Americas get off light in tsunami impact

posted at 9:35 am on March 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

After the massive quake in Japan yesterday, Pacific Ocean nations braced for the impact of potentially catastrophic tsunamis created by the 8.9-level initial shock and the large aftershocks that continue in the region.  Countries began evacuating coastal areas and warned citizens not to venture near beaches.  Fortunately, the damage and loss of life were limited, although tsunamis and flooding occurred as far south as Chile:

Despite the power of Japan’s biggest-ever quake that killed at least 1,300 people, the tsunami waves were relatively benign as they rolled into the Americas, causing only isolated flooding, and fears of a catastrophe proved unfounded.

The tsunami swept past Chile’s remote Easter Island in the South Pacific, generating swells but no major waves, and there was little impact when they made landfall on Chile’s coast.

But the sea later flooded as far as 330 feet inland in Dichato and Talcahuano, some 310 miles south of the capital Santiago and near the epicenter of the massive 8.8 magnitude quake that struck Chile in February 2010.

In the US, the damage was limited to the coast, as boats were smashed and docks damaged.  One man is still missing:

About 35 boats and most of the harbor docks were damaged in Crescent City near the California border with Oregon, where waves were more than 6 feet. Santa Cruz south of San Francisco sustained about $2 million in damages to docks and vessels, emergency management officials said.

Rescue services were searching for a 25-year-old man who was swept out to sea while standing on a sandbar at the mouth of the Klamath River in California.

The port of Brookings-Harbor, the busiest recreation port on the Oregon coast, was largely destroyed, said operations manager Chris Cantwell. “Right now we are in the middle of a big mess,” he said. “The surge pulled some (boats) out to sea, about a dozen sank and we’ve got boats everywhere sitting on top of one another and all over the place.”

However, Japan faces much more dire consequences, and the tsunamis are secondary at the moment.  Thanks to the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, authorities will now distribute iodine to people in the vicinity of nuclear power plants to counteract potential radiation poisoning:

Japanese authorities have told the U.N.’s atomic watchdog they are making preparations to distribute iodine to people living near nuclear power plants affected by Friday’s earthquake, the Vienna-based agency said.

Iodine can be used to help protect the body from radioactive exposure.

In Japan on Saturday, radiation leaked from a damaged nuclear reactor after an explosion blew the roof off in the wake of the massive earthquake, but the government insisted that radiation levels were low.

Fortunately, the explosion did not expose the core:

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said there had been no major change in the level of radiation after the explosion because it did not occur inside the reactor container.

“The nuclear reaction facility is surrounded by a steel storage machine, which is then surrounded by a concrete building. This concrete building collapsed. We learnt that the storage machine inside did not explode,” he told a news conference.

Edano initially said an evacuation radius of 10 km (6 miles) from the stricken 40-year-old Daiichi 1 reactor plant in Fukushima prefecture was adequate, but then an hour later the boundary was extended to 20 km (13 miles). TV footage showed vapor rising from the plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

We were very fortunate, but we should remember those who weren’t.  The Salvation Army has already begun operations in Japan to provide assistance to the displaced.  Be generous.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Who is coordinating food relief?

OmahaConservative on March 12, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Another aftershock hits Tokyo and other surrounding areas.

amerpundit on March 12, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Who is coordinating food relief?

OmahaConservative on March 12, 2011 at 9:38 AM

I hope its not FEMA…

PatriotRider on March 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM

I’m not a nuclear guy, but I did serve on a CGN, so I’m a little familiar with some of the process and terms. What I’m wondering is that when the problems started, why didn’t they SCRAM the reactor, or drop the cores out to shut it down?

The term stood for Safety Cut Rope Axe Man, from back in the early days; they used a rope to raise the rods and start the reaction. In the event of a problem, there was a guy standing by with an axe to cut the rope, drop the core out, thus shutting it down. It’s done mechanically now, so I can only suspect the quake did damage to that system, maybe binding things up or something?

