8.9 magnitude quake hits japan - Page 11 - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-15-2011, 01:09 PM   #151
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Japan are better prepared for a mega-earthquake than anyone else on earth. They run regular nation-wide drills. Prime Minister on television in a construction helmet and all.

I've seen a few articles/broadcasts highlighting just how amazing the response and reaction has been. Incredibly organised, smooth, efficient response from authorities (I saw one shot of what must have been dozens of fire trucks in convoy, apparently within a couple of hours of the quake - all according to plan) and a completely calm and composed population. Of course there's a limit to just how prepared you can be for something of this magnitude, but they're probably about as close as we (humans) can ever get, until we can accurately predict exactly where and when they're going to hit anyway.

In Tokyo at the moment a lot of services (such as transport) are still completely haywire, and the nuclear issue is uncomfortably close. Some news agency reported on 'panic' in the city, and this prompted a huge response on the Guardian website from Westerners in Tokyo, who are saying it is the exact opposite and that reporting otherwise was completely wrong and unfair. It's totally calm. Shops are open. There's food on the shelves. Some things are a bit manic - like trains - but they always are to some degree. One guy said that the dude showed up today, as pre-earthquake scheduled, to fit blinds at his place. He wasn't expecting that. And there are standard roadworks going on in his street. Its not 'normal', but its pretty close. That's amazing.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:25 PM   #152
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Well, there's also voices which give a hint of some dwelling concerns, such as this:
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Auch die Klagen über eine mangelhafte Informationspolitik werden lauter, der Ton schriller: "Das wird ganz schlimm. Aber die Behörden berichten nicht richtig. Die sagen uns nicht, was wirklich ist. Die belügen uns. Wir alle haben solche Angst", sagt Kiyoko Yoshimura aus Tokio verzweifelt Reportern der Nachrichtenagentur dpa. "Viele fliehen mit ihren kleinen Kindern, wer die Möglichkeit hat, geht in den Süden", sagt sie. "Ich bin in Sorge um meine Enkel, die sollen nicht verstrahlt werden." Man versuche, Normalität vorzugaukeln. "Es wird alles getan, um keine Panik auszulösen. Im Kindergarten nebenan soll es morgen ein großes Fest geben." Auch ihre Freundin Tomoko kritisiert: "Es wird nicht korrekt informiert."
Source: Spiegel (German news magazine)

This woman, from Tokyo, complains about a general lack of information and incorrect information by the officials: "This is gonna be very bad. But the officials are not reporting correctly. They don't tell us what's really going on. They lie to us. We are very scared. Many are fleeing with their small children. Who can goes south. I'm anxious about my grandchildren. They mustn't be contaminated. They are doing everything to prevent panic. In the kindergarten next door a big fest is planned for tomorrow."
Her friend confirms: "They are not informing us correctly."

The article goes on that a growing anxiety and panic can be sensed, especially now that news are being spread about what to do against radiation etc. They also quoted two survivors of the nuclear bombs who said public officials and Tepco are not being honest about the danger and the consequences and are trying to downplay the risk.
Many Japanese, according to the article, seem very calm on the outside, but that's more to do with them generally showing less emotion and the fear of "losing face".
I hope that the people there can maintain their calm nonetheless, and the big catastrophe be averted.

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Old 03-15-2011, 02:01 PM   #153
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i do believe that japanese officials downplayed the nuclear reactor story at first... but i can't really blame them, considering the sensitivity over the particular subject, and the fact that the country was already facing a disaster of epic proportions... they didn't feel the need to drop a third catastrophe in there until they were absolutely sure. might not have been the best way of doing it, but i understand why.


overall when you look at the relative order of things in japan, and contrast it to, say, haiti... well, needless to say japan is much more prepared and the people are handling a just horrific situation as well as they possibly can.
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:09 PM   #154
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I agree, I wouldn't want to swap places with authorities there. It's very difficult to control the flow of information, which you need so people won't be bombarded with all kinds of fatal news at once in order to control the situation. Yet, the people are well aware of things going on so that it's always a very delicate matter, especially in societies where people are not used to being kept in the dark.
It is to be hoped that the situation can be kept under control and a meltdown be prevented.
Overall the Japanese response has certainly prevented things from being worse, and that's also thanks to the great precautions undertaken in all these years. In Japan, especially Tokyo, they've known for so long that it's just a matter of time until the next major quake happens.
It will take a few decades until countries such as Haiti are in a position to prepare their people in a way that is even remotely similiar to Japan, but seeing as many developing nations are facing at least some kind of natural disaster possibility this would be yet another area to develop measures.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:09 PM   #155
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How the quake/tsunami/nuclear problem may affect Japan's - and the global - economy:

Japan Disaster Threatens Economic Recovery, Affects Economies Globally
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:56 PM   #156
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How come the computer predictions on TV and in papers for both waves and possible nuclear radiation leakage spread all the way to America but not down to Australia? Do you know what I'm saying? Like there were people washed out by waves in Cali, but not here?
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:00 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by cobl04 View Post
How come the computer predictions on TV and in papers for both waves and possible nuclear radiation leakage spread all the way to America but not down to Australia? Do you know what I'm saying? Like there were people washed out by waves in Cali, but not here?

the jet stream goes west to east, not north to south.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:28 PM   #158
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I don't know about radiation leakage maps specific to this incident; there's a bogus one floating around out there showing a color-coded teardrop-shaped plume moving towards the US, I read about that, but haven't seen any others. That one's a hoax. But like Irvine said, wind patterns determine how a radiation cloud spreads.

I think large tsunamis generated off Japan almost always cause more damage to the US West Coast than they do to Australia. The position relative to the originating fault and strike-line, and the topography of the surrounding seafloor, are the main determinants of how a tsunami spreads.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:18 PM   #159
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New York Times, Mar. 15
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Last Defense at Troubled Reactors: 50 Japanese Workers


A small crew of technicians, braving radiation and fire, became the only people remaining at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on Tuesday—and perhaps Japan’s last chance of preventing a broader nuclear catastrophe. They crawl through labyrinths of equipment in utter darkness pierced only by their flashlights, listening for periodic explosions as hydrogen gas escaping from crippled reactors ignites on contact with air. They breathe through uncomfortable respirators or carry heavy oxygen tanks on their backs. They wear white, full-body jumpsuits with snug-fitting hoods that provide scant protection from the invisible radiation sleeting through their bodies.

They are the faceless 50, the unnamed operators who stayed behind. They have volunteered, or been assigned, to pump seawater on dangerously exposed nuclear fuel, already thought to be partly melting and spewing radioactive material, to prevent full meltdowns that could throw thousands of tons of radioactive dust high into the air and imperil millions of their compatriots. They struggled on Tuesday and Wednesday to keep hundreds of gallons of seawater a minute flowing through temporary fire pumps into the three stricken reactors, Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Among the many problems they faced was what appeared to be yet another fire at the plant.

The workers are being asked to make escalating—and perhaps existential—sacrifices that so far are being only implicitly acknowledged: Japan’s Health Ministry said Tuesday it was raising the legal limit on the amount of radiation to which each worker could be exposed, to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts, five times the maximum exposure permitted for American nuclear plant workers. The change means that workers can now remain on site longer, the ministry said. “It would be unthinkable to raise it further than that, considering the health of the workers,” the health minister, Yoko Komiyama, said at a news conference.

Tokyo Electric Power, the plant’s operator, has said almost nothing at all about the workers, including how long a worker is expected to endure exposure. The few details Tokyo Electric has made available paint a dire picture. Five workers have died since the earthquake and 22 more have been injured for various reasons, while two are missing. One worker was hospitalized after suddenly grasping his chest and finding himself unable to stand, and another needed treatment after receiving a blast of radiation near a damaged reactor. Eleven workers were injured in a hydrogen explosion at reactor No. 3.

Nuclear reactor operators say that their profession is typified by the same kind of esprit de corps found among firefighters and elite military units. Lunchroom conversations at reactors frequently turn to what operators would do in a severe emergency. The consensus is always that they would warn their families to flee before staying at their posts to the end, said Michael Friedlander, a former senior operator at three American power plants for a total of 13 years. “You’re certainly worried about the health and safety of your family, but you have an obligation to stay at the facility,” he said. “There is a sense of loyalty and camaraderie when you’ve trained with guys, you’ve done shifts with them for years.” Adding to this natural bonding, jobs in Japan confer identity, command loyalty and inspire a particularly fervent kind of dedication. Economic straits have chipped away at the hallowed idea of lifetime employment for many Japanese, but the workplace remains a potent source of community. Mr. Friedlander said that he had no doubt that in an identical accident in the United States, 50 volunteers could be found to stay behind after everyone else evacuated from an extremely hazardous environment. But Japanese are raised to believe that individuals sacrifice for the good of the group.

