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Here's the latest info from Japan's nuclear regulatory agency re the Daichi plant...in their 2 am Japan time update... The original appears to be only in Japanese, so this is the Google translated version.

2) Status of monitoring

- Radioactive material were measured near the boundary of peripheral monitoring area monitoring by car, 12 Sun 4:00 determining elevated compared to current figures.

MP4 vicinity (site boundary monitoring Nishi Kita Car No. 1) 59.1μSV / h (20:26)

MP6 付 近 (正门) 0.07μSV / h → 3.2μSV / h (4:00 → 20:30)

MP8 付 近 (展望) 0.07μSV / h → 2.06μSV / h (4:00 → 16:40)

(3) wind speed (at 20:38 on the 12th now)

   Wind Direction: West

   Wind speed: 0.5m / s

(4) report on the extraordinary

* Atomic force renew, Disaster Law and Commerce Article 10 of the Special Bulletin (the first atomic force 発 Fukushima CLP)

* Article 15 of the same notification (Fukushima first power of the atomic force 発 Unit 1,2)

- Status of functional recovery and secure power supply for irrigation Fukushima Daiichi Power Station

Working on the car including the power cables from the bridge. (Currently 12 15:04)

- Increased pressure in the containment and Unit 1 began to decrease the release of steam pressure. (12th 14:40)

The site boundary · 500μSv / h were measured over the (12th 15:29). The quake occurred beneath the large type, there is a big noise in the vicinity of Unit 1, make sure that smoke is rising (15:36 12 days)


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I.S.A.R. Germany (International Search and Rescue) cancelled it's mission and is flying back.

"We don't know what will happen with the nuclear power plants here in the coming days".

It seems as if the high pressure inside hinders to fill up with water and to release the pressure at this point could lead to an early "Super Gau" . It's just to risky at this point and if the high pressure water injections fail to do the job there will be not many options left then. I think they really try hard but to no avail. Unless they find a way to realease the pressure savely things look not good. - My Guess only!

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I used to live In Tokyo. That area, while hit hard by the Quake, is going to be OK if nothing else happens. The damage was NOT severe there.

Of course as you go up the coast 200 miles, the area has been hit hard.

There was a city built on flat ground in a V shape inland. The Tsunami hit the V and went inland and rose up killing thousands in the city.

The people only had 15 minutes from the time of the quake until the water hit.

The roads were already wrecked and so they were trapped most of them.

Over 10,000 in the one town are missing.

Likely, when we get more info, we will see huge death counts being given.

About the nuclear plants, we must hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

For now we are told that No huge leak has occurred. They MUST get water and electricity back into the plant soon or things could lead to a disaster there.

While all this goes on, the Middle East is in open rebellion in most nations.

France has recognized the Rebels in Libya. We might very well see French Fighters over the nation protecting the rebel area very very soon.

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As a veteran of these kinds of things, there is a variety of very careful language and words being used by the various authorities and media outlets...

The Cabinet secretary says there was no huge release of radiation in the explosion. But that isn't saying there was none..

There's been a number of backhand indications that nuclear fision products have been released into the environment - cesium and iodine being found outside the plant. But where is it coming from, and how did it get there. That's what not being said.

Apologies at the outset, for modifying your post above. To some extent I agree with your view.

Likewise, I have been involved in these mishaps in the past, and am a little surprised by the lack of information. All of these reactors are fission, therefore, I would expect the contaminants to be heavier than air and water.

I note one report from a professor of some kind, that a 3 km radius is adequate, which is probably correct, given the weight of any potential particles.

However, I am a little surprised at the hierarchy of failure modes, failing to allow condensation (from a pressure release) taking place in a pond or lake designated for that purpose. These are ''custom and practice'', and pretty standard operation conditions, are they not ??

Somebody said truth was the first casualty.

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Thanks JFChandler and others. I am in the states currently, but I am learning more from ThaiVisa than from any source here!

Wow, it's like the news has been cancelled here. And the west coast is down wind too.

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Officials have a long history of down-playing nuclear mishaps. Three Mile Island, Hanford, Chernobyl, and countless other releases not making the news are examples.

