NEWS OPEN THREAD (UPDATING) – Japan’s Tsunami “fallout”: Radiation rising in nuke power plant

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By now everyone has heard of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of northern Japan, the devasting tsunami that hit there, and is now traveling to the US west coast. Since this is a constantly moving story, it seems prudent to make this an Open Thread of update news contributions by our ever astute FA readers. We would all appreciate your adds as development occur. For quick heads up, CNN has a live update blog, dedicated to breaking tweet type news.

Some of CNN’s photo gallery. See more here.

The one story I am watching is one of Japan’s four nuclear power plants that was having shut down problems, and prevented water cooling of the reactors. This is the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant turbine building in Onahoma city, about 170 miles north of Tokyo. at 9:09AM Pacific time, a report had noted the area was evacuated, but Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, said there was no radiation leak. Simultaneously, according to the CNN blog update I linked above, Kyodo News reported that radiation levels were on the rise. Japan has declared a State of Emergency.. not only because of the earthquake, but for this plant specifically… evacuating 2800 affected people. It is a story to be watched, and a very undesirable element to be added to an already heartbreaking event.

Well, fellow news hounds… you’re all up now…


UPDATE: 6:38PM PAC Time: News reports from various radio/TV sources actually indicate there are 15 or more Japanese nuke facilities, of which eight are in “emergency declared” status by Japan. Now latest Japan Today update states that there are two of these that are set to release pressure. The second plant is adjacent to the first.

Given the adjacent No. 2 plant also has quake-triggered malfunctions, the operator of the two plants in Fukushima Prefecture is set to release pressure in containers housing reactors under an unprecedented government order aimed to ensure the plant’s safety, an action that could lead to the release of radioactive substances.

Mark Levin had a nuke experienced caller who was wondering about the status of “containment” facilities for these… More if I find it in updates. Or feel free to add it below, and I’ll insert it here when I see it. Group effort for info, yes?


UPDATE: 5:04pm, PAC Time: Latest Japan Times update says evacuation area expanded.

Radioactive substances could already have leaked at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after a magnitude 8.8 earthquake hit northern Japan, the operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Saturday.

The amount of radiation reached around 1,000 times the normal level in the control room of the No. 1 reactor of the plant, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency also said. The discovery suggests radioactive steam could spread around the facility.

The agency also said radiation has been more than eight times the normal level at a monitoring post near the main gate of the plant.

The authorities expanded the evacuation area for residents in the vicinity of the plant from a 3-kilometer radius to 10 km on the orders of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who plans to visit the facility later Saturday.


UPDATE: 12:50pm, PAC Time: According to Japan Today, the power plant with the cooling problem for the reactors is getting ready to open the valves to release the rising pressure, which could emit radioactive steam into the air.

Kaieda also said at a predawn press conference that the level of any radiation released from Tokyo Electric Power Co.‘s Fukushima No. 1 plant, which was hit by a powerful earthquake Friday, will be very low and the safety of nearby residents has been ensured.

Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.

24 Responses to “NEWS OPEN THREAD (UPDATING) – Japan’s Tsunami “fallout”: Radiation rising in nuke power plant”

  1. 1


    The USS Tortuga, USS Essex/31st MEU, USS Blue Ridge and the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group are on the way. From the TV coverage it looks like the Japanese people in the Tsunami area are really having a really rough go, flaming junk in the water… nuts for sure.

  2. 2

    Nan G

    Some Japanese news outlet is reporting that about 88,000 people are missing.
    If true it is astounding.
    The geologists are claiming we saw a new opening in the earth’s crush 50 miles wide and 150 miles long.

    Christopher Lyttle who runs the Port of Long Beach says all cargo operations have been suspended.
    I could see and hear police and Coast Guard helicopters circling the Port as well as the mouth of the Los
    Angeles River as the waves were going to hit.
    Apparently that was a dud, thank goodness.
    The top of the L.A. river basin was raised an extra 6 feet in recent years because, were it to overflow, lots of the city would be underwater.
    All the oil tankers were sent out to sea in time for any eventuality.
    We have a cliff between our condo and the beach, but were told not to go down to the beach even though there is a large breakwater, so I didn’t.
    I did watch to see if the sea went out before the wave came in.
    Not enough to be noticeable.

