But right this minute in Japan there is a fire with white smoke pouring out everywhere from the nuclear reactor 4 Fukushima Daiichi being carried by the wind being shown on NHK –
Take a look –
– they are also showing the snow which is covering areas of the debris covered coast where the tsunami hit.
Around 5:45 a.m., new fire was discovered in northeastern corner of reactor 4 building, where an apparent hydrogen explosion caused a fire Tuesday morning following Friday’s 9.0-magnitude quake.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Hajimi Motujuku said the blaze erupted in the outer housing of the reactor’s containment vessel. It was later confirmed that the fire was because the first blaze was not completely extinguished. Fire fighters are trying to put out the flames.
Flash from Reuters – White smoke at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is coming from reactor No.3: Fuji TV (4 minutes ago)
Also from twitter within the last fifteen minutes –
from bloomberg – Tokyo electric says two nuclear reactor cores may be damaged – http://ow.ly/4fkAi
“It [TEPCO] says 43 percent of the fuel rods in the No. 1 reactor were possibly damaged at 1 pm on Tuesday, but the ratio had increased to 70 percent by 3.25 pm. At the No.2 reactor, the ratio [of damaged fuel rods] rose to 33% from 14.”
“In both reactors, the coolant levels are low, exposing the fuel rods. Sea water is being pumped into the reactors to cool them down, but the coolant level remains low, creating the risk of a meltdown. Damaged fuel rods would leak radioactive material.”
Here is a link to the damaged No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear plant – Yomiuri http://bit.ly/fLQott
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant No. 4 (middle) and No. 3 (front) (photo 15 provides TEPCO)
NHK says there is an 8-meter square hole in the wall of this containment building at Reactor No.4 Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The number of dead from Friday’s earthquake and tsunami passes 11,000 – says the NHK World rolling news tape at the top of the page.
On the left side of this photo is Nuclear Reactor No. 3 that looks like a crumpled mess – according to a graphic explanation of the photograph on NHK news (on USTREAM live) just now – to the right of that in the picture toward the center is Reactor No.4.
Among the top stories there is one that says the title – (on NHK)
“Gov’t ups permissible radiation level”
Figures – just change the numbers and that will make it all okay – sounds like that may be for the workers expected to go back into the plant. They had taken all those workers out of the nuclear compound after spikes in the radiation a couple hours ago. So, in order to send them back in – the government changed the acceptable exposure levels? That doesn’t sound like it will do well for the people subjected to it.
Workers briefly abandon Japan plant after radiation surge
By Shinichi Saoshiro and Chisa Fujioka
TOKYO | Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:02am GMT
Japan’s chief government spokesman said it was “not realistic” to think the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima, 240 kms (150 miles) north of Tokyo, would reach the start of a nuclear chain reaction, but said officials were talking to the U.S. military about possible help.
“This is a slow-moving nightmare,” said Dr Thomas Neff, a research affiliate at the Centre for International Studies, which is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
(see photo above in this post for how the building looked after the fire put itself out.) – a better photo of it than the one on the article.
So what are people in the US doing about all this (if they know about it at all) –
Potassium iodide and Geiger counter sales spike after Japan disaster
Retailers scramble to restock as some Americans fear radiation from Japanese nuclear plants could spread to U.S.
By Ryan Haggerty, Tribune reporter (Chicago Tribune)
8:49 p.m. CDT, March 15, 2011
The State Department says for concerns about a specific U.S. citizen in #Japan, please call 1-888-407-4747 or email JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov
France urges French nationals in Tokyo to leave country or head to southern Japan – Reuters (according to Breaking News twitter) –
(11 minutes ago – right now it is 12.43 am EDT – there was a mention of this earlier today on the news so it is probably six or seven hours ago when it was first suggested.)
The Associated Press
CIOL – 5 minutes ago
Earlier, Infosys too announced that its Japan-based Indian employees are returning to India, as panic swept Tokyo after a rise in radioactive levels around an earthquake-hit nuclear power plant. Meanwhile, TCS also said it was ready to relocate its …
IBNLive.com – 6 minutes ago
Japan faces the world’s most serious nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986 after a quake-crippled nuclear power plant exploded and sent low levels of radiation floating towards Tokyo.
The Augusta Chronicle – Rob Pavey – 8 minutes ago
Scientists warned this week of yet another complication in Japan’s nuclear crisis: One of the doomed reactors is loaded with mixed-oxide fuel that contains plutonium.
ABC Online – Jim Green – 9 minutes ago
A clear pattern is evident − those with the greatest ideological attachment to nuclear power have provided the most inaccurate commentary.
My Note –
As well as those with more than an ideological attachment to nuclear power – which could be financial or political. GE built the plant and has over $1 billion dollars worth of new plants slated to be built around the world, including in the US. Australia and other nations with uranium mining wants to have buyers – including the construction companies and engineering firms that build them.
But, my question is still – why in a land of volcanoes such as Japan – did they ever need to heat water to steam using nuclear fuel rods in the first place? They could have just as easily sent pipes filled with water pumping through the edge of volcanic cauldrons to heat it into steam to about the same temperatures and moved a turbine with it to produce electricity. It wouldn’t have cost any more than running the nuclear plants – in fact, it could have cost less, been less dangerous and been more controllable. At least if it gets melted – there isn’t nuclear waste across vast areas to contend with – just shut the water off going to it and secure the area if it is done the way I’m suggesting. And, it has been done that way successfully in Iceland – why not in Japan?