Radiation does not only kill quickly, but causes serious illness and slow painful death many years later. Thyroid cancer and childhood leukemia are examples in cancer clusters in Pennsylvania. Also, the 2,800 sq. mile dead zone around Chernobyl should warn us, but we remain uninformed or in denial.

It’s happening again. Minimizing, vague statements, information black-outs; It’s history being repeated yet again. It’s only when the extent is severe enough that it can’t be sandbagged, or the delayed illnesses can’t be denied – that it gets found out.

"Some radioactive contaminants at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will threaten the Columbia River for thousands of years, a new analysis projects, despite the multibillion-dollar cleanup efforts by the federal government"


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A letter from Tokyo

By Christopher Johnson.

Christopher Johnson, author of "Siamese Dream" and former reporter of The Nation, provides a first-hand account of Japan's devastating earthquake in this letter from Tokyo, where he lives.

I was taking a shower at 2.46 on Friday afternoon when our old Japanese house started to shake.

At first, I thought this is no big deal. We get tremors in Tokyo almost every month, and our house shivers even in strong winds. I had been finishing up a novel about the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, which I had covered. Today's earthquake seemed almost fictional at first.

When the shaking got worse, and it was hard to stand up, I grabbed a towel and called out to my partner Qumico, who was upstairs working on a new album with her band The Sherbets.

Like millions of Japanese living in densely populated cities along the Pacific coast, she was too stunned to move at first. We keep a rope, flashlight and other earthquake essentials upstairs, but she decided to take her chances and run down the stairs to get out of the house before the roof and second floor might flatten the ground floor.

Dripping wet, I ran out of our kitchen door in my barefeet and called for her to get out of the house. We met up outside at the front of the house. The world beneath our feet was shaking side to side, up and down: yokoyure and chokagata in Japanese, a language rich in earthquake terminology.

It was like being on a ship in stormy seas. Careful that only the sky was above our heads, we watched our old wooden Japanese house sway from side to side, for what seemed like longer than a minute.

Stunned, I didn't feel cold, but Qumico bravely opened the front door and grabbed a big warm coat to put around me. We were afraid at first to go back in the house, fearing it might collapse, as weakened structures often do in Japan. I remembered how the Kobe earthquake destroyed almost every old house in the city, and I thought we were next. We thought for sure it was the Big One that everybody in Tokyo fears.

A few minutes later, we went back inside, shivering, and saw flowers and spices on the floor. Strangely, our guitars were still on their stands. I remembered a guy in Kobe, crawling out a hole in his destroyed house with a Fender Stratocaster in his hands.

Our phones didn't work, but the Internet and TV did. We were amazed to hear the epicenter was 300 kilometres north of Tokyo, near Sendai city in Miyagi prefecture.

Like many Japanese, Qumico opened the various sliding glass doors around the house, and turned off the gas. Many Japanese remember how lunch-time cooking fires destroyed Yokohama and Tokyo after a massive quake at noon on September 1, 1923, and how a blaze through shoe factories in Nagata-ku added to the death toll of more than 6000 in Kobe.

Putting on warm clothes, we checked on senior citizens living next door, who were OK, and saw frightened neighbours standing out in their gardens, or on the street. Luckily, we didn't see any fires or collapsed buildings, though helicopters sped overhead and firetrucks blared around the Setagaya ward where we live, about 10-minutes by train from the Shibuya entertainment district in central Tokyo.

For the next hour or so, I tried to contact friends online from my desk near an open door in about 5 degrees temperature, and we ran in and out of the house after about 5 or 6 aftershocks, which felt like serious quakes of their own. The Earth seemed to be angry at us for over-constructing our cities upon her, and we wondered when this horror movie would stop.

With phones down, hundreds of friends around Japan sent Facebook messages around. "Are you OK?" "I'm OK". "That was scary." Qumico's family members and friends across Tokyo were unscathed, but scared. Her brother on the 16th floor felt his apartment building swaying like a ship in a storm. I was most concerned about my friend Fred Varcoe, a British journalist whose family lives just a few metres from the Pacific Ocean, where 10-metre high walls of water were reportedly wiping villages off the map.

