Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan Quake and Tsunami (Update)

ENGINEERS were last night locked in a desperate race against time to spare Japan from a horrific nuclear disaster.

The fate of millions lay in the hands of workers who have 48 hours to prevent a deadly meltdown at a quake-hit Fukushima One plant.

If they fail, there could be a ­Chernobyl-style radiation leak that will kill people within days and leave others at risk of cancers and childbirth defects for decades to come.

Experts claim that unless engineers can cool the rods, they will melt in around 48 hours and burn through the heavy casing of the containment building they are housed in.

A predicted change in wind ­direction today could leave Tokyo residents in any leak’s line of fire.

Nuclear expert Professor John Gittus, who helped with the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, warned the chances of a meltdown were “one in 10”.

He said: “Within a day or two we should find out that things are all right. That is my forecast.

“But there is a chance we shall find ourselves on the way to a core melt.” Prof Gittus, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, added: “What happened in Chernobyl is happening in Japan.

“The reactors have been switched off making a nuclear explosion ­impossible but a core meltdown would spell disaster.

“The amount of heat in the core after it has been switched off is enough to melt a hemisphere of concrete 100 yards in diameter.

“This is the China Syndrome we used to talk about and people thought it would go all the way through the world and come out in Australia. But the reality is it is a finite amount of heat energy called decaying heat.

“I did the analysis of the Chernobyl reactor for the British government. The difference is the Japanese reactor has got two strong containments.

“One is the pressure vessel which is a foot thick made of steel the second is the made of concrete and what has happened so far is both those containments have stopped anything get out. Chernobyl didn’t have either.”

But if there was a full meltdown highly radioactive vapours would swirl out into the atmosphere.

The professor said: “This vapour will be blown around. The expectation would be some dozens of people would receive big radiation doses and would die within days or weeks.

“Much larger number of people hundreds times greater would receive smaller doses and it is not certain what would happen to them. This happened after the Chernobyl accident.

“We can’t really be certain that the thousands of people who receive these smaller doses are going to have their lives shortened. But it is a possibility.

“The expectation is that however small a dose some people would die early as a result of cancers in 10 to 40 years’ time. But that’s not certain. They could be somewhere where it rained and a cloud of radioactive wind happened to be blowing over.”

With the rods melting out of control in three damaged reactors at Fukushima, engineers were pumping seawater into the containers in a bid to stop them ­overheating and melting.

Officials admitted radiation detected at Fukushima yesterday was twice the maximum seen so far.

The containment building’s designer claimed he told the makers of the plant it was not strong enough to withstand ­earthquakes. Masashi Goto said his greatest fear is that the blasts may have damaged the steel casing designed to stop radioactive ­material escaping.

He also painted a dire picture of what would happen if a full meltdown and explosion occur.

Mr Goto said because the reactor uses mixed oxide, the melting point is lower than that of conventional fuel. It would mean plutonium being spread over an area up to twice as far as ­estimated for a conventional nuclear explosion.

Even if that is averted, experts predict radioactive releases of steam from the crippled plant could still go on for more than a year.

Workers have no option but to ­periodically vent the reactors as part of the emergency cooling process.

Authorities declared an exclusions around a 12-mile radius of the plant and evacuated 210,000 people.

A senior American official advising the Japanese government said: “Even under the best scenarios, this isn’t going to end soon.”

Japan responded by providing 230,000 units of stable iodine to evacuation centres as a precautionary measure.

As fears of a leak grew, another ­earthquake with a magnitude of 4.1 hit Tokyo at 8pm UK time last night.

In the Pacific, US aircraft carrier the Ronald Reagan, deployed for relief efforts, moved position after detecting low-level radiation. Officials claimed crew members received a month’s worth of radiation in less than an hour.

Three US helicopters flying missions 60 miles north of the plant became coated with radiation.

Several crew needed decontamination scrubs.

Rescue operations continued all along Japan’s battered northeast yesterday.

Emergency workers found 1,000 bodies in Minami Sanriku and another 1,000 washed up on beaches in Miyagi.

Survivors said food, water and fuel were running critically low in the hardest-hit areas and 2.6 million homes were without electricity. Gas was running low.

Red Cross worker Patrick Fuller in Otsuchi said: “It’s a scene from hell. Almost everything has been flattened.

“The government is saying 9,500 people, more than half of the population here could have died and I fear the worst.”

Japan Red Cross president Tadateru Konoe added: “This is the worst I have ever seen. Otsuchi reminds me of Osaka and Tokyo after the Second World War when everything was destroyed.”

