcing the evacuation of about 80,000 residents.

    A cold shutdown is one of the conditions that must be met before the government considers lifting its entry ban.

    As an emergency measure early in the crisis, Tepco tried to cool the damaged reactors by pumping in huge volumes of water, much of it from the sea, only to leave a vast amount of tainted runoff that threatened to leak out into the ocean.

    It solved the problem by building a cooling system to clean the radioactive runoff, using some of the water to cool the reactors.

    A group of white tents houses the cleaning facility. In front were hoisted the flags of the United States, France and Japan -- the countries that provided the technology for the decontamination system.

    "Every time I come back, I feel conditions have improved. This is due to your hard work ," Japan's environment and nuclear crisis minister Goshi Hosono told workers at the plant.

    However, Hosono warned it would still take about 30 years to dismantle the reactors after a cold shutdown was achieved.

    Workers engaged in the recovery effort are stationed at J-Village, a national soccer training centre near Daiichi that has been converted into an operational base.

    Tepco says up to 3,300 workers a day arrive from J-Village, located on the edge of the 20 km no-entry zone.

    At J-Village, workers on their way to the plant lined up at a white tent to change into protective gear. Every day when they return, the workers discard their protective clothing, which is treated as radioactive waste and stored.

    A Tepco guide said every piece of discarded clothing has been kept there since March 17, about 480,000 sets heaped in large piles or put in bed-sized containers and stacked in rows. (Reporting by a pool reporter representing foreign media in Japan; Writing by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Paul Tait)

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