JamesLee on March 12, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Wow! Words can’t describe. So very tragic.

kringeesmom on March 12, 2011 at 9:44 AM

We were very fortunate, but we should remember those who weren’t. The Salvation Army has already begun operations in Japan to provide assistance to the displaced. Be generous.

Here is where my dollars are going.

OmahaConservative on March 12, 2011 at 9:46 AM

“The nuclear reaction facility is surrounded by a steel storage machine, which is then surrounded by a concrete building. This concrete building collapsed. We learnt that the storage machine inside did not explode,” he told a news conference.

H2 accumulation will do that I’m curious what system was in place to handle it, or if H2 production exceeded the expectations. This is what the greenies what to replace gas with.

whbates on March 12, 2011 at 9:47 AM

I hope its not FEMA…

PatriotRider on March 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Ray Nagin, the ex-mayor of New Orleans and Gov. Kathleen Blanco are on their way now. If anyone knows how to manage a major crisis it is those two.

kringeesmom on March 12, 2011 at 9:48 AM

More aftershocks. The Voice of America correspondent says they’re becoming more frequent.

amerpundit on March 12, 2011 at 9:48 AM

amerpundit on March 12, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Rick Reichmuth said 154 since the 8.9.

OmahaConservative on March 12, 2011 at 9:50 AM

kringeesmom on March 12, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Maybe 0bama can pony up his stockpile of Wagyu Beef and some of Moochelle’s lead-laden veggies?
/

OmahaConservative on March 12, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Leave it to a tool like Chris “Tingles” Matthews to take the tragedy that has happened in Japan and to spin it around The Wonder That Is Obama!

pilamaye on March 12, 2011 at 9:51 AM

What I’m wondering is that when the problems started, why didn’t they SCRAM the reactor, or drop the cores out to shut it down?

They did, the reactors shut down (all rods indicated inserted immediately after the incident), it was the decay heat removal that seems to be the problem.

whbates on March 12, 2011 at 9:52 AM

What time is obama teeing off?

winston on March 12, 2011 at 9:52 AM

I hope its not FEMA…

PatriotRider on March 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM

FNC trotted out Brownie for his insight yesterday

darwin-t on March 12, 2011 at 9:53 AM

OmahaConservative on March 12, 2011 at 9:50 AM

And 25 of those were greater than a 6, with a 7.1 thrown in.

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 9:54 AM

JamesLee on March 12, 2011 at 9:44 AM

They DID shut down the reactors. They shut down automatically. The problem was the heat, which they couldn’t control because the cooling systems couldn’t powered (generators died).

amerpundit on March 12, 2011 at 9:54 AM

They did, the reactors shut down (all rods indicated inserted immediately after the incident), it was the decay heat removal that seems to be the problem.

Ahh, OK. Sort of like after shutting down your car after a long drive, the block will actually get a little hotter because the coolant isn’t circulating then. Except on a much more massive scale.

That makes sense then, the temps those things run, it would take a long time to cool things off. Thanks!

JamesLee on March 12, 2011 at 9:55 AM

My friends daughter lives in Cresent City. Here is a video of the tsunami hitting the shore. The vantage point of this video is from a cliff overlooking the shoreline.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3AFnbkLmiI

milwife88 on March 12, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Map.

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 9:56 AM

JamesLee on March 12, 2011 at 9:44 AM

It seems they did SCRAM the reactors, but they couldn’t keep the cooling water circulating – the heat build-up from the residual and ongoing slower reactions built up and may have melted the cores, further restricting coolant flow and diminishing the rod’s ability to moderate the reactions. Both of those create a vicious cycle of more heat and more melting. Plus explosive gasses (hydrogen) – which may be what they were venting.

Same thing happened at Three-Mile island, except that was human error.

