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Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan Quake and Tsunami -- sticky & updated all day -- updates top down after videos

Quake rating upgraded, now fourth most powerful recorded. . .ever

Honolulu Star:

Tsunami warning center raises magnitude of Japan quake to 9.1
By Ken Kobayahshi

The Japan earthquake was the fourth most powerful ever recorded with a magnitude of 9.1, twice more powerful than the initial estimate of 8.9, Gerard Fryer, geophysicist of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, said this morning.

Three others that were more powerful since the late 1800s when seismometers started measuring ground motions were in 9.5 in Chile in 1960, 9.2 in Alaska in 1964 and 9.1 in Sumatra in 2004, according to Fryer.

The new magnitude was adjusted based on the impact of the quake throughout the Pacific, he said. "It fits all measurements, including in Hawaii," Fryer said.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimate of the quake's magnitude is still 8.9.

It is not uncommon for scientists to estimate different magnitudes immediately after an earthquake.

Death toll from powerful Japan quake likely to top 1,000
(from all info coming in that is a horrendous understatement --mr)

USGS states quake ripped hole in earth's crust 150 miles long and 50 miles wide


US says Japan earthquake left billions in damage
(AP) –

WASHINGTON (AP) — A massive earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan Friday was the strongest quake in the area in nearly 1,200 years.

David Applegate, a senior science adviser for earthquake and geologic hazards for the U.S. Geological Survey, said the 8.9-magnitude quake ruptured a patch of the earth's crust 150 miles long and 50 miles across.

He said the earthquake, which also spawned a massive tsunami that hit Japan before racing across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States, likely caused tens of billions of dollars in structural damage in Japan.

Laura K. Furgione, deputy director for the National Weather Service, said the tsunami first hit Hawaii early Friday morning. An 8.1-foot wave destroyed piers and docks in Crescent City, Calif., later Friday.

Terrifying: The tsunami slams into the shore line along Iwanuma in northern Japan after the 8.9 eathquake struck today


Japan on 'Path of Core-Melt' Nuclear Accident, Expert Tells Newsmax
Friday, 11 Mar 2011 04:40 PM
By David A. Patten

Japan is “on the path of a core-melt accident,” a nuclear expert tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview.

The news Friday that the only nation that ever has endured a nuclear-weapons attack is venting contaminated vapor from a nuclear power plant’s containment core could indicate that the coolant loss is quite serious, says Mark Hibbs, a Berlin-based senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a nonprofit think tank. Hibbs, who works in Carnegie's Nuclear Policy Program, has spent 20 years reporting for nuclear-energy journals and has spoken with Japanese officials in the aftermath of the nuclear plant mishap resulting from the earthquake there.

Japanese nuclear officials say radiation levels inside a nuclear power plant have surged to 1,000 times their normal levels after the cooling system failed.

The nuclear safety agency said early Saturday that some radiation has also seeped outside the plant, prompting calls for further evacuations of the area. Some 3,000 people have already been urged to leave their homes.

The cooling system for a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant failed on Friday after a massive earthquake caused a power outage.

The continued loss of electricity has also delayed the planned release of vapor from inside the reactor to ease pressure. Pressure inside one of the reactors had risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal.

The pressure inside the reactor containment domes is 50 percent higher than normal, the officials say, although they contend that a last-ditch emergency cooling system is intact.

“The Japanese public is generally very alarmed about things like radioactive emissions,” says Hibbs, who served for two decades as an editor and correspondent for the nuclear energy publications “Nucleonics Week” and “Nuclear Fuel.” “They have an extreme high standard of safety protection, and they don’t like to see risks like this taken even if the risk is small.

“It’s a very, very risk-averse culture in this regard. So if the authorities are willing to do this, that might be a sign of how serious they perceive the threat to the reactor.”

Although coolant interruptions to nuclear power plants are not all that unusual, says Hibbs, who adds that the surprising aspect of this incident is that Japan’s redundant systems apparently have been unable to counteract reactor core heating.

“What happened in Japan is very alarming because it would appear . . . that about 2:30 this afternoon Japan time, when the earthquake struck . . . three of the reactors that were operating were disenabled because of a loss of offsite power that was caused by the earthquake.”

the rest here



Powerful Quakes Hit Japan's Nagano Prefecture

TOKYO (Kyodo)--Two powerful earthquakes hit an inland area northwest of Tokyo early Saturday, each measuring 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Nagano Prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The agency did not issue a tsunami warning. The 3:59 a.m. and 4:32 a.m. quakes, with preliminary magnitudes of 6.7 and 5.8 respectively, hit areas including Niigata Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast, which is far from the Pacific coastal area jolted by a magnitude 8.8 quake the previous day.

