ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 07:18 pm
@Ceili,
Meantime, the post a comment section on the NYT is very touching..

http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2011/03/12/world/asia/12japan.html
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 07:40 pm
Interesting... a phsysicist on CBC just explained the magnitude in terms that are mind blowing. This earthquake had the equivalent power to ALL the power used in the US in one month.
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 08:13 pm
@Ceili,
Ceili wrote:

Interesting... a phsysicist on CBC just explained the magnitude in terms that are mind blowing. This earthquake had the equivalent power to ALL the power used in the US in one month.

Energy released and power generated are not identical. It's true that an earthquake Richter 9.0 releases 10x more energy than one measuring 8.0 (log scale), but much of that quake energy gets dissipated in land strata and ocean waters. This latest earthquake was offshore, underwater, north-east of Tokyo:
http://media.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/original-size/20110312_WOM610_1.gif
The Tokyo big one is expected to come rippling up from Shizuoka, on another fault running south-west, where the Philippine Sea plate dives under the Eurasian continental plate. Just beneath Tokyo the Pacific plate dives under both. Could happen tomorrow or in a thousand years - so say Banzai! Smile
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 08:55 pm
http://www.popularmechanics.com/print-this/why-japans-massive-earthquake-surprised-scientists-5382984?page=all

Why Japan's Massive Earthquake Surprised Scientists
While seismologists expected Japan's next big earthquake to strike near Tokyo, today's major tsunami-creating quake happened out at sea and on a different fault line. Here's why scientists didn't see it coming.

By Sarah Fecht


A tremor happens every five minutes in Japan. The country rests along one of the most active fault lines in the world, the so-called "Ring of Fire," and every year the Japanese feel 2,000 earthquakes. So why was the March 11 quake so unexpected? It all boils down to the inexact science of earthquake prediction.

"Earthquakes are never unexpected in Japan," Roland Burgmann, geophysicist at University of California, Berkeley, says. "What was unexpected was how large it was. There have been large earthquakes sprinkled over the plate in the last hundred years, but none of them were nearly as big as this one."

The tectonic plate that supports the Pacific Ocean has been shoving itself underneath Japan for millions of years. If this were a smooth, well-oiled dive, the Pacific Rim wouldn't be so freckled with volcanic and seismic activity. But it's not smooth. The plates rub against each other and because of the resistance, the Pacific plate gets "stuck." Movement stops, but the plate still pushes. As tension builds; something eventually has to snap.

Early Monday morning, something finally gave in the Japanese fault line. And once one part of the fault collapsed, the pent-up energy from the plates' butting heads exploded outward. Japan's fault ripped for 250 miles straight—much larger than seismologists would expect on a fault line that's as jagged and contorted as Japan's.

Scientists who study earthquakes often say that an area is "overdue" for a big one, based on how often earthquakes have rumbled in the past, how much the plates are moving, and how long it's been since the most recent quake. Bit in Japan, most scientists (mistakenly) had their money on the Tokai fault line near Tokyo, showing that these predictions require a lot of guesswork.

"We're not able to put our finger on the segment where or when the ‘big one' is likely to strike next," says Susan Hough, geophysicst at the U.S. Geological Survey. "Even in terms of identifying the overdue segment, we start to think that we can do that, but we keep getting these earthquakes in other places."

This new quake, which was centered to the east of Japan's largest island, Honshu, was unexpected because that area had been earthquake-free for decades at least, according to John Rundle, geophysicist at University of California, Davis.

"I think this is telling us that mega-quakes can happen in more places than we had thought," Hough says. She and Rundle suggest that, based on the frequency of uncommonly large earthquakes in the past decade, maybe it's time to change our expectations of where earthquakes will occur and how large they will be.

