as radioactive steam is being released into the air
following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake.
( this photoshopped photo is not an official release, it is an estimation )
"This is a situation that has the potential for a nuclear catastrophe. It's basically a race against time, because what has happened is that plant operators have not been able to cool down the core of at least two reactors," said Robert Alvarez, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. (source)
An explosion occurred at the Fukushima nuclear plant around 3:30 PM in Japan Saturday.
Here's the latest on the nuclear situation.
The explosion was not in the reactor's container and it didn't cause a major radiation leak. In fact, the amount of radioactive elements actually decreased after the explosion, and radiation levels are not rising, according to JibTV, a Japanese TV station with live coverage of the event.
However the the two most recent nuclear explosions, 3 Mile Island in the U.S. in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, were rated a 5 and a 7 on the INES (Interntional Nuclear Event) scale, and the Japanese nuclear agency has rated Fukushima a 4, according to Reuters, which is live-blogging the disaster. (A reminder of what happened during Three Mile and Chernobyl is below.)
Iodine and cesium, two byproducts of the nuclear fission process that occurs in nuclear plants, were detected around the area. In addition, radiation levels of 1,015 micro sievert have been found outside the plant, which is the equivalent to receiving the maximum amount of healthy exposure someone can get in one year, in one day, according to JibTV and the WSJ.
A team of doctors, nurses and experts on radioactive measurement is on standby in case of a radioactive disaster.
The reactor, which the ECCS (emergency core cooling system made up of a series of sysems designed to shutdown the reactor in emergency systems) is meant to cool and can't because the power is out and the generators are not working, is not exploded yet, but it is still in danger.
Hibbs spoke with Japanese government officials who told him the force of the tsunami was so severe that the water may have flooded the reactors, power generators, and cooling mechanisms, disabling the equipment. "Which means they have to resort to basically a military-type exercise, to rush in to the devastated site equipment that they can quickly hook up to the reactor to get power in there and start this emergency equipment, to get cooling water into that core and prevent that fuel from overheating.
“And if they can’t do that,” he told Newsmax, “then you’re going to have this meltdown.
At least three people near the plant have radioactive exposure, but there's no confirmation that it came from the explosion. JiBTV said they discovered the 3 exposed people when they randomly tested three out of 90 people (and they all had been exposed to radiation) the hospital. Apparently they have no health problems.
People have been asked to evacuate from a 20km radius around the plant.
The death toll is said to be expected to reach 1700. Over 680 have been found dead and number of people found dead is rising hourly as more people are found.
The Ring of Fire strikes again.
We're starting to see satellite imagery of the damage caused by the massive earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck northeastern Japan yesterday (this aerial video shows the waves approaching shore, and the terrifying destruction as they sweep through coastal towns). Some resources:
DigitalGlobe has a Flickr gallery of high-resolution images and produced a cursory analysis (PDF).
The MODIS imaging team's website at NASA now has a Japan Earthquake Project page. The low-resolution MODIS sytem captured an image at about noon local time on March 12, showing a large plume of smoke blowing out to sea from Sendai. Before-and-after images give a glimpse through the clouds of broad coastal flooding as of 10am local time yesterday.
the real truth about the March 11 Japan earthquake is this is turning out to be the worst, the most deadly, most devastating, in modern Japanese history.
Cities, towns, tens of thousands of people swept away. A disaster now of a scale beyond the imaginations even of Japanese disaster management specialists, the most earthquake paranoid people on the planet, who seem mostly stunned, broken, dazed, at press conferences. Who can blame them. The massive earthquake and horrifically devastating repeat tsunamis are beyond the worst scenarios ever workshopped or modeled, a surreal nightmare has become their reality.
The death toll may climb to over 30,000 within days.
Expected Effects of Acute Whole-Body Radiation Doses Acute Dose (rads) Probable Effect
0 - 50 No obvious effect, except possibly minor blood changes.
80 - 120 Vomiting and nausea for about 1 day in 5 to 10 percent of exposed personnel. Fatigue but no serious disability.
130 - 170 Vomiting and nausea for about 1 day, followed by other symptoms of radiation sickness in about 25 percent of personnel. No deaths anticipated.
180 - 220 Vomiting and nausea for about 1 day followed by other symptoms of radiation sickness in about 50 percent of personnel. No deaths anticipated.
270 - 330 Vomiting and nausea in nearly all personnel on first day, followed by other symptoms of radiation sickness. About 20 percent deaths within 2 to 6 weeks after exposure; survivors convalescent for about 3 months.
400 - 500 Vomiting and nausea in all personnel on first day, followed by other symptoms of radiation sickness. About 50 percent deaths within 1 month; survivors convalescent for about 6 months.
550 - 750 Vomiting and nausea in all personnel within 4 hours from exposure, followed by other symptoms of radiation sickness. Up to 100 percent deaths; few survivors convalescent for about 6 months.
1000 Vomiting and nausea in all personnel within 1 to 2 hours. Probably no survivors from radiation sickness.
5000 Incapacitation almost immediately. All personnel will be fatalities within 1 week.
The Effects of Nuclear Weapons U.S. Government Printing Office, May 1957
|Japan Nuclear Plant Explosion Happening Now!|
|Written by RC Christian|
|Saturday, 12 March 2011 04:56|
Already defined as the worlds second most disastrous Nuclear event, Chernobyl being the first. Fukushima, Japan's 3rd largest power provider and one of Japan's 50 nuclear plants has reached high alert status as an explosion expelled potentially radioactive material into the surrounding area. The government has evacuated people up to 70 miles from the facility.
Photo from watchmojo
The apparent explosion has destroyed the walls containing the reactor, but the actual reactor container is still intact for the time being. Conflicting reports state the the reactor temperature is actually
going down. But radiation levels have exceeded 1,000 times the normal level.
As of 6:00am Pacific time, Sources have told Coup Media that the Japanese Government has issued Iodine to residents near the blast in a preimptive effort to thwart the affects of radioactive poisoning.
As of 6:30am Pacific time, Sources have also told Coup Media that there may be a potential breech in the main reactor. This could spell a massive nuclear meltdown in the region that could threaten the United States and other Nations with Radioactive fallout. Fox news stated this morning that this threat to the rest of the world likely will not kill a lot of people quickly and would be more or less like being slowly poisoned by low level radiation over time. Later Fox news changed their story stating that there is no real threat of meltdown at the moment.
However, the three people who have escaped the failing facility have been heavily exposed to radiation.
Fires And Devestation Video in Sendai
Radiation leaking from Japan’s quake-hit nuclear reactor
Radiation level low, major leakage not expected-government
Police officers wearing respirators guide people to evacuate away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following an evacuation order for residents who live in within a 10 km (6.3 miles) radius from the plant after an explosion in Tomioka Town in Fukushima Prefecture March 12, 2011. (source)
more information as it becomes available..