...Daiichi is not synonymous with Chernobyl in terms of the severity of contamination. The Ukrainian reactor blew up and spewed huge amounts of radiation for 10 days in 1986. But workers at the plants have a bond. Among plant employees and firefighters at Chernobyl, many volunteered to try to tame, and then entomb, the burning reactor—although it is not clear that all were told the truth about the risks. Within three months, 28 of them died from radiation exposure. At least 19 of them were killed by infections that resulted from having large areas of their skin burned off by radiation, according to a recent report by a United Nations scientific committee. And 106 others developed radiation sickness, with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dropping blood counts that left them highly vulnerable to infections. The people who had suffered radiation sickness developed other problems later, according to the report: cataracts, severe scarring from the radiation burns to their skin and an increased number of deaths from leukemia and other blood cancers. Some of those Chernobyl workers were exposed to levels of radiation far beyond what has been measured to date at Daiichi—especially helicopter pilots who flew through radiation-laden smoke spewing from the reactor to drop fire-extinguishing chemicals on it.

Radiation close to the reactors was reported to reach 400 millisieverts per hour on Tuesday after a blast inside reactor No. 2 and fire at reactor No. 4, but has since dropped back to as low as 0.6 millisieverts at the plant gate. Tokyo Electric and Japanese regulators have not released any statistics on radiation levels inside the containment buildings where engineers are desperately trying to fix electrical systems, pumps and other gear wrecked by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami. But nuclear experts said that indoor radiation levels were likely to be higher because the containment buildings were probably still preventing most radiation from leaving the plant.

The site is now so contaminated with radiation, experts say, that it has become difficult for employees to work near the reactors for extended periods of time. According to one expert’s account of nuclear emergency procedures, workers would be cycled in and out of the worst-hit parts of the plant. In some cases, when dealing with a task in a highly radioactive area of the plant, workers might line up and handle the task only for minutes at a time before passing off to the next worker, said Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a former professor in the Research Center for Urban Safety and Security at Kobe University. Tokyo Electric has refused to release the names or any other information about the 50 workers who stayed behind, nor have utility executives said anything about how they are being relieved as they become tired or ill.

...If the plant operator is strictly limiting the exposure of each worker at Daiichi—and thus calling on hundreds of volunteers to make up the 50 on site at any given time—then Chernobyl may offer some consolation. To clean up the Chernobyl site after the accident, the Soviet Union conscripted workers in proportion to the size of each of its republics, and developed a system to limit their exposure. “They sent up to 600,000 people in to clean up the radioactive debris around the plant and build a sarcophagus,” said Dr. John Boice, an author of the study, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt and the scientific director of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockvillle, Md. The workers, known as “liquidators,” were sent into contaminated zones for limited periods. “To date there’s very little evidence for adverse effects,” Dr. Boice said. “It was pretty smart. A large number of people got a relatively small dose. There may be a small risk of leukemia, but that’s not conclusive.”
Wow.
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:02 PM   #160
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I've not heard of a tsunami ever actually striking Saipan, the island where I lived for 11 years (though we had plenty of warnings), even though the island is only about a three hour flight south of Japan. I heard they got a two foot wave this last time, but no damage that I heard about it. There was some whirlpool effect I guess on Saturday morning during the XTerra Triathalon that was problematic for the swimmers, but that was it.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:46 AM   #161
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I've been reading the Chernobyl wiki. How terrifying that must have been...
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:26 AM   #162
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I've been reading the Chernobyl wiki. How terrifying that must have been...
Here's a really cool website showing pictures of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, incuding the abandoned city of Pripyat, as it looks today.

KIDDofSPEED - GHOST TOWN - Chernobyl Pictures - Kidofspeed - Elena
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:18 AM   #163
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Here's a really cool website showing pictures of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, incuding the abandoned city of Pripyat, as it looks today.

KIDDofSPEED - GHOST TOWN - Chernobyl Pictures - Kidofspeed - Elena
those are amazing, thanks!
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:18 AM   #164
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Here's a really cool website showing pictures of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, incuding the abandoned city of Pripyat, as it looks today.

KIDDofSPEED - GHOST TOWN - Chernobyl Pictures - Kidofspeed - Elena
Wow... crazy how the exclusion zone still applies today, I would have thought the radiation would dissipate with time? Does this mean that people will never be able to return to within 30kms of the Fukushima plant?
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:32 AM   #165
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I must be crazy, because Pripyat is one of the places in Europe I most want to visit. Has been since I first saw photos of it a few years ago.
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