Monday, March 14, 2011

In Japan Reports Of Meltdown, Fukushima Evacuation

Image from Dees Illustraion
Mar. 14 2011 - 10:52 pm | 2,911 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments
Here is a description of the scene around Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. It was reported by phone by Hitoshi Katanoda, a photographer on the scene, who minutes ago called Forbes contributor Yas Idei in Tokyo. Here is Idei’s description of the conversation:
“Hitoshi of Polaris who is near the plant just called me. It is a panic there. No way to escape as gas station are closed and rescuers are all gone.”
In another message, Idei says: The level of radiation is three times higher than normal in Tokyo.
More to follow shortly. For another story on reports of Fukushima evacuation, click here.


  1. Live coverage at Reuters:
    Radiation in Maebashi, 100 km north of Tokyo, up to 10 times normal levels - Kyodo quoting local govt.

  2. Charles Douglas says on facebook:
    The Eureka Co-Op has been looted completely of its 'seaweed' and 'kelp' products...but the 'dulse' (a member of the seaweed family) is still in stock if you're looking for an iodine boost...

  3. They poured sea water on one of the reactors and the water level didn't raise. This would suggest a crack somewhere in the containment building.

  4. “We remain fundamentally committed to nuclear power and the expansion of nuclear power in the U.S. as a safe and clean emissions-free source of electric generation.”

    – Jim Owen, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, an association of electric utility companies.

    Just to be clear: He said that today !

    That’s right, he used the phrase “safe and clean, emissions-free” to describe nuclear power, even in light of today’s events.


    I mean, what's next?

    "But, but, but it’s soooo safey-cleany, sooooo emission free, it’s like having a fresh dewy mountain meadow next door, and the aroma of Mom’s apple pie wafting in from the kitchen, all wrapped in one!"

  5. We on the west coast are about 5-thousand miles away. This would seem to offer some comfort as the Pacific Ocean is a large buffer. The jet stream does head for the US west coast from there. Will this radiation get caught up into the jet stream? I don't know. If there are small releases from steam and only one cracked containment building, this may not be as bad as I or others fear. The big difference between this and other nuclear accidents is the tsunami and earthquake that makes it hard reach to fix even if there is a way to fix this.

    We should get informed about what to do if this does keep getting worse. The states aren't ready to deal with this. We have seen the federal response to Katrina.

    In the worst case scenario, the jet stream still moves. No one place on the west coast would take the entire brunt of the radiation.
    The weather service can predict which places will be most impacted and we could take temporary shelter or leave the area.
    We should consider our options.

  6. TRA, I don't want their non emissions on our Humboldt grass that feeds my cheese burger.
    Thanks for pointing that out.

  7. Thanks for pointing out that their radiation could contaminate all of our organic efforts here in Humboldt. It has been said that nuclear power is the most expensive way man has ever devised to boil water.

  8. Not to mention the most dangerous way, by far.

  9. Chris O'Donnell of MSNBC said hours ago that Japanese nuclear providers are in a panic.
    He said they were trying to avert a full scale melt down.

  10. While the Chernobyl accident did spread a huge amount of radiation around Europe, and to some degree around the world, the Japanese plants at least do have containment structures, which Chernobyl did not. So hopefully the chances of us getting hit with with a lot of radioactive fallout here in North America are pretty low.

    But if the containment structures fail due to damage from the quakes and/or explosions, then we could be looking at a full-on Chernobyl situation, in which case all bets are off.

  11. That's pretty much the way I see it at this point in time.

  12. Just listening to a press conference by a Japanese Gov't official on Al Jazeera's English service. Currently they're saying that the #1 and #3 reactors are "relatevely stable," meaning that the seawater pumping seems to be succeeding in keeping the temperature and pressure in those reactor vessels down, hopefully enough to avert a full-scale meltdown.

    He was much more cautious (evasive, even?) about the status in reactor 3, but it sounds like they're still having trouble keeping enough seawater in the reactor vessel to prevent the fuel rods from being exposed. Earlier, there were reports that in the reactor # 3, the reactor vessel itself may have been damaged during the hydrogen explosion, and is leaking (radioactive) sea water as fast or faster than they can inject it, leaving fuel rods still partially exposed and probably continuing to melt.

    So at the moment, it looks like #3 is the biggest problem, the one most likely to go into a full-scale meltdown. The problem is, if that happened, workers would have to evacuate all of the reactors there, and without the workers to keep the seawater-pumping operation going, #1 and #3 would likely end up with full-scale meltdowns. And I suppose the spent-fuel fire problem at #4, and maybe the other off-line units, might recur.