"It is opening a debate about how we deal with hazard and risk, and how we design buildings for the expected earthquakes," Hough says. "Do we want to rethink that? Because even though these events are uncommon, when they do happen, they have a high impact."
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 08:58 pm
@Butrflynet,
Quote:
Japan's fault ripped for 250 miles straight


By comparison, this is the distance between San Francisco and Los Angeles:

The shortest driving distance is 382 mi - about 6 hours 5 minutes and up to 7 hours 20 minutes in traffic. The flight distance is 327 miles (527 km).


0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 09:25 pm
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 09:29 pm
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/us-japan-quake-idUSTRE72A0SS20110312

Japan battles to contain nuclear crisis after huge quake

Excerpts:

(Reuters) - Japan scrambled on Saturday to reduce pressure in two nuclear plants damaged after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck its northeast coast probably killing at least 1,300 people.

...

The government warned of a possible radiation leak as authorities began trying to reduce pressure at damaged two nuclear plants, sending tens of thousands of residents out of the area to avoid possible contamination.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said it had begun steps to release pressure at its two nuclear power plants in Fukushima, some 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

But Kyodo news agency quoted the company as saying it was having difficulties opening a valve at its Daiichi reactor to release pressure.

Experts and the government both insisted there would be no radioactive disaster.

"No Chernobyl is possible at a light water reactor. Loss of coolant means a temperature rise, but it also will stop the reaction," Naoto Sekimura, a professor at the University of Tokyo, said.

"Even in the worst-case scenario, that would mean some radioactive leakage and equipment damage, but not an explosion. If venting is done carefully, there will be little leakage. Certainly not beyond the 3 km radius."
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 09:53 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:
Experts and the government both insisted there would be no radioactive disaster.

"No Chernobyl is possible at a light water reactor. Loss of coolant means a temperature rise, but it also will stop the reaction," Naoto Sekimura, a professor at the University of Tokyo, said.

"Even in the worst-case scenario, that would mean some radioactive leakage and equipment damage, but not an explosion. If venting is done carefully, there will be little leakage. Certainly not beyond the 3 km radius."



True that they are western reactor designs and it is impossible for them to do a Chernobyl.

But that term "equipment damage" is a bit of an understatement. They could be hours away from five simultaneous core meltdowns if they don't get those reactors cooled. I'd hate to see the repair bill on that if it happens.

Best of luck to their engineers over the coming day.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Mar, 2011 10:11 pm
@oralloy,
Those engineers are probably all glowing in the dark right about now. No matter the outcome, they are sacrificing themselves.

0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 12:16 am
Breaking news, so it could turn out to be incorrect information, but it looks like they just lost one of the reactors.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/77025.html
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 12:37 am
Sorry for the huge graphic, but this is from NOAA. It's pretty interesting infographic.

http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/SOS/Tsunami/Tsunami-Mar112011-SOS.png

A
R
T
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 12:39 am
On another note, my roommate does all that R&D thermal management code for the NRC. His office has been mobilized to investigate reactor failure possibilities. That's not abnormal, he tells me, but given the situation, it does suggest that Japan is very interested in being thorough.

A
R
T
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 02:17 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
Breaking news, so it could turn out to be incorrect information, but it looks like they just lost one of the reactors.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/77025.html



Explosion and smoke at the reactor thought to be in meltdown:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/japan-quake-nuclear-idUSTKG00707720110312

I'm sure the containment dome will hold though.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 04:17 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Breaking news, so it could turn out to be incorrect information, but it looks like they just lost one of the reactors.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/77025.html



Explosion and smoke at the reactor thought to be in meltdown:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/japan-quake-nuclear-idUSTKG00707720110312

I'm sure the containment dome will hold though.



One of the large white buildings at the nuclear plant was reduced to a metal framework by the explosion:

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/03/13/world/asia/13nuclear-a/13nuclear-a-popup.jpg

I'm unsure if that large white building was the containment dome. If the explosion was the containment dome ceasing to exist, that would be extremely bad.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 04:55 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
I'm unsure if that large white building was the containment dome. If the explosion was the containment dome ceasing to exist, that would be extremely bad.