JeffWeimer on March 12, 2011 at 10:01 AM

JeffWeimer on March 12, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Thanks, Jeff. Seems my limited understanding of things and a little familiarity with the terms gave me just enough info to ask dopey questions! ;)

JamesLee on March 12, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Maybe 0bama can pony up his stockpile of Wagyu Beef and some of Moochelle’s lead-laden veggies?
/

OmahaConservative on March 12, 2011 at 9:51 AM

I thought you were supposed to wear the lead not eat it!… Don’t think they need any Wagyu in Japan, they have Kobe. Maybe they should fly in the pizza guy?

kringeesmom on March 12, 2011 at 10:06 AM

No repeat of Chernobyl disaster for Japan: experts

By Elizabeth Piper

BRUSSELS | Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:47am EST

(Reuters) – Japan should not expect a repeat of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster after an explosion blew the roof off one of its nuclear power plants that had been shaken in a huge earthquake, experts said on Saturday.

Japan’s Daiichi 1 reactor north of the capital Tokyo began leaking radiation after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami, and swiftly prompted fears of a nuclear meltdown.

But experts said pictures of mist above the plant suggested only small amounts of radiation had been expelled as part of measures to ensure its stability, far from the radioactive clouds that Chernobyl spewed out when it exploded in 1986.

“The explosion at No. 1 generating set of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, which took place today, will not be a repetition of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster,” said Valeriy Hlyhalo, deputy director of the Chernobyl nuclear safety center.

fiatboomer on March 12, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Ed is right about contributing to the Salvation Army. They have low overhead and are on the ground helping. They do a great job in disaster relief. The Red Cross…not so much.

simkeith on March 12, 2011 at 10:09 AM

milwife88 on March 12, 2011 at 9:56 AM

At first it didn’t look like much – then it did! I remember being a kid and reading about the Easter quake in Alaska. The person described trying to escape, in the dark, over rubble, and the waves just kept coming and coming and the water getting higher. Nicely illustrated in the video.

Blake on March 12, 2011 at 10:11 AM

NuclearPhysicist just posted a detailed description of the BWR reactor design and operation over on the meltdown thread. I think it’s specific to the japanese reactors.

gh on March 12, 2011 at 10:16 AM

I guess we’re finding out this was a lot worse than it seemed yesterday. Hard to grasp the power of something that can move an island 8 feet.

scalleywag on March 12, 2011 at 10:19 AM

NuclearPhysicist, gh and OldNuke are giving this a knowledgeable rundown in the other thread. They don’t sound nearly so panicky because they are, er, knowledgeable.

pugwriter on March 12, 2011 at 10:23 AM

NuclearPhysicist, gh and OldNuke are giving this a knowledgeable rundown in the other thread. They don’t sound nearly so panicky because they are, er, knowledgeable.

pugwriter on March 12, 2011 at 10:23 AM

We’re also a few thousand miles away from it.

Oldnuke on March 12, 2011 at 10:28 AM

The aftershocks were so frequent, you didn’t notice when they stopped. There was a big jolt this morning and a longer, moderate size quake a few hours ago. My suspended ceiling lamp has been swaying all day. Quiet now, though.

Very happy to hear the core wasn’t exposed.

Dongemaharu on March 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I hope our friends on the left coast are taking notes. It has to be just matter of time before that area has another big one.

CWforFreedom on March 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Dongemaharu on March 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Hang in there, good buddy. Prayers continue to ascend for you.

OmahaConservative on March 12, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Was the plant immediately shutdown and is this the kind of reactor with control rods? If so, were they inserted between the fuel rods?

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 10:34 AM

“The explosion at No. 1 generating set of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, which took place today, will not be a repetition of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster,” said Valeriy Hlyhalo, deputy director of the Chernobyl nuclear safety center.

If you sat down with the goal of designing the worst possible way to heat up water, the Chernobyl reactors would be your answer. Efficient in the production of heat, but just dumb in every other way.

I particularly enjoyed their attempt to use liquid sodium as a coolant in another design. And it worked great until it lost all power and the coolant solidified in place. Forever.

BobMbx on March 12, 2011 at 10:36 AM

CWforFreedom on March 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM

San Andreas? Pfffffffttttt……….

Here’s our 9.