My friend British journalist Robert Michael Poole said his apartment in central Tokyo was trashed. Many others said they were safely outside buildings, but worried how they would get home, with all the train lines down. Nobody could reach friends in Sendai. Everybody was relieved that it wasn't a direct hit on Tokyo, but nobody could reach friends in Sendai, near the epicenter in northeastern Japan.

I sent e-mails to Maynard Plant in Sendai, with no reply. I hoped that Maynard and his brother Blaise, two Canadians who lead one of Japan's most popular bands, Monkey Majik, were on tour or recording somewhere not in the Sendai area.

Japanese TV, which is bizarre in normal times, was even more surreal. Newscasters wearing helmets. Flashing red lines along the entire Pacific coast of Japan, home to most of the country's 125 million people. Images of the ocean smothering whole towns and cities. Repeated mantras of warnings: take cover, evacuate coastal areas, stay evacuated, try and help senior citizens who can't escape on their own. And endless reports about train lines down, airlines cancelling flights, millions of people without power.

It was comforting to see Prime Minister Naoto Kan on TV, especially because of the rumours that he was going to resign today, due to an illegal donation scandal. But it seemed he also had no idea of what was really happening around Japan.

About six hours after the quake, I finally got a Facebook message from Fred Varcoe. He said his house was still standing. He escaped up a cliff and watched massive waves rolling in from the Pacific. He was too scared to go home, and was looking for an emergency shelter for his wife and two-year old daughter. It was impossible to call him.

Strangely, I could call producers in Canada, but not anybody in Japan. By 3 am, I still couldn't reach Maynard in Sendai. I could only hope that he was somewhere safe, in a country where thousands, perhaps millions, would be sleeping outside in minus zero temperatures, too scared to sleep with a collapsible roof over their heads.


-- The Nation 2011-03-13

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Second Japan reactor releasing radioactive steam

Tokyo/Berlin - Engineers at Tokyo's damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant were in the process of releasing another dose of radioactive steam into the atmosphere Sunday, Kyodo news agency reported.

The steam is to be released from a second reactor, a day after a similar release was made from a different reactor, according to Japanese government spokesman Yukio Edano.

The earlier release, which sent radioactive materials caesium-137 and iodine-131 into the air, was done to release pressure that was building inside the nuclear reactor.

The nuclear reactors lost their vital cooling systems and coolants after electricity and backup generators were wiped out by Friday's 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), said earlier Sunday on its website that the Japanese government had instructed it to reduce the pressure in the containment vessels of both Unit 2 and Unit 3 reactors.

At least 170,000 people have been evacuated from a 20-km radius around the Fukushima plant in case of a nuclear meltdown or catastrophic accident.//DPA


-- The Nation 2011-03-13

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Update from Tokyo

Sunday morning in Japan, 3rd day after the big earthquake

Still having aftershocks up to 5 in magnitude.

These are very nerve racking as you never know it it will be a big one again.

It will take time before it settles down on the quake front

Hundred of victims, hundreds more still waiting in precarious and dangerous location to be rescued.

More than a million people are without water, food, electricity, gasoline and it is still winter especially cold near the affected areas.

In Tokyo life is slowly returning to some normality, at least in Tokyo and further south, we have water, food, electricity, gas. gasoline.

We start seeing panic buying though.

The biggest unknown is the nuclear risk. They are doing all they can but as I said yesterday from what we are told it looks like we are not getting the full picture yet

My friend who lives inland 90km north of Tokyo had some of his roof tiles thrown and broken by the strength of the quake. He managed to climb on the roof and cover the holes with plastic sheets waiting for it to be repaired hoping the rain announced for Monday evening will not damage the house,

He does not have electricity and no water so no mobile charging possible but his fixed telephone line is working intermittently .

At least he is alive and has some food to last.

He has also a source of fresh water from the side of the mountain 15 minutes walking from home

As there is no electricity impossible to get gasoline from the station pumps nor eating oil. Shops are not open.



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