Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant faces new reactor problem
(Reuters) - A quake-hit Japanese nuclear plant reeling from an explosion at one of its reactors has also lost its emergency cooling system at another reactor, Japan's nuclear power safety agency said on Sunday.
The emergency cooling system is no longer functioning at the No.3 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, requiring the facility to urgently secure a means to supply water to the reactor, an official of the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told a news conference.
On Saturday, an explosion blew off the roof and upper walls of the building housing the facility's No. 1 reactor, stirring alarm over a possible major radiation release, although the government later said the explosion had not affected the reactor's core vessel and that only a small amount of radiation had been released.
The nuclear safety agency official said there was a possibility that at least nine individuals had been exposed to radiation, according to information gathered from municipal governments and other sources.
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility
Japanese nuclear crisis escalates
By Jonathan Soble and Michiyo Nakamoto in Tokyo
Published: March 13 2011 21:58 | Last updated: March 14 2011 16:05
Japan is racing against time to prevent a potential nuclear disaster after a third reactor at the quake-stricken power plant north of Tokyo went into meltdown on Monday.
Engineers have been battling for three days to prevent a nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power’s Daiichi plant in Fukushima. But they have faced successive setbacks trying to cool down three reactors whose cooling systems were damaged after Japan was struck by a devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on Friday.
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Wiki 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami ; Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin?, literally "Tōhoku region Pacific Ocean offshore earthquake") was a 9.0MW megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 05:46 UTC (14:46 local time) on 11 March 2011. The epicenter was reported to be 130 kilometers (81 mi) off the east coast of the Oshika Peninsula, Tōhoku, with the hypocenter at a depth of 24.4 kilometers (15.2 mi).
The earthquake triggered tsunami warnings and evacuations from Japan's Pacific coast and at least 20 countries, including the entire Pacific coast of North America and South America. The earthquake created tsunami waves of up to 10 meters (33 ft) that struck Japan, with smaller waves in many other countries. In Japan, the waves are reported to have travelled up to 10 kilometers (6 mi) inland.
There have been more than 637 reported deaths and at least 10,000 people reported missing in six prefectures. The earthquake caused extensive damage in Japan, including heavy damage to roads and railways as well as fires in many areas, and a dam collapse. Around 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.4 million without water. Many electrical generators were taken down, and at least two nuclear reactors melted down, which prompted evacuations of the affected areas, and a state of emergency was established. The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant experienced an explosion almost 24 hours after the initial earthquake; however, while the blast caused the collapse of the concrete outer containment building, it was reported that the integrity of the inner core-containment vessel was not compromised. Residents within a 20-kilometre (12 mi) radius of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and a 10-kilometre (6.2 mi) radius of the Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant were evacuated.
The estimates of the Sendai earthquake's magnitude made it the most powerful earthquake to hit Japan and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world overall since modern record-keeping began. It is thought to have been the largest earthquake within the boundaries of the North American and Pacific tectonic plates in 1,200 years.
NASA’s Terra satellite’s first view of northeastern Japan in the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami reveal extensive flooding along the coast. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) acquired the top image of the Sendai region on March 12, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. The lower image, taken by Terra MODIS on February 26, 2011, is provided as a point of reference.
Water is black or dark blue in these images. It is difficult to see the coastline in the March 12 image, but a thin green line outlines the shore. This green line is higher-elevation land that is above water, presumably preventing the flood of water from returning to the sea. The flood indicator on the lower image illustrates how far inland the flood extends.
Both images were made with infrared and visible light, a combination that increases the contrast between muddy water and land. Plant-covered land is green, while snow-covered land is pale blue. Clouds are white and pale blue. The paved surfaces in the city of Sendai colors it brown.
MODIS detected a fire burning near the shore north of Sendai. The fire is marked with a red box. It is also surrounded by floods.
The photo-like true-color image acquired a few hours later shows plumes of sediment washed into the ocean along the coast and a dark plume of smoke near Sendai. Both images are from the MODIS Rapid Response System, which provides twice-daily images of Japan.