These experts think that despite the destruction of the outer building, the reactor is still contained:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/us-japan-quake-experts-idUKTRE72B1BP20110312
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 11:55 am
@oralloy,
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2011/0312/Japan-earthquake-Officials-say-nuclear-catastrophe-averted

Japan earthquake: Officials say nuclear catastrophe averted

Fears of a nuclear meltdown in Japan have subsided after a reactor that was damaged in Friday’s devastating earthquake reportedly emerged intact from an explosion.

http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/images/0312-japan-quake-nuclear-plant.jpg/9747590-1-eng-US/0312-japan-quake-nuclear-plant.jpg_full_380.jpg

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, Saturday March 12.

Fears of a nuclear meltdown subsided after a reactor that was damaged in Friday’s devastating earthquake reportedly emerged intact from an explosion.
(Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

By Justin McCurry, Correspondent
posted March 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm EST
Tokyo

Fears of a nuclear meltdown in Japan have subsided after a reactor that was damaged in Friday’s devastating earthquake reportedly emerged intact from an explosion.

A day after the country was thrown into chaos by a fierce tsunami triggered by the largest earthquake in Japan’s history, the country was, for a few terrifying hours, bracing itself for a possible nuclear catastrophe.

Television cameras captured the moment that smoke poured from what at first appeared to be one of four reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, located 150 miles north of Tokyo.

After a few nerve-wracking hours, however, the government and the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power, said the damage had been confined to the walls and roof surrounding the reactor, sparing its metal casing.

The chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, told a televised press conference that radiation around the plant had, in fact, started to decrease.

A “tiny” amount of radiation had leaked earlier in the day when officials attempted to relieve pressure inside the reactor.

“We have confirmed that the walls of this building were what exploded, and not the reactor’s container,” Edano said, adding, “There was no large amount of radiation leakage outside. At this point, there has been no major change to the level of radiation leakage outside, so we'd like everyone to respond calmly.”

Some exposure to radiation

Tokyo Electric said four workers had suffered minor injuries in the explosion and were being treated in hospital. But Japanese TV reported that three people who were seeking refuge nearby when the explosion occurred may have been exposed to radiation.

The reactor was one of several at two nuclear plants in Fukushima prefecture whose cooling systems failed after the area was shaken by Friday’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake.

Prior to the explosion, officials had detected eight times the normal radiation levels outside the facility, and 1,000 times normal inside the affected reactor’s control room.

As officials attempted to relieve the pressure building up inside the affected reactors, the chilling prospect of a Chernobyl-style meltdown momentarily drew media attention away from the human tragedy unfolding elsewhere in the region.

As a precaution, the government expanded evacuation zones around both of the affected plants and advised residents to leave the area. In all more than 51,000 resident living near the facilities have been evacuated.

Many feared the worst when TV pictures showed the reactor building had been reduced to its metal frame.
Sea water used to cool reactor

The firm said it planned to fill the reactor with sea water to cool it down and reduce pressure, while officials said its core remained intact.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it was urgently seeking details from Japanese authorities, adding that plans were being made to distribute iodine to local residents.

The incident could call into question Japan’s enthusiasm for nuclear power. The country’s 54 reactors provide 30 percent of its electricity, and there are plans to increase provision to 50 percent by 2030. But the industry has been plagued by accidents and allegations of cover-ups.

Anti-nuclear campaigners said the dangers of a serious accident remained.

“Fukushima remains under threat of a serious reactor meltdown,” said Jan Beranek, head of Greenpeace International’s nuclear campaign. “This would potentially create an iodine cloud, which could spread high radiation levels to both the environment and population over many tens of kilometers.”
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 11:58 am
@Butrflynet,
Protective gear my arse.

Do they think that any radiation will automatically skip the exposed portions of their bare faces because the other parts of their bodies are scantily protected?