  3. 3


    It kind of puts our own problems into perspective, doesn’t it? Watching the video coming in early this morning, it was hard to grasp the fact that there were human beings caught up in the midst of all of that. The mind just doesn’t want to accept such things.

  4. 4


    “This will be the largest naval operation we have conducted in the Pacific since Vietnam”
    Retired General Russel Honore – a few minutes ago on CNN

  5. 5



    From Japan Today, The official death toll is at 59 (no doubt and counting. I don’t find any estimates on missing specifically. Being an ex Southern Cal girl, I know that much of the most serious problems occur in the aftermath… fires, gas line explosions, utilities creating hazards for survival, etc. Japan, still rockin’ and rollin’ is predictably experiencing this.

    According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, more than 80 fires had been confirmed by 8 p.m. in Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Chiba, Tokyo and Kanagwa prefectures. They included a fire at an ironworks in Chiba.

    In Miyagi’s Sendai, 600 people, including pupils of an elementary school, evacuated to the school’s rooftop after a fire broke out nearby.


    The upper-5 registered in Tokyo’s 23 wards is the fourth-strongest on the 10-point scale. Elaborate train networks in the metropolitan area remained paralyzed in the evening, prompting Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano to urge commuters in the capital and its vicinity to stay in their offices for the time being.

    ‘‘We are requesting railway operators to resume their services soon, but we cannot let them operate unless safety is ensured,’’ the top government spokesman said. ‘‘If you tried walking home, it might cause sidewalks to become like packed trains,’’ he warned in a press conference.

    Some large-scale public facilities in the metropolitan area, including Yokohama Arena and Saitama Super Arena, became temporary shelters for those who cannot go home.

    Nine local governments asked a total of 15,000 convenience stores, family restaurants and fast food outlets to offer drinking water, usage of toilets and resting space for people having difficulty returning home.

    Tokyo Tower, a landmark structure in the capital, was slightly damaged in the quake, according to its management firm. The new Tokyo Sky Tree currently under construction was not damaged and none of its 500 workers was injured.

    The quake killed at least 59 people and injured many others, not only in the most severely hit area of Miyagi and neighboring prefectures but also in Tokyo, some 300 kilometers from the prefectural capital of Sendai, where a prolonged and powerful temblor was also felt, as well as strong aftershocks.

    Another Japan Today story says there’s a train unaccounted for after the tsunami. It was that was running near Nobiru Station on East Japan Railway Co.‘s Senseki Line connecting Sendai to Ishinomaki . No info on how many aboard.

    UPDATE: The Japan Today article just updated to make it *four* trains unaccounted for….

    The Japan Times updates the death toll as of 3:40PM Japan time to 154 people were killed and 531 missing.

    The death toll is likely to surpass 1,000 as about 1,800 houses in Fukushima Prefecture were found to have been devastated, according to the Defense Ministry.

    Meanwhile, around 200 to 300 bodies were found in Sendai’s Wakabayashi Ward, the Miyagi prefectural police said. Officials of the ward facing the Pacific Ocean said almost all of the approximately 1,200 households within a district where a tsunami alert was issued were affected by tsunami waves.

    Also, the fate for a ship carrying 100 people, that was washed away by the tsunami, is unknown according to Miyagi police.

  6. 7


    Watching that wave filled with fire and anything in it’s path… destroying everything in it’s path was horrible, can’t begin to imagine what it was like to be there, such a tremendous loss, how to begin to recover. Never saw anything like it. I can’t add anything, the two greats are here today so we are watching children’s programming. I was worried about the nuke plant, they reported only one missing train and of course the ship, devastating, this will be a lifetime nightmare for the people of Japan, so horrible.

  7. 8



    Two more predawn quakes… Seismologists are saying different fault line. Generally movement on one will trigger movements on others in a domino effect of correction.

    Two powerful earthquakes hit an inland area northwest of Tokyo early Saturday, each measuring 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Nagano Prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

    The agency did not issue a tsunami warning. The 3:59 a.m. and 4:32 a.m. quakes, with preliminary magnitudes of 6.7 and 5.8 respectively, hit areas including Niigata Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast, which is far from the Pacific coastal area jolted by a magnitude 8.8 quake the previous day.