Police said they had received reports of a mudslide in the city of Tokamachi as well as avalanches in Tokamachi and the town of Tsunan following the early morning quakes.

Wooden buildings including a town hall and a garage were reportedly destroyed and some sections of Route 117 were ruptured in the village of Sakae in Nagano, a village official said.

The focus of both predawn quakes was in central Niigata at a depth of 10 kilometers, the agency said.

The first quake measured upper 6 in Niigata but Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it was continuing to operate its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in the prefecture.


Japan to release of radioactive vapor at nuke pant

TOKYO (AP) - Japanese authorities will release slightly radioactive vapor to ease pressure at nuclear reactor whose cooling system failed.

The failure occurred after a power outage caused by Friday's massive earthquake off northeastern Japan.

Japan's nuclear safety agency says pressure inside one of six boiling water reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant had risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal.

The agency said the radioactive element in the vapor that will be released would not affect the environment or human health.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

TOKYO (AP)—Japan's massive earthquake caused a power outage that disabled a nuclear reactor's cooling system, triggering evacuation orders for about 3,000 residents as the government declared its first-ever state of emergency at a nuclear plant.

Japan's nuclear safety agency said pressure inside one of six boiling water reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant had risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal. To reduce the pressure, slightly radioactive vapor may be released. The agency said the radioactive element in the vapor would not affect the environment or human health.

After the quake triggered a power outage, a backup generator also failed and the cooling system was unable to supply water to cool the 460-megawatt No. 1 reactor, though at least one backup cooling system is being used. The reactor core remains hot even after a shutdown.

The agency said plant workers are scrambling to restore cooling water supply at the plant but there is no prospect for immediate success.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the 40-year-old plant was not leaking radiation. The plant is in Onahama city, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

If the outage in the cooling system persists, eventually radiation could leak out into the environment, and, in the worst case, could cause a reactor meltdown, a nuclear safety agency official said on condition of anonymity, citing sensitivity of the issue.

the rest here

Business Insider:

REPORT: 88,000 People Are Missing In Japan
Joe Weisenthal

Heartbreaking: While the death toll remains in the low hundreds right now (officially) it seems sure to spiral much higher.

According to the Kyodo News Agency, via BBC, the official missing persons tally is around 88,000.

It's well known that a lot of people are simply stranded in the cities, including Tokyo, and in many cases the people are probaby safe. It's not clear how they're included in the number.

Boston Globe

Strong quake strikes central Japan, felt in Tokyo (a new quake, not an after shock -- mr)
Associated Press / March 11, 2011

TOKYO—Japan's Meteorological Agency says a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck the central, mountainous part of the country hours after a massive quake hit off the country's northeastern coast.

Dozens of aftershocks have rattled Japan's northeast since Friday's magnitude 8.9 temblor, but the most recent quake was in an entirely different location.

The latest quake hit early Saturday at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers), about 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Tokyo.

It caused buildings in Tokyo to sway. There were no immediate reports of damage.


Tsunami Slams Into Santa Cruz Harbor; Crescent City

SAN FRANCISCO -- A tsunami generated from a massive killer earthquake in Japan slammed into two Northern California coastal communities Friday, capsizing and damaging several boats and leaving the waters littered with debris.

Officials reported that the tide pulled back about 8 inches over a five-minute period nearby at Pillar Point, setting the scene for the destruction in Santa Cruz. At least 15 fishing and pleasure crafts were ripped from their moorings and heavily damaged during the surge.

Two docks also sustained major damage during the surge. Local officials had declared an emergency and estimated the damage at $2 million.

Meanwhile, to the north in Crescent City, the tsunami caused heavy damage to the harbor town.

Del Norte County sheriff's spokesman Bill Stevens said most boats were pulled out of the harbor in preparation for Friday's tsunami, but 35 vessels that remained crashed into one another and were sinking.

The wooden docks were also breaking apart under the force of the waves.

Crescent City Councilwoman Kelly Schellong said the docks and harbor were "pretty much completely destroyed."

Stevens said the damage cost wass estimated to be into the millions, and the surges were expected to continue through the afternoon.

"This is just devastating. I never thought I'd see this again," said Ted Scott, a retired mill worker who lived in Crescent City when a 1964 tsunami killed 17 people on the West Coast, including 11 in his town. "I watched the docks bust apart. It buckled like a graham cracker."