What a way to scare people... "We are sure you are safe but we're going to have these people in "protective gear and masks" check you out with a Geiger counter just in case."
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 12:04 pm
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-03-12/japan-sends-50-000-rescuers-to-quake-area-as-death-toll-mounts.html

Japan Sends 50,000 Rescuers to Quake Area as Death Toll Mounts

March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Japan sent thousands of rescue workers to the northeastern coastal area devastated by the country’s strongest earthquake on record as officials at a nuclear power station battled to prevent a meltdown after an explosion near a reactor.

The confirmed death toll from the 8.9-magnitude temblor and the ensuing tsunami that swept away buildings and cars reached 680 and may rise to more than 1,000, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK. Miyagi prefecture said 10,000 residents, more than half the population of the town of Minami-Sanriku, couldn’t be located since the March 11 quake, NHK said.

An estimated 4,000 people were stranded in evacuation centers in Sendai, 310 kilometers (193 miles) north of Tokyo, without food, water or heat, awaiting rescue by helicopter. Prime Minister Naoto Kan, returning yesterday from an inspection of the ravaged area around Sendai, a city of 1 million people, said he would mobilize 50,000 Self Defense Force personnel to aid the relief effort.

Australia said it was sending search-and-rescue teams with dogs that can detect bodies trapped in rubble. The teams will carry 22 tons of equipment and supplies, Attorney General Robert McClelland said in a statement. The U.S. Agency for International Development said today it’s sending urban search- and-rescue teams from California and the Washington area at the request of the Japanese government.

...

Wall of Water

The wall of water reached as far as 20 kilometers inland, according NHK. Drinking water supplies were disrupted for tens of thousands of homes in Tokyo and along the east coast, agencies said.

...

Tokyo’s subway system, the world’s busiest with about 8 million riders a day, returned to normal yesterday.

Narita Airport, the city’s main international gateway, also began operating normally. Flights stopped landing March 11, stranding 13,800 passengers at the airport. They were given water and food, Ryoko Yabe, a spokeswoman for the airport, said by phone. Haneda airport, Asia’s second-busiest by passengers, resumed flights, the transport ministry said.

...
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 01:35 pm
@Butrflynet,
Quote:
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2011/0312/Japan-earthquake-Officials-say-nuclear-catastrophe-averted

Japan earthquake: Officials say nuclear catastrophe averted

Fears of a nuclear meltdown in Japan have subsided after a reactor that was damaged in Friday’s devastating earthquake reportedly emerged intact from an explosion.



Fears of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe have indeed subsided since the reactor still has containment.

But I'll be very surprised if there is not a Three-Mile-Island-style meltdown within that intact containment.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 04:45 pm
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/03/officials-identify-man-killed-in-crescent-city-tsunami.html

Tsunami: Officials identify man killed in Crescent City

March 12, 2011 | 1:32 pm

As residents and officials began to assess the damage in Crescent City from Friday’s tsunami, high waves continued to surge in this hard-hit Northern California town, and the curious were warned to stay away from local beaches because of the potential for continued danger.

The tsunami’s one West Coast casualty was identified by Del Norte County Sheriff Cmdr. Bill Steven as Dustin Weber, 25, believed to be from Bend, Ore. Weber was swept out to sea while photographing the waves with friends near the mouth of the Klamath River.

At a Saturday morning briefing about the tsunami response, Crescent City Harbormaster Richard Young asked state and federal officials for help as the city digs out of the disaster, which “destroyed” the harbor and dealt a painful blow to the local economy.

“We’re facing not only physical disaster, but financial disaster,” he told a small crowd at the county administrative center that included Rep. Mike Thompson, Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro and Mike Dayton, acting secretary of the state emergency management agency.

“Our business activity came to a screeching halt yesterday, and that affects the entire community,” said Young, who said that authorities have not yet placed a dollar-figure on the damage.
0 Replies
 
 

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