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Archive for March 15th, 2011

Japan Megaquake Tragedy: A Silver Lining?

Posted by feww on March 15, 2011

Germany to  shut down all seven of its older nuclear power plants

German government has announced that it will shut down all seven of its nuclear power plants that were commissioned before 1980 for at least three months, a report said.

The 3rd explosion at Fukushima NPP.  Freeze frame from an NTV news clip. Image may be subject to copyright.

It’s unclear whether they will ever operate again in view of Japan’s nuclear crisis.

Chancellor Merkel has announced a nuclear policy moratorium, prompted by Japan’s unfolding nuclear disaster,  under which only the 10 newer nuclear stations will continue generating electricity, the report said.

“Power plants that went into operation before the end of 1980 will … be shut down for the period of the moratorium,” Merkel told a news conference. More …

As Japan’s government declares that the radiation has reached ‘harmful levels,’ the question arises:

Will Japan’s megaquake finally drive the international atomic energy mafia clan out of business?

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Severe US Rain Storm – TRMM Rainmap

Posted by feww on March 15, 2011

Severe US Storm Dumped more than 300 mm of Rain over Alabama and Mississippi

The heavy rain storm spawned tornadoes and thunderstorms. Much of the eastern United States received rainfall totals of at least 50 mm.

The massive rain storm stretched from New York to Florida last week, dumping record rainfall.  NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite measured that rainfall from space, shown in the above “rain map” produced by NASA.

Download larger image
(9 MB, JPEG)  — acquired March 12, 2011. Click images to enlarge.

Download larger image
(12 MB, JPEG)  —  acquired February 12, 2011

NWS reported major flooding in Grand Chain, Illinois, and moderate flooding in Cairo, Illinois, and Paducah, Kentucky earlier, in March. MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired the top image on March 12, 2011, and the bottom image on February 12, 2011. Snow cover is blue-green. Note the absence of snow from the top image. Source: NASA-EO.

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Posted by feww on March 15, 2011



A fire has broken out at the No. 4 Reactor at Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant and radiation levels are rising considerably as a result of a leak, Japanese PM Naoto Kan has just announced.

Mr Kan has advised people within the 30-km of the doomed nuclear power plant to stay indoors and await further instructions.

He has also asked anyone who has not already been evacuated from the 20-km radius of the two nuclear plants to leave the danger zone.

“I sincerely ask all citizens within the 20-km distance from the reactor to leave this zone,” he said in a televised bulletin.

The fire was reportedly caused by an explosion near a containment pool where spent fuel rods were kept.

Japanese govt has imposed a 30-km NO-FLY ZONE over the doomed Fukushima NPP.

Radiation Reports Tuesday

  • About 400 milisievert detected near Fukushima NPP No1 reactor
  • 100 milisivert near No 4 reactor
  • 30 milisievert near No 2 and 3 reactors

Note: Exposure to 400 milisievert over a 1.5 to 2-hr period burns the skin and makes the victim very sick.

In Tokyo up 20 times the amount of background radiation was detected, though the elevated amount is not believed to cause any harm to humans.

Above background radiation have also been detected in all surrounding and nearby prefectures.


Another explosion at No. 2 Reactor rocked the Fukushima Daiichi plant Tuesday

The latest explosion occurred at reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, as engineers were trying to pump sea water into the three partially destroyed reactors.

The radiation reading at 8:31am (JST) had climbed to 8,217 microsievert per hour from a previous level of 1,941 microsievert half an hour earlier earlier, TEPCO the plant operators said. The background radiation to which people are exposed to is about 1,000 to 2,400  microsievert per year.

The No.3 nuclear reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant at Minamisoma continues to burn after an explosion that occurred at  11:01 on Monday March 14, following the Sendai Megaquake and tsunami. Handout satellite image taken by Digital Globe/via Reuters.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plants are located  about 240km (150 miles) north-east of Japan capital city, Tokyo.