Bae Yong Joon donates $900,000 USD for Japan earthquake victims

Actor Bae Yong Joon recently stood up to donate to those that suffered from Japan’s horrific earthquake that occurred last week.

Having a high status in Japan, ‘Yon-sama’ owes a lot of his popularity from his Japanese fans, and with a gracious heart, he has decided to give away 1,000,000,000 WON, which comes up to approximately $900,000 USD.

Bae Yong Joon’s company, Keyeast, recently stated, “After hearing that Japan had limited relief supplies and equipment, Bae Yong Joon quickly reacted and donated 1,000,000,000WON for emergency support, hoping for a speedier recovery. The money will be given through the Japan Tourism Agency, who will distribute it to organizations involved in the earthquake/tsunami relief effort. Bae Yong Joon is also very worried about the victims who are in shortage of food and basic living supplies so he has decided to provide food, blankets, and other items as well.”

Bae Yong Joon is not the only actor who is donating money to the neighboring country, as Kim Hyun Joong and Jang Geun Suk, who are also receiving much love in Japan, have decided to give away $100,000 and $120,000 respectively. The latter left a message stating, “I hope that the victims can return to their normal life soon.”

Source: bntnews + sanspo

Kim Hyun Joong donates money to earthquake victims

Actor and singer Kim Hyun Joong has recently donated 100 million won to the victims of the recent earthquake in Japan.

His agency in Japan, Digital Adventure (DA), asked that the money be used in the afflicted areas, and for victims with the greatest need. Kim Hyun Joong said, “My heart hurts so much to hear about this. I hope that everyone can stay strong.” He also said, “Many people are joining hands in this crisis. Everyone, please come together with one heart.”

Source: Sports Korea, Sports Chosun
Tip: anna, Danii

Jpan Nuclear Reactor Rods Exposed Raising Risk of Meltdown

The fuel rods in one of Japan's damaged nuclear reactors have been temporarily fully exposed from their coolant, raising the risk of overheating and a meltdown.

A spokesman at the Fukushima plant said today that Unit 2's rods were briefly exposed.

Sea water was being channelled into the reactor to cover the rods again.

Unit 2 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is the latest reactor to lose its ability to cool down.

The other two reactors at the plant are facing a meltdown and authorities are racing to cool them with sea water.

Earlier a second explosion in three days rocked the plant, sending a massive cloud of smoke into the air and injuring 11 workers.

The blast was felt 25 miles away, but the plant's operator said the radiation levels at the affected unit were still within legal limits.

The blast was in Unit 3, which workers have been trying to cool with sea water after a system failure in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami.

Operators knew the sea water flooding would cause a pressure buildup in the reactor containment vessel - and potentially lead to an explosion - but felt they had no choice if they wanted to avoid a complete meltdown. In the end, the hydrogen in the released steam mixed with oxygen in the atmosphere and set off the blast.

The inner containment shell surrounding the Unit 3 reactor was intact, Mr Edano said, allaying some fears of the risk to the environment and public. But the outer building around the reactor appeared to have been devastated, with only a skeletal frame remaining.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant, said radiation at Unit 3 was well under the level where a nuclear operator must file a report to the government.

A similar explosion occurred on Saturday at the plant's Unit 1, injuring four workers, causing mass evacuations and destroying much of the outer building.

Shortly after today's explosion, Tokyo Electric warned it had lost the ability to cool Unit 2. Hours later, the company admitted that the fuel rods had been fully exposed.

It was trying to channel sea water into the reactor to cover the rods, cool them down and prevent another explosion.

More than 180,000 people have evacuated the area in recent days, and up to 160 may have been exposed to radiation - pouring misery onto those already devastated by the twin disasters.

States of emergency have been declared at six Fukushima reactors, where the main cooling systems and backup generators have been knocked out. Three are at Dai-ichi and three at the nearby Fukushima Daini complex.

Most attention, though, has been focused on Dai-ichi units 1 and 3, where operators have been funnelling in sea water in a last-ditch measure to cool the reactors. A complete meltdown - the melting of the radioactive core - could release radioactive contaminants into the environment and pose major, widespread health risks.

Mr Edano said no Fukushima reactor was near that point, and he was confident of escaping the worst scenarios.

International scientists say there are serious dangers but little risk of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe. Chernobyl had no containment shell around the reactor.

"The likelihood there will be a huge fire like at Chernobyl or a major environmental release like at Chernobyl, I think that's basically impossible," said James Stubbins, a nuclear energy professor at the University of Illinois.

And, some analysts noted, the length of time since the nuclear crisis began indicated that the chemical reactions inside the reactor were not moving quickly toward a complete meltdown.

SOURCE : http://mirror.co.uk