Shaking Intensity, Christchurch Earthquake
Map of the Sendai earthquake and aftershocks
The main earthquake was preceded by a number of large foreshocks, beginning with a 7.2 MW event on 9 March approximately 40 kilometers (25 mi) from 11 March quake, and followed by another three on the same day in excess of 6 MW in intensity. One minute prior to the earthquake, Earthquake Early Warning connected to about 1,000 seismometers in Japan sent out warnings on television of an impending earthquake to millions. This is believed to have saved innumerable lives.
The earthquake occurred in the western Pacific Ocean, 130 kilometers (81 mi) east of Sendai, Honshu, Japan. Its epicenter was 373 kilometers (232 mi) from Tokyo, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Multiple aftershocks were reported after the initial magnitude 9.0 quake at 14:46 local time. A magnitude 7.0 aftershock was reported at 15:06 local time, M7.4 at 15:15 local time and M7.2 at 15:26 local time. Over two hundred aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater have occurred since the initial quake.
Initially reported as 7.9 by the USGS, the magnitude was quickly upgraded to 8.8 and then to 8.9, and then again to either 9.0 or 9.1 according to some sources. This earthquake occurred in the Japan Trench, where the Pacific Plate is subducting beneath the Okhotsk Plate. A quake of this size usually has a rupture length of at least 480 kilometers (300 mi) and requires a long, relatively straight fault line. Because the plate boundary and subduction zone in this region is not very straight, earthquake magnitudes are usually expected to be between 8 and 8.5; the magnitude of this earthquake was a surprise to some seismologists. The hypocentral region of this earthquake extends from offshore Iwate to offshore Ibaraki Prefectures. The Japanese Meteorological Agency said that the earthquake may have ruptured the fault zone from Iwate to Ibaraki with a length of 500 kilometers (310 mi) and a width of 200 kilometers (120 mi). It has been pointed out that this earthquake may have had the same mechanism as that of another large earthquake in 869, which also caused a large tsunami.
Reports from Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology suggest that the effect of the earthquakes on the region was so strong that the Earth's axis shifted by 10 centimeters (3.9 in). A separate report by U.S. Geological Survey said that Honshu, the main island of Japan, has shifted 2.4 meters (7.9 ft) toward the east.
(Reuters) - The Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima is built on the shoreline in northeast Japan. So when an 8.9 magnitude earth quake struck on Friday, the tsunami waves it spawned -- as tall as a house and speeding like a jet plane -- washed right over the reactors and put them at risk of a meltdown.
Engineers were dousing the plants with seawater in a desperate effort to prevent a calamity on Sunday, even as the government evacuated 140,000 from the area after radioactive steam was released from the stricken plant.
The nuclear crisis was a triple whammy for Japan, coming on top of the earthquake -- Japan's biggest and the fifth strongest ever recorded in the world -- and one of the most powerful tsunami in history, which caused scenes of unimaginable destruction in northeast Japan.
Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the country was facing its biggest crisis since the end of the Second World War, which was when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"We're under scrutiny on whether we, the Japanese people, can overcome this crisis," a grim-faced Kan told a Sunday night news conference.
The quake caused Japan's main island to shift 2.5 meters (8 feet) and moved the earth's axis 10 cm (2.5 inches), geologists said. The question now is whether the catastrophe will spur other seismic changes in Japan, which has yet to emerge from its "lost decades" of stagnant growth, aging population, and loss of international prestige following the collapse of the Japanese asset bubble in the early 1990s.
At the very least, the drama at Fukushima is bound to shake the faith of many Japanese in the safety of their nuclear plants. The catastrophe will also sorely test Kan's deeply unpopular government.
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"Last Updated : 14 March 2011
Loss of coolant at Fukushima Daiichi 2
BREAKING NEWS Serious damage to the reactor core of Fukushima 2 seems likely after all coolant was lost for a period.