The waves didn't make it over a 20-foot break wall protecting the rest of the city, and no serious injuries or home damage was immediately reported.

Elsewhere, the wave impact had not been felt as dramatically.

Earlier in the morning, hundreds of cars jammed the roadside along Highways 35 and 92 as residents of Half Moon Bay and other nearby communities obeyed a voluntary evacuation warning in preparation for the tsunami's arrival.

County officials had advised residents in the low-lying areas west of Highway 1 to move to ground east of the highway, according to the county's emergency alert system.

Residents in the Linda Mar area of Pacifica were advised to evacuate to the east of Adobe Drive. Those in El Granada should evacuate to the east of Coronado Street.

Meanwhile, Pacifica school officials canceled classes for the day.

In San Francisco, acting Mayor Ed Lee said no evacuations had been ordered because of a combination of low tide and only a surge expected to be only 1-2 feet.

However, as a precaution Lee said the Great Highway along Ocean Beach had been closed. The highway was closed from Point Lobos at 48th Avenue to Lake Merced, Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.
To the south along the Central Coast the tsunami surge also caused damage to boats in Morro Bay.

Police Chaplain James Berg said the swells had knocked some boats loose and damaged a dock. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from low lying areas, the harbor and the embarcadero areas of the city.

Daily Mail:

Cruise ship and bullet train go missing as Hawaii and Pacific are put on alert for 33-foot tsunami waves
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:17 PM on 11th March 2011

A large number of tourists are thought to be among 400 passengers feared drowned after a high-speed bullet train and cruise ship went missing following the devastating Japanese earthquake earlier today.The massive earthquake - 8,000 times stronger than the one that hist New Zealand last month - sent a catastrophic 33 foot tsunami hurtling across the Pacific Ocean.

Thousands of people were forced to flee for their lives as the massive wave bore down on them, sweeping away everything in its path.

This afternoon, the Japanese declared a state of emergency at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima after the 8.9 quake caused the cooling system to fail.

Meanwhile, a ship carrying 100 people was swept away by the tsunami and bullet train carrying hundreds of passengers in the Miyagi region was missing. Their fate is unknown.

At least 200 to 300 bodies have been found in Sendai city, while dozens others were reported to have been killed in other areas of Japan.

Miyagi police also said that a ship carrying more than 100 people was washed away by a tsunami, without providing more details.

The death toll has now risen to 300 but it is feared thousands more are at risk as the true scale of the devastation becomes apparent and the tsunami rips across the ocean.

Tsunami warnings have been issued across the entire Pacific, as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West Coast.

the rest here


Pressure at Damaged Japanese Nuclear Reactor Rising with Fears
Coastal U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Brace for Tsunami After Japanese Quake

Earthquake damage at a Japanese nuclear power plant northeast of Tokyo has stoked fears of radioactive fallout unless the reactor's core can be cooled, and renewed concerns about the security of other nuclear facilities in the tsunami's path.

A state of emergency was declared Friday at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant when its cooling system failed to function properly after the nuclear reactor lost power and automatically shut down.

"You have to continue to supply water. If you don't the fuel will start to overheat and could melt," said Edwin Lyman, a senior staff scientist in the Global Security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington.

A meltdown could lead to a breach of the reactor's steel containment vessel and allow radiation to escape into an outer, concrete containment building, if not the environment.

"Up to 100 percent of the volatile radioactive Cesium-137 content of the pools could go up in flames and smoke, to blow downwind over large distances," said Kevin Kamps a nuclear waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear. "Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago."

"We have to take this very seriously. Every nuclear power plant has two layers of defense, first the brakes; second, you dump cold water on it. And that apparently has malfunctioned. That's what causing concern," said physicist Dr. Michio Kaku.

"It does not mean we have a runaway accident, but it is cause for concern because this is not supposed to happen," he said.

U.S. nuclear experts say modern power plants are designed to withstand earthquakes and tsunamis and have several security layers in place in the event of lost power, including diesel fuel generators and battery systems.

"There are mutliple redundancies to continue to feed water to the core to take the heat away at most facilities," said an official with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who asked not to be named since he is not familiar with details of the Fukushima plant.

But those back-up power sources may not have worked in this case, a development many international experts called troublesome.

"The Japanese are considered the best in the world," said Mycle Schneider, a nuclear consultant in Paris who is familiar with the facilities in Japan. "They had several generators in place in case one of them doesn't work. This is the first time I've heard of where none of them worked. To me, that is a very deep concern."

