Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan Updates | Wednesday, March 16

‎"I realize this is a tough time to say "worse" - I'm not saying it to be upsetting. I'm saying it because I think it is frankly less upsetting to actually understand what's going on than it is to not understand." - Rachael Maddow


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Via Zerohedge: "A choppy futures session has seen some modest profit-taking in line with Nikkei trading, following news that all TEPKO personnel around Fukushima are to be evacuated due to abnormally high radiation levels. Keep an eye on the Japanese market for an indication of where we open tomorrow.  A somewhat bigger problem is that according to Bloomberg, which has now caught up to our radiation reporting by prefecture, the radiation in Ibaraki has reached 15,800 nanosieverts/hour at 11:40 am, which is 300 times normal. The spin: this is one third the amount of radiation in a chest X-ray. What is not mentioned is that an X-ray is exposure measured in one instant, whereas in this case the irradiation goes on for hour, after hour, after hour. And some other unpleasant news: NTT DOCOMO has announced it will limit up to 80% of voice calls in neighboring Chiba and Ibaraki prefectures, and up to 50% in Tokyo. Whether this is to conserve some mystical telephonic energy or to prevent the spread of panic is unclear. As this latest news is digested watch for the drift."


Click photo to enlarge for data
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Nuclear Plant Operator: Water in Pool Storing Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods May Be Boiling, an Ominous Sign for Release of Radioactivity
"A nuclear crisis at the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant deepened Tuesday as fresh explosions occurred at the site and its operator said water in a pool storing spent nuclear fuel rods may be boiling, an ominous sign for the release of high-level radioactive materials from the fuel.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the water level in the pool storing the spent fuel rods at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant's No. 4 reactor may have dropped, exposing the rods.
The firm said it has not yet confirmed the current water level or water temperature in the pool and will try to pour water into the facility from Wednesday through holes that were created following an explosion earlier Tuesday in the walls of the building that houses the reactor.
Unless the spent fuel rods are cooled down, they could be damaged and emit radioactive substances."
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Open the map with Chrome to use the autotranslate functions, as the text is in Japanese.
Via Zerohedge:
If the following letter posted by the BBC Blog is indicative of prevailing popular mood in the Japanese capital now that the government has lost credibility (as Zero Hedge predicted on Saturday), Tokyo may soon be a ghost town.
Mikan in Tokyo writes: "There is a growing sense that the Japanese government is not telling us the true story.  On one end, there is the Japanese media that plays down the nuclear drama and focuses on human drama, and at the other, the foreign media is up-playing the nuclear disaster. In my company I heard at least half the essential staff is being sent to Hong Kong, Singapore or even Sydney.  I am preparing to leave Tokyo and/or Japan. So are many of my friends. There is a sense of deserting Tokyo as soon as possible."
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Surgeon General: Buying Iodide a "Precaution"

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin was in the Bay Area touring a peninsula hospital.  NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo asked her about the run on tablets and Dr. Benjamin said although she wasn't aware of people stocking up, she did not think that would be an overreaction. She said it was right to be prepared."


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European Power Prices Surge as Germany Decides to Shut Reactors

European power prices rose, surging to their highest in more than two years in Germany, where the government decided to halt the country’s seven oldest nuclear reactors following explosions at an atomic plant in Japan.


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The Idiocy and Hubris of Engineers: Will GE Get Whacked for the Catastrophic Failure of its Nuke Plants in Fukushima?




Dave Lindorff: "In fact, the design of these facilities--a design which, it should be noted, was also used in 23 nuclear plants operating in the US ... appear to have included serious flaws, from a safety perspective."

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And one for the *facepalm* files:



"The president said facilities in the U.S. are closely monitored and built to withstand earthquakes, even though nothing’s failsafe. Proponents of nuclear power fear their efforts to win over the public to the safety of their industry have been dealt a tremendous blow by the disaster in Japan."

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More updates to come, but I must stress, when it comes to disasters of this magnitude - the 'official' word from industry or government should not be trusted.  Industry spins - science does not.  Well, unless you're scientist working for industry...or government.  Like, you know, BP?

Just sayin...

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