Rolling blackouts as Japanese efforts continue
Japanese utilities are introducing rolling blackouts in the face of energy shortages following the natural disasters of the last few days. Meanwhile, the country is relying more than ever on the continued operation of its other nuclear reactors.
Cold shutdowns at Fukushima Daini
Two more reactors at Fukushima Daini have now achieved cold shutdown with full operation of cooling systems. Engineers are working for the same at the last unit.
Explosion rocks third Fukushima reactor
BREAKING NEWS Another hydrogen explosion has rocked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, this time at the third reactor unit. Initial analysis is that the containment structure remains intact.
Contamination checks on evacuated residents
Potential contamination of the public is being studied by Japanese authorities as over 170,000 residents are evacuated from within 20 kilometres of Fukushima Daini and Daiichi nuclear power plants. Nine people's results have shown some degree of contamination."
USS Ronald Reagan has arrived off the coast of Sendai, Miyagi for the rescue of the disaster area in the TOHOKU (north-east region), Japan.
How cool is that!
The human letters on the deck saying in Japanese, “Nice to meet you!”
N-crisis, death toll mount
Japan fought on Sunday to avert a meltdown at three earthquake-crippled nuclear reactors, describing the massive quake and tsunami, which may have killed more than 10,000 people, as the nation’s biggest crisis since World War II. The world’s third-largest economy is struggling to respond to a disaster of epic proportions, with more than five million without water or power and whole towns wiped off the map.
“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 II,” a grim-faced Prime Minister Naoto Kan told a news conference.
As he spoke, officials worked desperately to stop fuel rods in the damaged reactors from overheating, which could in turn melt the container that houses the core, or even explode, releasing radioactive material into the atmosphere.
The government said a building housing a second reactor at the same complex in Fukushima was at risk of exploding after a blast blew the roof off the first the day before. The complex is 240km north of Tokyo.
Later it said it was pouring seawater into a third reactor to release a build-up of pressure.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said the lowest state of emergency had been declared at a separate nuclear power plant north of the town of Sendai, which bore the brunt of the tsunami.
However, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said there had been a rise in radiation at the Onagawa facility due to leakage from the Fukushima plant and there was no problem with the cooling process there.
Kan said the crisis was not another Chernobyl, referring to the nuclear disaster of 1986 in Soviet Ukraine.
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 9-magnitude quake surged across the coastline, reducing whole towns to rubble.
Kyodo news agency said about 300,000 people were evacuated nationwide, many seeking refuge in shelters, wrapped in blankets, some clutching each other sobbing.
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 33-foot wave surging through towns and cities in the Miyagi region, including its main coastal city of Sendai.
Kyodo news agency reported there had been no contact with around 10,000 people in one town, more than half its population. Workers in protective clothing were scanning people arriving at evacuation centres for radioactive exposure.
And the aftershocks go on: 275 new tremors hit quake-torn Japan as fears grow for missing 10,000 in flattened port town
42 survivors have been pulled out of the rubble
Official death toll hits 763, but many hundreds believed to be buried under rubble or washed away by waves
Explosion at nuclear power plant, but experts say reactor is not at risk
Number of people contaminated with radiation could reach 160
Region hit by hundreds of aftershocks, some up to 6.8-magnitude
Rescue operation begins but some areas still cut off by road damage and flood waters
70,000 people evacuated to shelters in Sendai
Forty-two survivors have been pulled from the rubble in the flattened town of Minami Sanrik, where up to 10,000 people are feared to have perished.
Around half the town's 18,000 residents are missing but search and rescue teams are still working desperately through the rubble to try and find more people.
Police are also trying to stop people returning to their homes.
Despite the first tsunami warning being issued to the town that lies two miles from the coastline, some residents decided to stay in their homes instead of fleeing ? leading to the high number of missing people, CNN reported today..
Most of the houses in Minami Sanriku have been completely flattened and waterlogged and one house was found even with seaweed inside.
In case of a tsunami surround yourself with vending machines
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