Japanese officials said radiation has not leaked from the plant, but ordered 2,800 people living around the facility to evacuate their homes as a precaution.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. military transported coolant to the Fukushima nuclear plant and will continue to assist as needed. "You know Japan is very reliant on nuclear power and they have very high engineering standards but one of their plants came under a lot of stress with the earthquake and didn't have enough coolant," Clinton said.

Nearby, the turbine building at the Onagawa nuclear power plant burst into flames shortly after the earthquake and has since been extinguished. Another plant at the facility was also reported to be experiencing a water leak, according to Japanese officials.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it was closely monitoring the situation at the four Japanese nuclear power sites impacted by the earthquake and confirmed that all had been successfully shutdown.

"It's a positive sign," Mitch Singer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, a U.S. industry trade group, said of initial reports of the power plants' performance and durability following the massive quake. "This industry more than all others depents on the safe operation of the plant, and it appears these robust facilities have operated as they were designed to do."

Japanese Quake Stirs Nuclear Concerns
Officials with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission are "closely monitoring" operations at two California nuclear power plants situated directly on the coast and at risk of impact from the approaching tsunami triggered by the quake off of Japan's coast.

Both the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County and the San Onofre Power Plant in San Diego County are still operating normally but taking preparatory action, an NRC official told ABC News.

A tsunami has potential to disrupt operations and power output at the facilities, which rely on steady sea water flow for energy.

But officials said a giant wave would not likely damage the reactor or create a safety risk to the public. Experts say the sealed containment structure around the reactor would protect it from the water, though other parts of the plant facility could be damaged.

The December 2004 tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9 earthquake off the coast of India led to the automatic shut down of the Kalpakkam nuclear power plant near Chennai after water levels fluctuated in the cooling water intake. It resumed operations just six days later.

According to the World Nuclear Association, Japanese nuclear power plants have been tested repeatedly by earthquakes in recent years and operated effectively.

Worldwide 20 percent of nuclear powerplants operate in areas of "significant seismic activity," according to WNA.


Hundreds of Bodies Found in Japan After Massive Tsunami Spawned by Earthquake

Japanese police say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in a northeastern coastal area where a massive earthquake spawned a ferocious tsunami Friday that swept away boats, cars and homes.

The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake -- the largest in Japan's history -- unleashed a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0.

The bodies found were in Sendai city, the closest major city to the epicenter, Japanese police said. Earlier, police confirmed at least 60 people had been killed and 56 were missing. The death toll was likely to continue climbing given the scale of Friday's disaster.

Tsunami waves generated by the massive quake hit Hawaii early Friday morning. The first waves crashed into the island of Kauai at 3:13 a.m. local time. Officials predicted they would experience waves up to 6 feet (2 meters).

Alaska Emergency Management also reported a 5.1-foot wave at Shemya, 1.5-foot at Adak, and 1.6-foot at Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. Shemya is 1,200 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Emergency Management Specialist David Lee at Fort Richardson said there are no reports of damage and no significant damage expected on the coast of Alaska, although that could still depend on the surge in different areas.

The Alaska Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for the coastal areas of Alaska from Attu to Amchitka Pass in the Aleutians and an advisory from Amchitka Pass along the West Coast to Oregon.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 2:46 p.m. quake was a magnitude 8.9, the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s, and one of the biggest ever recorded in the world.

The quake struck at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers), about 80 miles (125 kilometers) off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles (380 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

The Japanese government ordered thousands of residents near a nuclear power plant in Onahama city to evacuate because the plant's system was unable to cool the reactor. The reactor was not leaking radiation but its core remained hot even after a shutdown. The plant is 170 miles (270 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the epicenter.

"The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference.

Trouble was reported at two other nuclear plants as well, but there was no radiation leak at any.

more here


Japan Issues Emergency at Nuke Plant; No Leak
Published March 11, 2011

TOKYO -- Japan's top government spokesman says the country has issued a state of emergency at a nuclear power plant after its cooling system failed. There was no radiation leak.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the nuclear power plant in Fukushima developed a mechanical failure in the system needed to cool the reactor after it was shut down in Friday's earthquake.

He said the measure was a precaution and there was no radiation leak at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. He said the facility was not in immediate danger.


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posted by midnight rider at permanent link#


Blogger Alexander Münch said...

Watching CNN Live from Cal.


Friday, March 11, 2011 8:42:00 pm  
Blogger Damien said...

Midnight Rider,

I feel bad for the people over there, having to endure this mess. I hope for the people of Japan, the worst of it is over.

Friday, March 11, 2011 9:16:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

It's terribly depressing. There's nothing to say.

Saturday, March 12, 2011 3:28:00 am  

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