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Author Topic: Breaking news: 8.8 earthquake hits Japan; tsunamis hit Japan, to hit Hawaii  (Read 15165 times)

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Online Vekseid

There's been an explosion at one of Japan's nuclear power plants


According to Wikipedia, it's an older Boiling Water Reactor type (like Three Mile Island), my first guess on seeing the explosion is that it was overpressurized, which means it blew its coolant. Fukushima reactor pressure may have hit 2.1 times capacity. We'll see if it was an actual chemical reaction of some sort.

Fukushima isn't graphite-moderated so this won't be a repeat of Chernobyl, but obviously there is still damage already.

Offline Solstice

To their credit, I don't imagine there's too much they could've done to prepare for getting taken out by an earthquake like that.

It sounds like they're responding in a fairly reasonable and quick manner, though I think I'm still a tad concerned where the media decides to take this whole nuclear reactor exploding thing. Sounds like a steam explosion, and overall it seems like the actual effects will be limited to a relative handful of workers dying and mass power outages... but I sorta expect some drama, if you'll pardon the term, about the whole thing.

Online Vekseid

According to CNN:
An explosion at an earthquake-damaged nuclear plant was not caused by damage to the nuclear reactor but by a pumping system that failed as crews tried to bring the reactor's temperature down, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Saturday.

Only injured four workers, so no deaths from the explosion.

Offline Observing Trifles

To their credit, I don't imagine there's too much they could've done to prepare for getting taken out by an earthquake like that.

Japan is actually surprisingly prepared for earthquakes. Most if not all of the buildings, particularly taller ones, have "quake-resistant" infrastructures beneath the surface to keep them from falling. During earthquakes, they sway like trees, so they'll bend, but usually not break. From what I understand, they're not the only country using earthquake engineering, but it certainly saved a great deal of their buildings during the 8.9 monstrosity.

Offline Izu

Bri, it's not the earthquake that caused all the damage but the tsunami... Unfortunately there's no way they could protect themselves from it. They still managed to evacuate quite a few people, but according to the last news over here there are now over 1700 confirmed deaths and 10,000 people missing. :( 

Offline Observing Trifles

You're right, Izu. The tsunami caused the bulk of the damage further north in Sendai. I was mostly just speculating that cities further south and locations further inland had only the quake to worry about and that they were mostly - and thankfully - protected by earthquake engineering.

Offline Wyrd

Red Cross has already set up ways to donate to help the relief effort. In the world economy, people like the ones on the north east Japanese coast need more then prayers and best wishes. Even thought their Gov may be more prepared for stuff like help is still needed
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 04:33:41 PM by Wyrd »

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Offline Izu

*shudders*  :'(

Over here was announced that the deaths are now over 2000. And there are 10,000 people from Miyagi prefecture that are considered to be missing. And the earthquake was not 8.8 as thought at first, but somewhere around 9.0-9.1

Offline Acid Lips

Offline Caeli

And on top of all this, a volcano in southern Japan erupts. .___.;,0,2486939.story

The Japanese weather agency has reported that a volcano in southern Japan began spewing ash and rock even as the country struggled to recover Sunday from the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

Japan's Meteorological Agency issued a warning Sunday that the Shinmoedake volcano resumed activity after lying dormant for a couple of weeks.

The volcano is on Kyushu island, about 950 miles from the epicenter of Friday's magnitude 9.0 earthquake, which devastated much of the country's northeastern coast.

It was unclear if the eruptions were linked to quake, officials said. Japan lies on the "ring of fire," a seismically active zone where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common.

The volcano last erupted Jan. 19 after remaining dormant for two years. Volcanologists had warned that a "lava dome" was growing inside the volcano's crater, although it was uncertain when or if the volcano would erupt.

Sunday's eruption, which was the biggest volcanic activity in Shinmoedake in 52 years, caused widespread destruction and panic. The blast could be heard for miles, and shattered windows four miles away, the BBC reported. Hundreds of people fled the area as the volcano spewed debris, including hot ash and rocks, more than 6,000 feet in the air, according to BBC reports.

Offline Chuukun

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I am living in Germany right now and studying Japan-centered economy and I also practice kenjutsu, the art of the sword. As such, I am greatly attached to Japan and yet, I only live on the other side of the world. And still, I feel as though there is a fire down the street where I live, I stand on the balcony and watch it burn, hoping that somebody, anybody, puts it out.

I have never experienced something like this before, but I am greatly distressed by the current situation in Japan. I know a few people there, one of my friends is even working in Hokkaido (the northern-most island). When the news broke, I was terrified at the prospect of them having been killed by this terrible disaster, especially after he left a rather ominous message on his blog.

Fortunately, I have gotten in touch with all of my contacts in Japan and they and their families are all well so far. The earthquake itself was terrifying, but the destruction wrought by the tsunami was a lot worse. According to my friend, the images you see on the net or the TV are NOT dramatizing things. It really is bad. PM Naoto Kan says it's the worst thing to happen to Japan since WWII, and you know that's saying something when he puts it on the same level as two nuclear air strikes.

