The terrible earthquake and tsunami beginning in Japan

BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
I woke up to the news of the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami. I can only offer my prayers and wishes for any and all who have been hurt or worse from these terrible events.

Please, if any of our members are living near or in any of the parts of the countries effected, or have friends or family who do, let us know what you can. We are all, I am sure, thinking of you.
 

BillN

Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
123
S W France
Bill
I spend quite a lot of time in Japan from 1985 to 1993 and still have a few Japanese friends there - I have tried to contact them to find out if they are OK but have had no reply

It is a terrible disaster and looks like one of the worst ever

I am sure the world will do everything it can to help the Japanese people
 

BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
"The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center extended a tsunami warning across most of the Pacific Ocean, and said the tsunami would threaten coastal areas of Russia, Taiwan, Hawaii, Indonesia, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea and Australia later in the day. The agency, based in Hawaii, added the west coasts of the United States, Mexico, Central America and South America to the list of regions that were given tsunami alerts."

I just read that there was an additional earthquake at 7.4 during the aftershocks.

Bill, keep us posted with regard to your friends in Japan.
 

Penny

Veteran
Aug 26, 2010
103
Outside Liverpool Uk
I have watched the TV reports today am horrified by what I see; the 7.4 was said to be an aftershock! whatever it was; it was bad; I dread to think what the injured and indeed those lost numbers will be but my thoughts and prayers go with all those affected directly and indirectly of all the peoples in Japan and surrounding areas.
 

BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
Strictly speaking from a personal view point, I am relieved to know that our friends and their family members in Japan are all safe. Of course this doesn't do anything for those who have been overwhelmed and worse with this disaster.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
123
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
A very small and unimportant serious compacts / m43 connection. A video taken with a gh2 by a guy riding it out in a Tokyo office building with his co-workers. They were all ok, but its kind of terrifying to see and not quite feel what this was like. And soooo far from the epicenter. I had no idea the serious shaking lasts that long in a big quake - I've only experienced some incredibly small ones that you could barely feel. Yikes.

-Ray

March 11 Earthquake in Tokyo - Panasonic GH2 on Vimeo
 
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deirdre

Top Veteran
Sep 26, 2010
103
Fascinating. That is such a Japanese office layout, too.

When I was a contractor for Honda in Torrance, they also had low cubicles with partitions at about eye level. It gave a bigger sense of space than most American-style cube layouts. They used white noise generators to keep it quiet; it was one of the quietest places I've ever worked.

Interesting point: everyone had those cubes; very important managers sometimes had double-size ones with a little four-seat table in half. I worked in legal (as a database administrator), and most lawyers are used to offices with doors; the concession there was they had their own offices with glass walls, but there was an opening that had no door.

I stayed up really late because of the Tsunami. I kept watching live coverage until almost 5:30 a.m. (I'm an insomniac anyway) I hope there will be as few injuries and deaths as possible. The infrastructure loss is terrible, but the people can't be replaced.

As always, I hope in particular that everyone involved in the serious compacts industry is safe and sound.
 
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Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
123
Man Ray, living in Berkeley, CA a block from the Hayward fault that looks terrifying. The tsunami destroyed harbors in Santa Cruz and Crescent City. The amount of energy in that water is immense.
 
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pictor

All-Pro
Jul 14, 2010
124
One big problem seems to be rather acute: The nuclear power plant Fukushima I has been hit seriously. Radioactivity has been set free, the coolant system is down and a melt-down will happen if the technicians cannot cool the damaged fuel rods. As an European I can still remember the accident in Chernobyl, which contaminated large areas all over Europe. A melt down of Fukushima I would be a tremendous catastrophe. Lets hope, that this won't happen.
 
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BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
This morning I received an email from one of our good friends in Japan. His family was very lucky, however just reading his descriptions of what it was like in his office building, coupled with the films and photos...terrifying. He said that the only way they could stay in touch with each other until they were reunited was email. He, too, is very worried about the nuclear power plant and is trying to find some of his co-workers who were traveling within the country for a work project.
 

BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
I am very sorry to have just seen this:

NY Times, March 12th: Explosion Rocks Japan Nuclear Plant After Quake, By MATTHEW L. WALD
WASHINGTON — An explosion at a nuclear power plant in northern Japan on Saturday blew the roof off one building, brought down walls and caused a radiation leak of unspecified proportions, Japanese officials said, after Friday’s huge earthquake caused critical failures in the plant’s cooling system.

Television images showed a huge cloud of white-gray smoke from the explosion. Soon afterward, government officials said an evacuation zone around the plant had been doubled, to 12 miles. The chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, confirmed earlier news reports of an explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, 15o miles north of Tokyo, saying: “We are looking into the cause and the situation and we’ll make that public when we have further information.” He was speaking amid fears that a disastrous meltdown could be imminent because of critical cooling failures at that plant and another nearby, Daini, after both were shut down.

Images on Japanese television showed that the walls of one building had crumbled, leaving only a skeletal metal frame standing with smoke billowing from the plant. The Associated Press reported that the damaged building housed a nuclear reactor, though that report was not immediately verified by nuclear officials. The cause of the explosion was unclear, with some experts speculating that it may have resulted from a hydrogen build-up.

There was no immediate confirmation of news reports that the container of the nuclear reactor itself had escaped damage....
There are interactive maps and more.

I'm sure we all have our own sources of information, some personal, and many via journalists. I receive updates via NPR:Radiation Down At Japan Nuke Plant After Blast : NPR
 

Penny

Veteran
Aug 26, 2010
103
Outside Liverpool Uk
Watching an interview with a European Nuclear Scientist consultant who has work in Japan for 20 years said that the government and powers that be never tell all the truth when it comes to and of the Plants so as not to alarm the public.
As they were reporting that the radiation levels were falling to acceptable levels; they were extending the safety areas further and further away from the plant.
Thus moving the population out of their homes, now if the safety risk was lessening why were they extending the safety area?
 

BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
Well, let us hope that is not true. What we do not want to happen is to have unsubstantiated information posted. When disasters or wars or terrorist attacks happen it is important to try to keep calm and gain as much accurate information as possible.

Reuter's, the IAEA has a Facebook page here:Latest IAEA update on Japan Earthquake (1340 CET 12 March 2011) | Facebook to name two sources.

I'm sure we are all going to be watching and listening to these events and hoping and praying for the people effected. No doubt the story is going to unfold in fits and starts. I am really hoping that Japan's engineers knew what they were doing with their construction. Clearly they are way ahead of many countries in this regard.
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
I write as a former engineer in the UK Nuclear power industry. The design of the reactor in question is very different from those used in the UK, it's known as a boiling water reactor (BWR). The heat produced in the nuclear reactor core is extracted by light water which in boiling turns into steam which is passed directly to the steam turbine. Most other systems use intermediate heat exchangers. One of the short comings of the BWR is that even the turbine is subject to some form of radiation being carried over in the steam and workers even in the turbine hall need to be protected from that radiation, a situation that does not occur with gas cooled reactors (AGR) or pressurised water reactors (PWR). That radiation normally takes the form of nitrogen 16 which has a half life of just a few seconds.

Non of us have any way of knowing what might have been vented from the reactor pressure vessel in a controlled manner, but it might well be steam from the free space above the reactor core with these very short lived radioactive elements in it.

Replacing the light water in the reactor with seawater will take several hours. That seawater will be dosed with Boric acid which will effectively stop any nuclear reaction that is still occuring within the reactor core. The control rods which would normally serve this purpose also contain boron. I understand that in a BWR these are often inserted from below which is somewhat unusual, most control rods drop in from above under gravity which should be fail safe under most circumstances.

There are many redundant safety systems in place so I would suggest that it is still rather soon to be disseminating messages that could induce some form of panic.

Having said that I know that the nuclear industry can be its own worst enemy by not keeping everyone fully informed for fear of the reaction of anti-nuclear groups.

Barrie
 

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