Posts Tagged ‘meltdown’

Japan Mini Update on Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor for March 29

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Slashdot posted a story linking a highly speculative piece in The Guardian saying that high levels of radiation might be a sign that molten fuel has leaked through the reactor vessel (not the containment vessel, as the Slashdot summary breathlessly announces). I have not seen any confirmation of this speculation, or indeed seen this speculation repeated outside Slashdot and a few other newspapers in the UK, and it is not confirmed by the most recent IAEA report.

Here’s the official (and comprehensive) report on the current state of the six nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi from the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum.

Things are plenty bad at Fukushima, but (with the caveat that I am not even remotely a nuclear engineer) I see no solid evidence to suggest that there has been even a partial meltdown, much less that the core has melted through the reactor pressure vessel, much less that the containment vessel has been breached. Indeed this statement from the IAEA report would suggest a better cause for the radioactivity spike recently observed: “The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan suggests that higher activity in the water discovered in the Unit 2 turbine building is supposed to be caused by the water, which has been in contact with molten fuel rods for a time and directly released into the turbine building via some, as yet unidentified path.”

Japan suffered a real tragedy, with over 11,000 confirmed dead from the earthquake and tsunami, and Western journalists and bloggers seem unnaturally fixated on a serious but limited nuclear accident that hasn’t claimed any lives yet.

(This and all previous posts on the Sendai earthquake and tsunami can be found here.)

Japan Tsunami/Earthquake Update for March 16, 2011

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

A few tidbits of news on the Sendai earthquake/tsunami aftermath in Japan:

  • Confirmed death toll is 4277. Missing toll is 8194.
  • Current estimates are that half a million Japanese are now homeless.
  • A better source for updates on japan’s nuclear reactors: the IAEA. As opposed to sensationalist MSM headlines like this one from CNN: “Japan’s ticking nuclear timebomb”.
  • Serious damage was sustained by the ports of Hachinohe, Hitachi, Hitachinaka, Ishinomaki, Kamaishi, Kashima, Ofunato, Onahama, Sendai-Shiogama and Soma.
  • How the Apple store in Japan helped out in the emergency.
  • Another gallery of aftermath photos.

    I’m not seeing too many new videos worth putting up. You’ve probably seen a lot of this video before, but here’s one long, continuous aerial take of the tsunami coming in:

    More volcano erruption footage:

    To end on an encouraging note, here’s a video of two dogs who survived the earthquake and tsunami:

    This and all previous posts on the Sendai earthquake and tsunami can be found here.

    Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Update for Saturday Morning, March 12, 2011

    Saturday, March 12th, 2011

    Some quick Sendai earthquake/tsunami updates:

  • Current death toll estimate is 1,700. By way of comparison, remember that the 2010 Haiti earthquake killed 316,000 and the 2004 Indonesian tsunami killed 230,210. First world infrastructure, building codes and warning systems matter a lot.
  • Stratfor is reporting that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant “appears” to have melted down. I have not seen confirmation of this elsewhere. Even if true, it does not mean there has been a core breach, much less a containment breach. And the Christian Science Monitor is saying otherwise.
  • Little electricity and no water in Sendai.
  • The Washington Post has a live update blog.
  • Up-close footage of the tsunami coming into the city I haven’t seen before:

    Close footage of the tsunami surge moving into a city:

    More close tsunami footage:

    More Sendai aftermath footage:

    Some cognitive dissonance in this Russia Today video: The footage is mainly the burning natural gas plant, while the voiceover discusses the nuclear plant failsafe issues:

    More burning natural gas footage, along with a discussion of other nation’s tsunami preparations:

    For other videos I’ve put up from the earthquake/tsunami, start here or just go scrolling back through the videos I’ve put up the last couple of days.

    Howard Waldrop and I have to review Battle: Los Angeles for Locus Online, so between that and my usual Saturday obligations, I’m not sure if I’ll have time to do too many more updates today.

    And Still More Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Upadates

    Friday, March 11th, 2011

    My most recent post on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami is here.

    Some more news tidbits on the Sendai earthquake/tsunami.

  • Evidently the possibility of a nuclear meltdown has been greatly reduced, with a backup cooling system now online. Early reports (from Hillary Clinton, no less) that U.S. armed forces flew emergency coolant to the plant appear to have been in error.
  • I’m still hearing casualty figures in the 1,000 range, but not significantly higher. Japan’s strict building code and high quality engineering probably saved, at a minimum, tens of thousands of lives.
  • Some 50 aftershocks have hit Japan, some as powerful as 6.6. Radically less powerful than the original earthquake, but unusually strong for aftershocks.
  • As bad as things are, the quake and tsunami have caused a lot less damage to businesses and industry than they might have.
  • Dawn just broke over there. Here’s footage of the aftermath:

    A video of the massive whirlpool formed off the coast in the wake of the tsunami:

    (If you know of a better video not recorded off a camera aimed at a TV, let me know.)

    And finally, a much-needed moment of levity. I LOLed…

    My earlier posts for earthquake/video footage can be found here, here, and here

    Japan Earthquake News Update

    Friday, March 11th, 2011

    The current news, as near as I can gather:

  • Death toll is now estimated at 1,000. Let’s hope that wrong (like the early reports out of Katrina), but looking at footage of the debris wall the tsunami swept in, it might not be.
  • Phone lines down, trains down, subways down, two runways at Narita open.
  • There’s evidently a possible danger of a meltdown at a couple of nuclear reactors due to the destruction of the cooling system. And that’s even after the control rods have been deployed.
  • More Videos

    A grocery store during the quake. Don’t know us this is Sendai, Tokyo or somewhere else:

    The Ichihara oil refinery on fire:

    The tsunami coming in:

    More tsunami flood footage:

    Still more: