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Japan Hit By 8.9 Quake; Tsunamis

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March 11, 2011 9:06:24 AM

After waking up and turning on the news (CNN, of course), I learned that Japan was hit by a 8.9 magnitude earthquake- the 5th largest since 1900. As many may know, Japan gets hit by earthquakes rather frequently, so this isn't anything new for the Japanese. However, an 8.9 is a monster no matter where you live. It looks like Tokyo and other major cities are intact, but there are fires burning, including a petroleum processing facility that blew sky high. Japan is also home to quite a few nuclear power plants, but luckily those plants shut down automatically once the quake hit.

The other side of the story was the large tsunami that was generated by the quake. If you check out the link below you'll see sea water inundating land some 60 miles inward and taking everything in its path with it. Absolutely incredible. Right now the Hawaiian Islands are preparing for the wave to hit, but there is no word on how big it is expected to be. The US West Coast is also under a tsunami warning as well.

Right now the death toll is at 32, but that is expected rise unfortunately.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/11/japan.quake...

More about : japan hit quake tsunamis

March 11, 2011 1:09:57 PM

Just finished watching the news on this ... the damage to infrastructurer is huge.

I hope the loss of life is small ... the Japanese have enough on their plate in terms of their current economy as it is.

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March 11, 2011 3:09:09 PM

dassox said:
Some amazing helicopter footage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80CH_XkpSCE&feature=play...



That is jaw dropping! I was reminded of the recent floods in Austrailia reynod. Watching entire parking lots of cars being swept away, but that was nothing like that wall of water in the video. God bless them; going to be long clean up for those folks.
March 11, 2011 3:53:41 PM

Whoops, my bad- I meant to type 3-6 miles inland in regard to the tsunami's reach.

It looks like we're (the US) sending aid to Japanese via the Navy and whatever else the government can think to send.

Luckily the tsunami didn't hit Hawaii hard, as the highest reported waves were 6-7 feet, which moved a bit further inland than usual, but nothing major. I haven't heard anything about the West Coast (US), but my guess is that if Hawaii wasn't hit hard, it shouldn't be too bad out west.
March 11, 2011 4:16:20 PM

Living in the midwest for 31 years I remember one earthquake. For the past 25 years I have experienced MANY. The 7.3 Landers quake was the most violent episode I experienced. The ceiling and walls cracked at the house which swayed horizontally almost a foot. I was looking out an opened front door from the middle of the room when Landers hit. The tile roof shifted and sound like freight train rolling down the track.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landers
March 11, 2011 5:53:44 PM

I've seen photos of the bowling center after it collapsed on the news many times when they are talking about earthquakes in California. Scary stuff.
March 11, 2011 5:56:41 PM

For reference, here is a list of the more powerful quakes that have struck since 1900:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/10_largest...

Of course, damage and such is dependent upon many factors, including how deep a given quake is, location (on or offshore), how populated an area is, etc...
March 11, 2011 6:00:40 PM

Landers/Joshua Tree CA is near the western end of Interstae 40 in the dead of the Mojave desert. I would say 125 miles from my home north and east into the Mojave. I have driven through the area many times traveling to and from home, the midwest. Laying on 110 mph coasting through the desert at a snails pace! Nothingness. One stretch of 40 through the mojave has no gas or service for nearly 75 miles I believe. The marine corps base twenty nine palms is near Joshua Tree in the middle of nowhere. I would bet you have never experienced an earthquake in Illinois. Regular occurance out here. Like the fear of tornados in a way.

March 13, 2011 1:50:20 AM

To add to the mess, various Japanese nuclear plants have had some issues with cooling after they were shutdown. The water pumps used to keep the cores cool were run on electricity, but due to a lack of electricity, a few plants have had issues, especially the Fukushima Daiichi facility.