I had (and still have) plans to visit Japan in mid-April, but even putting the situation and possible outcomes at the nuclear plant in Fukushima aside, I am really debating if I should really board the plane. It seems wrong to me that I, as a visitor, have myself a merry holiday with the intent of enjoying myself, while only a few hundred kilometers north, there are people suffering, mourning their loved ones and only left with what little they could salvage from their homes. Although I've been told that I should go through with it anyways, as it would mean a lot to the Japanese if I would still not be deterred by the earthquake (and I can certainly see that), I am rather shaken up.

I have lost quite some appetite and I can hardly sleep, always fearing that, if I wake up and not watch the whole situation from where I'm living 24/7, something terrible might happen. I actually feel a little ill now from worrying... that is something entirely new to me.

I don't believe in God or any deity for that matter and such an event won't change that, but just looking at these pictures I can only hope for the best, put my faith in the people in charge. The devastation of the tsunami is bad enough, I don't want these people to face the horrors of a nuclear fallout mere days afterwards...
« Last Edit: March 13, 2011, 08:34:41 PM by Chuukun »

Offline Acid Lips

Where I live there is a online newspaper that just reported that the island itself moved a bit because of the earthquake. It was about 2.4 meters and it is said that the axis of the rotation of the planet by 10 centimeters. I just hope this ends soon and the people from Japan can begin to reconstruct and rebuild their homes

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Yes, I heard the same about the coast and the earth rotation. :-( I just have no words for this tragedy.

Offline Kimbersqk

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I have friends from Japan and their families are still currently in Japan. I briefly read everybody's posts and news updates. Yes, I know that you kind of want to go to Japan, I am not sure if I would. The reason is that so many people are being effected, in general and now that the power plant has leaked out into the water system getting the people sick. I know one of my friends is trying so hard to get her parents here to the US from Japan. Hopefully they will get an "open" ticket or one way to the USA and then go back when everything has settled down. A trip to Japan would be wonderful, as I have been there a few years ago, but I am not sure if right now would be the time.

Offline Florence

I don't know who here would be interested in such things, but if you donate $2 to $50 to the Red Cross via the Playstation Store, there's a pretty cute theme available. Of course, the important thing is helping out, but a little added incentive is always nice.

Offline Caeli

I saw this touching story today on CNN and wanted to share. :)

Defiant Japanese boat captain rode out tsunami - By Paula Hancocks

Oshima, Japan (CNN) -- Susumu Sugawara looks bemused and a little embarrassed at all the attention he's getting.

The 64 year old has become a local hero on the Japanese island of Oshima. Smashed boats adorn the coastline of this once-idyllic tourist spot, but Sugawara's pride and joy, "Sunflower" is intact and working overtime transporting people and aid to and from the island. It can hold around 20 people at a time.

When the tsunami came, everyone ran to the hills. But Sugawara ran to his boat and steered it into deeper waters. "I knew if I didn't save my boat, my island would be isolated and in trouble," he tells CNN.

As he passed his other boats, used for fishing abalone, he said goodbye to them, apologizing that he could not save them all.

Then the first wave came. Sugawara says he is used to seeing waves up to 5 meters high but this was four-times that size.

"My feeling at this moment is indescribable," he says with glistening eyes. "I talked to my boat and said you've been with me 42 years. If we live or die, then we'll be together, then I pushed on full throttle."

"Here was my boat and here was the wave," he says, holding one hand low and the other stretched high above his head. "I climbed the wave like a mountain. When I thought I had got to the top, the wave got even bigger."

Sugawara's arms flail wildly as he describes the top of the wave crashing down repeatedly onto his boat. "I closed my eyes and felt dizzy. When I opened them, I could see the horizon again, so I knew I'd made it."

Then the next wave came. Sugawara can't remember if there were four or five waves, but he says he did not feel afraid, he was just focused on steering his boat.

Suddenly the sea was completely calm and he knew he had beaten the tsunami. Sugawara stayed at sea until dark, pumping water from the boat's engine room. He believed his island had been destroyed by the wave. He says he didn't cry but felt angry and utterly helpless. He didn't know if his family had survived.

Trying to get back to Oshima, he had to navigate carefully past wrecked houses, boats and other debris that floated past him. The island of Oshima was in complete darkness; the only way he could find his way was with the guide of raging fires at Kesunnuma -- 5 kilometers (3 miles) away.

For twenty days, he has been making hourly trips to the mainland. For the first two weeks at least he provided almost the only connection with it. Without Sugawara and the Sunflower, the island would have been completely cut off.

He doesn't ask passengers for money if they have none. Those that can, pay just 300 yen (US$3.5) towards fuel.

Oshima is an island of just 3,500 people. Locals say 35 of them are confirmed dead and some are still missing, though they don't know how many. Others are believed to have taken their boats out to sea and tried to ride the tsunami like Sugawara but didn't make it.

The supermarket owner, Tadaomi Sasahara, tells me he gave all of his food away for free after the disaster. Many islanders then brought their food from their homes and shared it out.

He adds, "Everyone used to look out for themselves on this island, but after this, the whole community is now helping each other."

With his supermarket shelves empty, he now helps Sugawara with his hourly trips to the mainland.

Sugawara risked his life for his boat and his island -- one of the very few to ride a tsunami and to live to tell the tale.

Offline crystaltears

That is pretty amazing. To face a tsunami like that. *Is in awe.*