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 10:36 AM

nvrmnd about my last post, just read nukephys. post on the other thread… and just a reminder, as I’m sure has been pointed out, nuke reactors can’t create a nuclear explosion. I’m sure someone has already admonished our erstwhile blog hosts for the pic on the other thread.

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 10:39 AM

That last link: PWTC now saying the quake was a 9.1. Up one to #4 on the list of all-time greats. USGS still says 8.9. Factor of two difference in energy.

Purple Fury on March 12, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Rule #1 of nuclear power: Keep the core covered.

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 10:43 AM

They DID shut down the reactors. They shut down automatically. The problem was the heat, which they couldn’t control because the cooling systems couldn’t powered (generators died).

amerpundit on March 12, 2011 at 9:54 AM

That is why we have EMERGENCY DIESEL GENERATORS onboard US Navy ships… Start them up, make your own power, cut them in and keep the water flow moving…

Kind of simple, really… Safety redundancy…

Khun Joe on March 12, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Off Twitter:

3 civilians in Fukushima w- radiation poisoning. Were outside awaiting rescue nr plant at time of explosion – NHK

NEWS ADVISORY: 3 evacuees from area near Fukushima nuke plant exposed to radiation

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/

Purple Fury on March 12, 2011 at 10:45 AM

NuclearPhysicist, gh and OldNuke are giving this a knowledgeable rundown in the other thread. They don’t sound nearly so panicky because they are, er, knowledgeable.

pugwriter on March 12, 2011 at 10:23 AM

We’re also a few thousand miles away from it.

Oldnuke on March 12, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Understood, but the Japanese media seems remarkably calm as well.

pugwriter on March 12, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Dongemaharu on March 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Hang in there, good buddy. Prayers continue to ascend for you.

OmahaConservative on March 12, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Thank you. I consider myself very lucky though, compared to a lot of other people here. Even in my building, almost every apartment got flooded from broken plumbing and busted water heaters, but my apartment was spared.

I really feel bad for Fukushima. It’ll take a long time for the prefecture to recover.

Been thinking about Kurosawa’s Dreams sequence when the Mt.Fuji reactor explodes. It’s a dream, so the effects are exaggerated, but the dialog is very chilling in light of recent events.

Dongemaharu on March 12, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Of course, “radiation poisoning” =/= “exposed to radiation”, so who the hell knows.

Purple Fury on March 12, 2011 at 10:47 AM

They DID shut down the reactors. They shut down automatically. The problem was the heat, which they couldn’t control because the cooling systems couldn’t powered (generators died).

amerpundit on March 12, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Did they say what caused the generators to die? Sounds like someone may have been gundecking PMS

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 10:47 AM

I’m sure someone has already admonished our erstwhile blog hosts for the pic on the other thread.

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 10:39 AM

I gotta say, that really bugged me too.

Dongemaharu on March 12, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Oldnuke on March 12, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Understood, but the Japanese media seems remarkably calm as well.

pugwriter on March 12, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Re., the the reactor issue, not the quake(s) and tsunami. Though it could be a cultural difference in which they’d remain calm at the gates of hell and our media freaks out when rain comes to Southern California.

pugwriter on March 12, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I wrote this in the other thread, but I think that it’s worth repeating here.

BWRs have a reactor vessel surrounded by a steel containment vessel which is surrounded by a building. Without power to drive the emergency core cooling system pumps, they were cooling the reactor by venting steam from the reactor into the steel containment vessel. Once pressure gets too high in this vessel, a rupture disk opens, venting steam directly into the building. Since this building is not designed to handle any significant level of pressure, it would rapidly fail. This is what we saw in the “explosion.” All boiler vessels have a relief valve that opens to prevent failure of the vessel. Since the radiation levels are still low, this means that the nuclear fuel integrity has not been significantly compromised. Water/steam in a BWR is normally mildly radioactive, due to pinhole fuel failures that develop during normal operations. So, the existence of low levels of radioactive fission products would be expected for a steam venting event. As long as they can keep the reactor core covered with water, the fuel rods should maintain most of their integrity, so radiation leaks should remain low. Giving potassium iodide to the local residents is simply a precaution that prevents any significant uptake of radioactive iodine, if a more significant fuel failure were to occur. The critical time period for an event like this is the first several hours. After that, outside power and coolant can be brought in to ensure that the reactor core remains covered. Bottom line…if we haven’t seen large releases of radioactive fission products by now, it is unlikely that we will.