No story on it yet, but CNN just broke the news that the above mentioned facility has experienced a meltdown, according to the Chief Cabinet Secretary. Crap.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/12/japan.quake...
March 13, 2011 3:49:58 AM

There's a preliminary INES rating of 4 (out of 7) for the current incident at the power plants, so it's pretty serious and a partial meltdown at this point is possible. It's not yet close to a Three Mile Island incident though (and the fact that the article even mentioned Chernobyl screams sensationalism and scaremongering).
March 13, 2011 5:31:57 AM

I saw a report which stated the country of Japan moved eight inches as a result of the quake. In addition, the same report noted the Earth's axis shifted ten inches. I asked myself if this meant the movement was permanent? Is it possible to measure a 10 in. shift in the earth's axis?
March 13, 2011 5:40:30 AM

I believe the use or implementation of the material used to power a nuclear power plant creates inherent radiation. That radiation is controlled and rendered harmless during the procedure of creating the necessary energy to power the plant. Apparently the cooling process which was compromised during the quake altered that 'radiation control' mechanism to fail as the radiation levels became widespread into the atmosphere as it was no longer controlled as prescribed. Radiation exposure to the human body is cumlative. The body can absorb a limited amount of radiation over a lifetime. Once that limitation is reached it's curtains.
March 13, 2011 12:20:00 PM

Your a radiologist ... enlighten us some more on this topic badge?

March 13, 2011 3:30:41 PM

badge said:
I saw a report which stated the country of Japan moved eight inches as a result of the quake. In addition, the same report noted the Earth's axis shifted ten inches. I asked myself if this meant the movement was permanent? Is it possible to measure a 10 in. shift in the earth's axis?



I thought the shifts in the axis is measured in degrees, and not inches? Is that just bad reporting/journalism?
March 13, 2011 5:12:43 PM

I thought bad journalism. Turns out Japan is reported to have moved 8 feet, not 8 inches. The source used satellite GPS images to make/back up their claim. To further the claim, the source stated the earth spun faster when the quake occured and yes the claim used inches not degrees regarding the movement of the earth's axis. I believe the GPS satelite theory was used in that instance also. The first report yesterday mentioned nothing about the GPS theory. Just a reporter stating all this with nothing at all to back it up.

Seems the radiation was created when the meltdown of the 'rods' occured. Kind a like an atomic fart. It starts out innocent enough, then where heat is applied and release of the gases occurs, the air molecules themselves explode and the entire room is cleared.
March 13, 2011 7:31:24 PM

Is Japan really using control rod reactors in 2011? I thought they converted to light water reactors years ago.
March 13, 2011 9:06:57 PM

One thing I learned about nuclear power plants back in the 90's. If you want to an effective president, do not build N. Korea a state of the art nuclear power plant like Bill Clinton did in exchange for their word they will abolish thier nuclear weapons development program.
March 13, 2011 9:29:12 PM

badge said:
One thing I learned about nuclear power plants back in the 90's. If you want to an effective president, do not build N. Korea a state of the art nuclear power plant like Bill Clinton did in exchange for their word they will abolish thier nuclear weapons development program.


Word to the mother! :bounce: 
March 13, 2011 10:18:04 PM

Has anyone noticed that there is no news about looting or rioting after that natural disaster?

After the earthquake in Haiti's and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans looting was rampant.
March 14, 2011 3:08:19 AM

LOl. Are you kdding the Japanese do not have crime and criminals. What their people have is character and honor and respect. And sushi.
March 14, 2011 3:22:01 AM

badge said:
LOl. Are you kdding the Japanese do not have crime and criminals. What their people have is character and honor and respect. And sushi.

I agree with you there.

If you ever get the chance to use the Tokyo subway system you'll immediately notice that there is no graffiti anywhere, no cigarette burns on the furniture and no garbage strewn about. Yes they respect their public property. Too bad it's not like that in the rest of the world.
March 14, 2011 11:31:02 AM

Indeed. Culturally speaking, looting and other such criminal behavior is not tolerated in Japan what so ever. More power to them in that regard.