    Police said they had received reports of a mudslide in the city of Tokamachi as well as avalanches in Tokamachi and the town of Tsunan following the early morning quakes.

    Wooden buildings including a town hall and a garage were reportedly destroyed and some sections of Route 117 were ruptured in the village of Sakae in Nagano, a village official said.

  8. 10



    Don’t understand what you’re saying, Neo. The news and headline I posted is because the radiation levels were rising in the area of that plant. Also rising was the pressure, which is why they are talking about opening the vents.

    It was a Kyoto media who reported the rising radiation levels. Japan Times reported the valve opening plant to relieve pressure, and emit steam with low levels (they assure us) of radiation. i.e. from my original post:

    Kyodo News reported that radiation levels were on the rise.


    (from the update) According to Japan Today, the power plant with the cooling problem for the reactors is getting ready to open the valves to release the rising pressure, which could emit radioactive steam into the air.

    Is this written as to confuse the two? I didn’t think so, but perception is everything. If so, I shall correct.

  9. 11

    Nan G

    I am hearing the same, Mata.

    From USAToday:

    Authorities expanded the evacuation area….. at least 3,000 residents in a 10-kilometre radius.

    “thousands of residents within a 6-miles were ordered to leave before dawn Saturday.”

    Radiation 1,000 times normal has been detected at a crippled nuclear plant in northeastern Japan where utility managers have released radioactive steam to reduce mounting pressure, the Kyodo news service is reporting

  10. 12



    Same from Reuters, Nan G.

    Japan says radiation levels have surged outside a nuclear plant and expands the area subject to evacuation.

    Japan’s massive earthquake caused a power outage that disabled a nuclear reactor’s cooling system, triggering evacuation orders for about 3,000 residents as the government declared its first-ever state of emergency at a nuclear plant.

    Japan’s nuclear safety agency said pressure inside one of six boiling water reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant had risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal. Hours after the evacuation order, the government announced that the plant in northeastern Japan will release slightly radioactive vapor from the unit to lower the pressure in an effort to protect it from a possible meltdown.

    No clue what Neo means, but perhaps he’ll weigh in with more specifics.

  11. 14

    Nan G

    I just heard that a new coastline is being set after this quake.
    Some land will now be underwater.
    I hope some land will also be gained, but I’m hearing Japan lost landmass.

  12. 16



    Lastest news blurb at 6:34pm, PAC time… yet another aftershock of 6.8 on the Richter scale. No chump change, sez the EX-California girl. ‘specially in the wake of fragile conditions.

  13. 18


    Lucianne’s header:

    More than 9,500 people unaccounted for in Minamisanriku,
    Japan, Kyodo News Agency reports
    This will be a day of dreadful numbers.

    The missing train full of people, the missing ship with 100 people, now all these people just missing. Such horror, can’t begin to imagine what these people are going through.

    Tsunami warning center raises magnitude of Japan quake to 9.1
    The Japan earthquake was the fourth most powerful ever recorded with a magnitude of 9.1, twice more powerful than the initial estimate of 8.9, Gerard Fryer, geophysicist of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, said this morning.

    Three others that were more powerful since the late 1800s when seismometers started measuring ground motions were in 9.5 in Chile in 1960, 9.2 in Alaska in 1964 and 9.1 in Sumatra in 2004, according to Fryer.

    The new magnitude was adjusted based on the impact of the quake throughout the Pacific, he said. “It fits all measurements, including in Hawaii,” Fryer said.

    The U.S. Geological Survey estimate of the quake’s magnitude is still 8.9.

  14. 19

    Nan G

    I am so proud of the people of Japan.
    I just saw a man complaining that he hadn’t had much food in 12 hours, a young girl saying the same.
    But in front of one store that was open was a long line of orderly people, waiting to be served.
    No looting.
    No craziness.
    That would not be how it would be here in So Cal.

  15. 23


    WORDSMITH, THANK YOU, it bring to mind the ANCIENT CITY of POMPEI,
    you can’t look at it without thinking of some words in the BIBLE,

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