I’m a little disappointed that the Japanese nuclear plant operators haven’t provided a knowledgeable PR group to make sure that speculation and anti-nuke drivel aren’t taking control of the news cycle. There seems to be a lot of misinformation flowing right now.

NuclearPhysicist on March 12, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Has anyone else heard about Japan moving upwards of 8 feet because of this?

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I’m a little disappointed that the Japanese nuclear plant operators haven’t provided a knowledgeable PR group to make sure that speculation and anti-nuke drivel aren’t taking control of the news cycle. There seems to be a lot of misinformation flowing right now.

NuclearPhysicist on March 12, 2011 at 10:49 AM

I agree, even foxnews is buying into the hysteria. There goes new nuclear power plants in the U.S. for another couple generations.

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Has anyone else heard about Japan moving upwards of 8 feet because of this?

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I did. I also heard that the axis of the earth (!!) shifted ~10 inches?…wow

ted c on March 12, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Though it could be a cultural difference in which they’d remain calm at the gates of hell and our media freaks out when rain comes to Southern California.

pugwriter on March 12, 2011 at 10:48 AM

They are waiting for instructions from our dear leader on how to play this….

theaddora on March 12, 2011 at 10:55 AM

I gotta say, that really bugged me too.

Dongemaharu on March 12, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I cringed a bit when AP put that mushroom cloud up, however, metaphors occasionally clash with reality or vice versa. Today is one of those times.

ted c on March 12, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Yes, America got off light with this. Praise God for that.

And yet we still had a few Californians swept out to sea when they went to “watch the big wave”. So far, all but one have been rescued (he died). As usual, most of America’s problems are self-inflicted.

Squiggy on March 12, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Already made my donation to the Salvation Army. My grandmother always insisted on contributing to them and NOT the Red Cross. WWII era folks all seem to have some sort of beef with the Red Cross. In any event, she’s trained me well. My relief donations always go to the Salvation Army.

NoLeftTurn on March 12, 2011 at 10:57 AM

The real scary part; the Northwest Pacific Rim has a fault line similar to Japans, and is reportedly “in the time window” of having a similar eruption of plates. When you folks visit the new Pacific Ocean shoreline, (somewhere just below the Siskiyou Mountain Range), be sure to throw some flowers in on an outgoing tide, where I’ll be with Davy Jones…….

Rovin on March 12, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Has anyone else heard about Japan moving upwards of 8 feet because of this?

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Yep, via CNN website. Measured via GPS.

Purple Fury on March 12, 2011 at 11:01 AM

The real scary part; the Northwest Pacific Rim has a fault line similar to Japans, and is reportedly “in the time window” of having a similar eruption of plates. When you folks visit the new Pacific Ocean shoreline, (somewhere just below the Siskiyou Mountain Range), be sure to throw some flowers in on an outgoing tide, where I’ll be with Davy Jones…….

Rovin on March 12, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Wait til the Yellowstone caldera blows (it’s about due). It’ll make this earth quake look like hiccup.

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 11:01 AM

These reactor facilities seem to have one major “design flaw.”
The genius that did their “failure analysis” seemed to overlook the fact the large earthquakes are often accompanied by a tsunami.
From the TV images and pictures, these nuclear facilities appear to be built on a rising bank on the side of a river not far from the ocean. It appears from the stories that the backup generators were disabled by water damage, that the backup generators are near the bottom of the river bank .. a perfect place for a tsunami to disable them.

Keep in mind that Japan has more than 2 nuclear plants with 5 nuclear reactors. In fact, there are 17 operating nuclear power plants with 55 reactors in Japan. Most behaved properly in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

J_Crater on March 12, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Rovin on March 12, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Make sure you have quality booze standing by.