I just saw that yet another reactor- number 2- at the Daiichi plant was exposed for a short period due to cooling failure, which may have caused even more problems. Officials believe that the cooling issue may be the result of the hydrogen explosion that rocked the number 3 reactor building a few days ago. On top of this, they believe that reactors 1 and 3 have partially melted down. Luckily, no radiation has escaped, as containment has held as designed. Still though, what a mess.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/14/japan.nucle...

March 14, 2011 12:59:14 PM

I really feel for them and our Kiwi buddies on the south Island.

That chap who was rescued out to sea yesterday was a good news story ... we need a few more of them.

I was hoping the old guy's name was Mr Miyagi ... it would have explained a lot !!

:) 
March 14, 2011 5:53:41 PM

I saw that the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier took some radiation from the plant, as the wind was blowing out to sea where it was at, so they moved it further out to sea to avoid anymore contamination. Plus, as mentioned in another post, there was a second hydrogen explosion in another reactor at the site. They just cannot win. At least the US and other nuclear capable countries are sending in experts to help with the plant and see if they can get it under control.

It may take some time though, as it could take 3 months to cool any of the reactors down to a shut down temperature if the fuel rods were exposed for a long period of time. Not to mention that radiation is being vented into the atmosphere in the form of steam from the seawater that is being pumped in.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/14/japan.disas...
March 14, 2011 9:24:24 PM

ko888 said:
Has anyone noticed that there is no news about looting or rioting after that natural disaster?

After the earthquake in Haiti's and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans looting was rampant.


Too bad - U.S. citizens could really learn from the Japanese. Maybe back during our great depression we behaved like this. JMHO,
Dave
March 15, 2011 3:27:39 AM

buwish said:
It looks like yet another hydrogen explosion has occurred at a third reactor at the troubled plant:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42066534/ns/world_news-asia...

Yeh. It seems to be getting worse. Not enough thought went into creating the fail-safes in that early 1970's reactor design by GE.
March 15, 2011 11:19:14 AM

ko888 said:
Yeh. It seems to be getting worse. Not enough thought went into creating the fail-safes in that early 1970's reactor design by GE.



Actually, the reactor vessels have performed beyond specs so far. That plant shouldn't even be standing after surviving a quake seven times more powerful than it was to designed to withstand.
March 16, 2011 6:24:02 PM

Indeed. I must admit that the plant did well in the quake itself, it was the tsunami that caused all the trouble. I guess the engineers did not think it through in regard where to place the reactors, i.e. not near the sea. However, I've heard that a tsunami like this is a once in a thousand years kind of a deal, so I guess they cannot be faulted in full for the decision to place the plant in its current location.

I will give credit where it is due and that credit is due to the workers who have stuck around the plant to try and avert a full fledged nuclear disaster. Who knows if the radiation readings we've been hearing about on the news are accurate, but if they are anywhere close to those numbers, there is no doubt that those workers are getting a lot of radiation. For some, it may be a suicide mission to stick around.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/16/japan.nucle...
March 16, 2011 8:59:52 PM

I don't know about the placement of the reactors. You need a reliable water source. We see what happened when they lost power; no more cooling pumps. So the decision to build by the sea was a calculated gamble? If you lose power, you can dump sea water as a last resort? I don't know, but that northern region is very mountainous so maybe there was no other place to build the plant.
March 17, 2011 3:46:54 AM

I guess you could say that when the plant was built in the early 70's, the world wasn't as aware of the threat of tsunamis as we are today. There is a better understanding of what causes them and where they will occur today than in the 70's. My point is that when the plant was built, the engineers probably weren't expecting a massive tsunami to move in and wipe out the plant's back up cooling capabilities.
March 17, 2011 8:06:12 PM

I'm curious to know what those containment flaws are and what they did to address those flaws at the Japanese plant, as well as the other plants utilizing the same design.
September 12, 2011 3:31:59 PM

This topic has been closed by Reynod
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