Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan Quake UpDate: Over 2,000 Dead, Nuclear Reactors Failing

The news from Japan continues to be grim.

According to the Kyodo Wire, the death toll has already topped 2,000 and their are thousands missing.Huge aftershocks continue to rock the area.

The civil authorities have entirely lost track of four commuter trains, and the speculation is that they may be trapped and covered by rubble.

The biggest problem the Japanese face right now is with their nuclear reactors. Japan is heavily dependent on nuclear power, and the huge quake has caused several reactors to lose their cooling functions.

Think of it like your car's radiator...your coolant keeps your engine from overheating, and if there's a leak in a hose or the system stops working, your engine overheats and your car ceases to run. With a nuclear reactor, what happens is that the core melts down, and instead of steam radiation leaks out.

This is somewhat similar to what happened at the Russian plant in Chernobyl, except there, the problem was caused by poor Soviet engineering,lousy maintenance and inferior materials and workmanship rather than an 8.9 earthquake.

The chief problems are at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants, where six reactors are experiencing cooling failure. An explosion Saturday at the No. 1 plant destroyed the roof and the walls of the building housing the Plant No. 1's reactor container.

While the steel container held, a great deal of radioactive vapor was released into the atmosphere, and a number of workers and bystanders are being treated for radiation poisoning.

Tokyo Electric Power is attempting to cool things down by filling the reactor with sea water and pouring in boric acid to stabilize things.

The Japanese are claiming that a Chernobyl-style meltdown has been averted, and that radiation levels are dropping.

The quake and tsunami actually shifted the main island of Japan by 8 feet and shifted the Earth on its axis by nearly four inches.

"At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass," said Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

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Rosey said...

The Japanese press is reporting that the death toll could ultimately reach 10,000...

louielouie said...

has anyone come forward to explain why bush did this?

louielouie said...

on a separate topic, due to my engineering background, i apparently look at the japanese nuke issue through a skewed lense.
it took an 8.9 magnitude earthquake to do this damage to a japanese nuke.
chernobyl was caused by a weekend.
yes radiation is spewing out, and yes this is a disaster.
knowing what i know, i would rather have the japanese in charge of this, than the dumm masses at three mile island. which we studied for a semester.
the japanese will come through this better than ANY nation i know of. scarred. but they will come through this, if the world stays out of their way.

Elli Davis said...

Actually the toll is now over 10000 now, Kjodo agency reports, that in prefecture Mijagi was found around 2000 dead bodies, 1000 were fund on the beaches of Ojika peninsula and a thousand more in the city of Minamisanrik. However, the local government is still missing 9500 inhabitants (half of their total population!)
Despite all of these facts, the Japan's officials reports 'only' 1647 dead.