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Did they say what caused the generators to die? Sounds like someone may have been gundecking PMS

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 10:47 AM

That, my friends, is the million dollar question. And as soon as the post-event inquiry begins at these facilities, my guess is the nuke plant operators here in the US will be focused on the design discussions. Mainly to see if their plants are susceptible to the same chain of events.

How are your fault tree skills, Oldnuke?

BobMbx on March 12, 2011 at 11:03 AM

It is difficult to believe what is being giving to the press if you know about TEPCO’s checkered past.

nor on March 12, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Wait til the Yellowstone caldera blows (it’s about due). It’ll make this earth quake look like hiccup.

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 11:01 AM

This is irrelevant. There won’t be anybody left to be amazed at the size of the explosion.

BobMbx on March 12, 2011 at 11:05 AM

It is difficult to believe what is being giving to the press if you know about TEPCO’s checkered past.

nor on March 12, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Human error, surprise, surprise.

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 11:07 AM

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Gundecked PMS?

Say it ain’t so!

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Earth vs. Man = Earth wins. Just a friendly reminder that Man really isn’t in charge of the planet.

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 11:08 AM

I hope its not FEMA…

PatriotRider on March 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM

One more time at setting the record straight. FEMA is the money bags they are not local area coordinators. The failure in New Orleans was not FEMA it was the local area coordinators.

chemman on March 12, 2011 at 11:09 AM

I’m a little disappointed that the Japanese nuclear plant operators haven’t provided a knowledgeable PR group to make sure that speculation and anti-nuke drivel aren’t taking control of the news cycle. There seems to be a lot of misinformation flowing right now.

NuclearPhysicist on March 12, 2011 at 10:49 AM

The entire scenario would play out differently here. Our Plants have an ER group specifically setup to handle this very thing, and all local and state EP organizations would be front and center. But remember different doesn’t mean better and they have a ton of other things going on at the same time.

whbates on March 12, 2011 at 11:09 AM

pugwriter on March 12, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I’ve had it. I’ve turned off all news reports. They’re moving on over into hysteria land and I don’t need to listen to that crap. I’ll find out what happened when the dust clears. One thing for sure the folks at my old plant will definitely be getting first hand copies of after action reports from Japan. I’ll just wait till they start coming through and hit a couple of my friends up for copies. Screw the media.

Oldnuke on March 12, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Make sure you have quality booze standing by.

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 11:02 AM

What? Should I tie a thirty-year old bottle of scotch to a buoy marked “Rovin was here–help yourself”?

Rovin on March 12, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Wait til the Yellowstone caldera blows (it’s about due). It’ll make this earth quake look like hiccup.

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I remember hearing about the potential damage if that thing blew. Worst case scenario (?)IIRC was that it would decimate 1/3rd of the western US. Ah well.

ted c on March 12, 2011 at 11:10 AM

It is difficult to believe what is being giving to the press if you know about TEPCO’s checkered past.

nor on March 12, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Sure, TEPCO is going to intentionally mislead the public, emergency responders, and JSDF with the entire world news media, IAEA, and God knows who else up in their drawers. They DO have a “checkered past,” so to speak, but I don’t think they’re BSing anyone now.

fiatboomer on March 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM

J.O.: “Chief, did we complete the greasing and operational test on the anchor?”

Chief: “Yes sir, completed with no problems.”

Capt: “Drop anchor.”

J.O.: “Captain, for some reason the anchor won’t payout.”

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Dongemaharu on March 12, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Our hearts go out you and yours, Dongemaharu. Are you able to locate your loved ones. Are they okay?

petefrt on March 12, 2011 at 11:12 AM

I remember hearing about the potential damage if that thing blew. Worst case scenario (?)IIRC was that it would decimate 1/3rd of the western US. Ah well.

ted c on March 12, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Bottom line for east coasters: get your spare bedrooms ready for a visit from your west coast friends, assuming that the caldera provides sufficient warning.