And, why don’t Americans (especially adults) know what a nuclear power plant looks like and what it does and where they are in the country around them? That is the most bizarre lack of knowledge that I’ve ever seen in my life (nearly.) There was once about ten years ago that all the old men in one of the West Georgia communities where I lived, that told all the young men that the only time a woman could get pregnant was during that “time of the month”. And, for whatever reason of not knowing any better – well, there were hundreds of young women and young families who suddenly had pregnancies at about the same time from that. The old men thought it was so funny that none of them knew any better and considered it quite the joke. I think that one was about the worst in these kinds of things in the number of lives permanently affected by it whether they were financially capable of sustaining that or not. And, this other one comes in second – I had a friend over a little while ago who had no clue whatsoever that there are nuclear plants in the United States or any idea what they do or what they look like or that there are many of them. He was amazed looking at the news from Japan and then said, “well, we don’t have any of those over here, do we?” He is educated – the people I know around me are not stupid people. They have college educations. So what is wrong with this picture?
Agency: Damaged container may be causing smoke, radiation spike
By the CNN Wire Staff
March 16, 2011 2:00 a.m. EDT
Two NZers exposed to radiation in Japan
By Claire Trevett and AAP
Updated 4:52 PM Wednesday Mar 16, 2011
Two New Zealand rescue workers in Japan have had to be decontaminated after they were found to have been exposed to radiation after landing at the Fukushima airport.
The airport is 20 kilometres outside the exclusion zone mandated in the wake of damage to a nuclear power plant . . . (etc.)
York Weekly – Jennifer Feals – 6 minutes ago
An explosion at a nuclear power plant 160 miles north of Tokyo has caused radiation leakage and fears of a meltdown. Time Warner Cable customers making calls to Japan through April 15 do not need to change to their accounts to use the program.
Reuters – 5 minutes ago
3 reactor at a nuclear plant in the northeast from a helicopter to try to cool the fuel rods, broadcaster NHK said. We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information.
(It is 2.32 am EDT right now)
((**5.33 pm Japan time)**
Atlanta Journal Constitution – Joe McDonald – 4 minutes ago
AP BEIJING – A Chinese news agency says more than 2000 Chinese have been evacuated from Japan’s northeast following radiation leaks at a nuclear power plant. Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers, mobilized to wash away radioactive …
BusinessWeek – Shigeru Sato – 7 minutes ago
March 16 (Bloomberg) — A fire and aftershocks struck the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant today, as officials battling to prevent a nuclear meltdown said fuel rods at two reactors may have been damaged.
1980’s – Two hundred and eighteen nuclear power plants came online in the US – according to CNNI just now (2.39 am)
This is not good. . . .
and this –
Live status update on reactors at Fukushima nuclear power plants
Has a paragraph on each reactor to explain where the problems have been . . . missing a couple things – fire today on fourth floor of Reactor No.4 and the earlier fire that was in a separate building next to the reactors and near the containment pond for spent fuel.
Japan earthquake: Footage of moment tsunami hit
From CNN transcripts March 13, 2011 (today is early morning of March 16 )
YUKIO EDANO, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY –
EDANO (through translator: — if that we can stabilize the situation of the reactor. And although the air being vented out does contain some minimal radioactive material, however, we believe that it is a minimal level that does not affect human health. So venting out air, as well as feeding in water through the pump, is being carried out on reactor number three. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: CNN’s Stan Grant is at our Tokyo bureau and he joins us with the very latest. Stan, just a couple of hours ago the Japanese ambassador to the U.S. told our own Wolf Blitzer that he didn’t know of any sort of meltdown. So we seem to be getting different variations of information. What can you tell us to help clarify the situation?
STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, the information really has been open to wide interpretation and, of course, with this unfolding nuclear emergency, which is now into its second day since the quake knocked out the cooling system at the Daiichi plant, this really is about how people see the events and how they interpret some of these factors.
We’ve heard the word meltdown being used. We’ve heard a partial meltdown. They’ve been talking about the casing of the reactor melting.
There’s also been talk about this cesium, which is a nuclear particle which has seeped into the atmosphere. Now that normally is found restricted within the core of the reactor. So the fact that that was detected in the atmosphere also gave rise to a belief that perhaps the casing of the reactor itself was melting down. So with these different interpretations, people are putting different weight on the events.
You mentioned the explosion that took place yesterday. Well that explosion also raised fear that it was an explosion in the reactor. They’ve since clarified that. In fact, it was an explosion in the outer wall surrounding where the reactor is. So it damaged the outer wall not the reactor itself.
But, as you say, there is a lot of precaution in place. They’ve widened the exclusion zone to 20 kilometers, about 12 or 13 miles. Up to 200,000 people are in the perimeter. So they’re being told to evacuate their homes.
And we understand that iodine has also been handed out. That’s useful to take to ward off the impact of radiation, if you come into contact with it.
CNNI just announced that residents within 10 km of Daini nuclear plant told to evacuate –
Japan’s Emperor had spoken just before that on HNK and then was announced on CNNI – but my computer crashed about the moment he appeared to speak. That was the last image and then it crashed. Figures.
but, he did order the evacuation of those around a second nuclear plant that has had its share of cooling problems – Daini