    It sounds like there's still a chance that they can avert the worst-case scenario, though a happy ending seems to be getting less likely as new problems keep cropping up. Meanwhile, the aftershocks aren't over, and a whole new quake could be on the way. What a nightmare.

  13. I've seen a few posts and comments about people locally scrambling to get idodine tablets, wondering if they should be fleeing to Florida, heading to a fallout shelter, that sort of thing.

    From what I have been able to gather, it seems that even in the worst-cae scenario (even if all three reactors went into a full-on meltdown, and even if all three had total failures of both the reactor vessel and the containment structure and massive Chernobyl-style releases of radioactive materials do occur) nobody here in North America is likely to end up with any significant dose of radiation from those melt-downs.

    It's true that the jet stream could carry airborne radioactive particles in our direction, but the vast majority of these particles would "precipitate out" over the ocean long before it reached us. Not an ideal situation, but also not a reason for anyone here to panic.

    The major damage and immediate loss of life will be in the region immediately around (and downwind from) the melted-down nuke plants, with long-lasting effects on the environment and human health in a wider area, again depending on where the wind carries the fallout, but probably not amounting to much over here in the Americas.

    Of course I'll be monitoring what the experts are saying about this issue, but at this point I'm not planning to flee the area, head for a fallout shelter, or anything like that.

  14. Here's a source that supports the view that we probably aren't really at risk for any significant fallout here in the Americas.

  15. Thanks TRA, based on this, the only place in the US we should have these plants is on the eastern seaboard. Pleanty of sea water, less earthquake activity, big ocean to buffer the people in Europe.

  16. Except when the wind blows the other way, such as in the classic New England storm sysstem known as the Nor'easter.

  17. And now reactor #4's spent fuel pool has caught fire again, spewing more radioactivity. Apparently there was an explosion there this morning, and then a fire with flames that were visible from quite a distance away.

    Officials are saying that the fire there apparently hadn't been fully extinguished yesterday. But though that fire has still not been put out, they're saying that the situation is "under control." Which is a relative term, I suppose, because that's probably not what most of us mean when we use the phrase "under control."

    I have a proposal for a new slogan for the nuclear power industry:

    Nuclear Power: Hey, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

  18. From the BBC's live blog:

    2359: Back to the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant: the Kyodo news agency reports that engineers are spraying boric acid to prevent "recriticality" - presumably, the resumption of a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction - at reactor 4.

  19. From Al Jazeera:

    Japan's nuclear safety committee say radiation levels of 400 millisieverts an hour had been recorded near Fukushima's No.4 reactor earlier today.

    Exposure to over 100 millisieverts a year is a level which can lead to cancer, says to the World Nuclear Association.

  20. More from the BBC live blog:

    0146 : Tepco says the reactor 3 at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been emitting white smoke for about 45 minutes, Kyodo News reports. The plant’s reactor 4 was the one where a fire broke out earlier this morning, Tepco said.


    Demand for potassium iodide spikes; is there.
    One man has cornerd the market on potassium iodide tablets in wake of the Japan disaster.

    In the five minutes it takes to ask Troy Jones about a sudden shortage of potassium iodide pills to prevent radiation sickness, the North Carolina owner of already has logged nearly two dozen more orders.

    “We’ve shipped more private orders in the last three days than we have in the last three years,” said Mark Quick, the vice president of corporate development for Recipharm.

    More here from MSNBC and more on

  22. said their suppliers had run out of stock over the weekend and were scrambling to get more.

    Manufacturers are also going into production as fast as they can.

  23. Ed Schultz says workers are being evacuated and the power station will be unmanned.

  24. The last 50 workers that were pouring water on these things are leaving. It looks like we are headed for a meltdown.

  25. Numerous news sources saying that all workers have now been evacuated from the site due to rising radiation levels.

    It's not clear if that's a temporary pull out to deal with what is expected to be a short-term spike in radiation, or what.

    It was hard enough to imagine how just a few dozen workers were trying to keep a lid on all four malfunctioning reactor units, all at the same time. But it's even harder to see how they're going to be able to keep things "under control" (whatever that means at this point) without any staff on site to do anything.

    I'm not sure exactly what's happening, but I think it's fair to say that things are not going well at the moment.

  26. It looks like the immediate fear is a wind change in Japan. That is expected in a couple of days I heard. As soon as the wind moves west there will be millions upon millions of people in danger.

  27. hi somebody knows where to send a post with clothes,food for people in japan.who needs food & clothes.


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