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Rovin on March 12, 2011 at 11:10 AM

You’ll have a few minutes before ol’ Davey comes to get you.

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM

The containment building that exploded appears to be Fukushima I. Fukushima I is the first nuclear plant to be constructed and run entirely by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and is the smallest Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) of the 6 units at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.
There are 3 different nuclear facilities in Fukushima Prefecture, with a total of 17 reactor units. All are owned by TEPCO.

J_Crater on March 12, 2011 at 11:16 AM

CWforFreedom on March 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I also suggest that any of our friends in the New Madrid Fault Zone take notes also. At least the left coast has stringent Earth Quake building standards not so for NMFZ.

chemman on March 12, 2011 at 11:16 AM

I suspect that this event will result in close examination of the backup generators at all nuclear power plants. When you lose off-site power (almost a given for a major earthquake), these generators are the only means of making sure that the heat from decay of fission products in the reactor fuel is removed by the emergency core cooling systems. As we’ve seen from the Japanese earthquake, unless you ensure that these generators and their transmission systems will survive and remain operational for the environments that will exist during and after the earthquake, you are forced to use methods of heat removal that are not optimal and that risk significant degradation of the reactor fuel integrity.

NuclearPhysicist on March 12, 2011 at 11:18 AM

But what will Tom Friedman say?

China to promote nuclear power despite explosion at Japan site

fiatboomer on March 12, 2011 at 11:18 AM

That is why we have EMERGENCY DIESEL GENERATORS onboard US Navy ships… Start them up, make your own power, cut them in and keep the water flow moving…

Kind of simple, really… Safety redundancy…

Khun Joe on March 12, 2011 at 10:43 AM

They had Emergency Diesel Generators, which for whatever reason failed as well. The recap of the event will be educational to say the least. It appears all trains failed simultaneously.

whbates on March 12, 2011 at 11:22 AM

How are your fault tree skills, Oldnuke?

BobMbx on March 12, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Pretty rusty considering it’s been about 13 years or so since I actually had to do one. But I could probably “Nuke” my way through one. I always hated FR-H1 though which is what they’ll be in now or it’s equivalent in Japan.

Oldnuke on March 12, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Just heard on Cavutos show:

190 people with radiation sickness?

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 11:36 AM

What time is obama teeing off?

winston on March 12, 2011 at 9:52 AM

His major accomplishment this week was meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks and getting a #44 jersey with his name on it. They also gave him a small replica of the Stanley Cup, and he complained that it was kind of small. Jackass.

slickwillie2001 on March 12, 2011 at 11:37 AM

NuclearPhysicist on March 12, 2011 at 11:18 AM

You’re right about this. I can see it coming down the pike.

I suspect that this event will result in close examination of the backup generators at all nuclear power plants.

Not so right about this, at least for a PWR.

When you lose off-site power (almost a given for a major earthquake), these generators are the only means of making sure that the heat from decay of fission products in the reactor fuel is removed by the emergency core cooling systems.

We had steam driven emergency feed pumps that I could operate and control manually with a total loss of power. I had a dedicated emergency feed tank with lots of water and even the capability to take a suction on a huge lake for feed if needed. That coupled with the design capability to establish and maintain a natural circulation condition in the reactor coolant system. I could have removed decay heat from our reactors for a long time with a total loss of power. I could have cooled the plant down if needed, but most likely scenario would have been to maintain mode 4 with coolant temperature between 250 deg F and 340 deg F until we could restore power to at least one emergency bus and get our safety systems back. Just need a couple of operators stationed around the plant and some way to talk to them. We even had sound powered phones if we couldn’t charge the batteries of our radios.

Oldnuke on March 12, 2011 at 11:37 AM

NuclearPhysicist on March 12, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Oh one other thing, there will be a complete re-evaluation of the earthquake analysis for all domestic nukes too. You can bet on that.

Oldnuke on March 12, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Just heard on Cavutos show:

190 people with radiation sickness?

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Seems a little early for that? Haven’t heard about that kind of release. Were these plant people?

whbates on March 12, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Oldnuke on March 12, 2011 at 11:37 AM

I forgot that some nuke plants are able to rely on steam-driven pumps, but many don’t. Obviously, the Japanese plants didn’t have this capability. Those that rely solely on diesel generators are probably already starting to gear up for a critical evaluation of their response to large seismic events.

NuclearPhysicist on March 12, 2011 at 11:55 AM

I’ve had enough fun for now. I’ve gotta go, I’ll check back with you guys later and try to catch up. I’m getting more depressed as the day goes on.

Oldnuke on March 12, 2011 at 11:58 AM

But what will Tom Friedman say?

China to promote nuclear power despite explosion at Japan site

fiatboomer on March 12, 2011 at 11:18 AM

it is easier to be president of china and all….

ted c on March 12, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Dongemaharu on March 12, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Our hearts go out you and yours, Dongemaharu. Are you able to locate your loved ones. Are they okay?

petefrt on March 12, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Most everyone I know lives in the southern Kanto area around Tokyo – Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa. Although my friend’s family is in Tochigi which borders Fukushima.

Dongemaharu on March 12, 2011 at 12:03 PM

San Andreas? Pfffffffttttt……….

Here’s our 9.

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Yep.

The major potentials are as indicated in other posts above: the San Andreas, the New Madrid, and the Juan de Fuca plate.

The San Andres, in the locked area from San Francisco area and northward, is overdue but will be a strike-slip movement for the most part. Destruction will be massive, but any generated tsunami will not be as a bad as the magnitude of the rupture would indicate.

The New Madrid has been restless lately but is most likely is reliving stress buildup and might not be ready for a large failure. The problem there is that the system is not exposed and not enough information is available to determine if there is a locked portion that could rupture when some stress is transferred to it from an adjacent quake.

The Juan de Fuca plate is another animal. It’s a subduction plate on the rim of the Pacific Plate. The mechanics of failure are identical to the mega quakes of Japan, New Zealand, Chile and Alaska. It is overdue. Mapping on the coast of the northwest indicates mega quakes associated with it in the past with accompanying huge tsunamis. The generated tsunami associated with a failure on this plate will be ashore in Washington and Oregon only minutes after the inhabitants realize there has been a quake.

This is the one to watch, and fear the most.

Yoop on March 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Has anyone else heard about Japan moving upwards of 8 feet because of this?

BallisticBob on March 12, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I did. I also heard that the axis of the earth (!!) shifted ~10 inches?…wow

ted c on March 12, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Initial indication from the USGS is a movement of 8 feet, but I would expect that to mostly horizontally, not vertically. Will look for confirmation.

The earth’s axis shifted 4 inches (10 cm ), not 10 inches.

Yoop on March 12, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Yoop on March 12, 2011 at 12:34 PM

I’ve noticed that the time delay in live tv reports is a little longer today…

slickwillie2001 on March 12, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Yoop on March 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Fortunately, both OR and WA (and NorCal) coasts are sparsely populated, with high ground either right on the coast or immediately nearby.

Christien on March 12, 2011 at 1:21 PM

One more time at setting the record straight. FEMA is the money bags they are not local area coordinators. The failure in New Orleans was not FEMA it was the local area coordinators.

chemman on March 12, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Except when a Republican named Bush is in the White House. Then it’s all his fault.

/

Del Dolemonte on March 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

BTW, earlier I saw some wild pictures from KITV in Honolulu showing a house on the Kona side of the Big Island that had actually been swept out to sea by the tsunami. So Hawa’i may not have been spared as much as earlier reports indicated.

Del Dolemonte on March 12, 2011 at 1:48 PM

WordsMatter on March 12, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Oh, we must have a Sailor aboard.

JeffWeimer on March 12, 2011 at 1:52 PM

USS Ronald Reagan Sails To Japan

When times are bad, we send our best!

Nearly Nobody on March 12, 2011 at 3:25 PM

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