Meanwhile, the U.S. 7th Fleet, operating about 160km (100miles) northeast of the nuclear plants, moved away its ships and aircraft carriers after detecting radioactive contamination on aircraft operating in the area.

Low levels of radiation were found on 17 air crew members, operating in three helicopters, when they returned to the USS Ronald Reagan, reports say.

The nuclear began after a 9.0Mw Megaquake followed by a deadly tsunami struck the eastern coast of Japan’s main island of Honshu Friday.

Up to 200,000 people have so far been evacuated from a 20-km radii of both Fukushima Plants Nos. 1 and 2. The quake and tsunami has left about 550,000 people homeless, as millions of people endure their fourth day without water, food, gas, fuel, electricity and adequate clothing in freezing temperatures.

Petrol has been rationed throughout the country.  Our colleagues in different Japan were only allowed to buy only 10 liters of gasoline this morning.

The mounting death toll stands at 2,000 to more than 10,000 depending on the source of different reports.

The Sendai Megaquake is now officially the world’s 4th strongest quake since 1900, and Japan’s largest recorded shock since records began 140 years ago.

Explosions Timline:

  • The first explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant occurred at 3:45.45 pm on Saturday, March 12, 2011
  • The Second explosion occurred at reactor 3 at 11:01 on Monday, March 14.
  • The third explosion occurred at reactor 2  just after 6:13 am on Tuesday March 15.

Japan has 55 nuclear reactors, 14 of which are in the quake and tsunami-hit areas.

Japanese govt has reportedly distributed about a quarter of a million units of stable iodine to evacuation centers near the damaged nuclear plants, as a precautionary measure. Iodine can help protect against thyroid cancer if a person is is exposed to low-levels of radiation.

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Tsunami Damage at Ishinomaki, Japan – Satellite Images

Posted by feww on March 15, 2011

Tsunami-hit Ishinomaki: Total Destruction

Click here to download larger image
(3 MB, JPEG) —  acquired March 14, 2011

Click here to download larger  image
(4 MB, JPEG)  —  acquired August 8, 2008

City of Ishinomaki was one of the worst hit areas when the deadly tsunami struck on March 11, 2011. The two false color images above were taken by ASTER on NASA’s Terra satellite, the top image on March 14, the lower image on August 8, 2008 (included for comparison). Source: NASA-EO. Click images to enlarge.

NASA’s MISR Images Tsunami Flooding Along Japan’s Eastern Coast of Honshu

Annotated Image. Click to enlarge.

Original Caption: The extent of inundation from the destructive and deadly tsunami triggered by the March 11, 2011, magnitude [9.0] earthquake centered off Japan’s northeastern coast about 130 kilometers (82 miles) east of the city of Sendai is revealed in this image pair from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft. The new image, shown on the right, was acquired at 10:30 a.m. local time (01:30 UTC) on March 12, 2011 during Terra orbit 59731. For comparison, a MISR image from March 16, 2001, acquired under nearly identical illumination conditions during Terra orbit 6607, is shown on the left.

From top to bottom, each image extends from just north of the Abukuma River (which is about 21 kilometers, or 13 miles, south of Sendai) to south of the town of Minamisoma (population 71,000, located in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture about 70 kilometers, or 44 miles, south of Sendai), and covers an area of 78 kilometers (48 miles) by 104 kilometers (65 miles). Flooding extending more than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) inland from the eastern shoreline is visible in the post-earthquake image. The white sand beaches visible in the pre-earthquake view are now covered by water and can no longer be seen. Among the locations where severe flooding is visible is the area around Matsukawa-ura Bay, located just north and east of the image center.

These unique images enhance the presence of water in two ways. First, their near-infrared observations cause vegetated areas to appear red, which contrasts strongly with water. Second, by combining nadir (vertical-viewing) imagery with observations acquired at a view angle of 26 degrees, reflected sunglint enhances the brightness of water, which is shown in shades of blue. This use of observations at different view angles causes a stereoscopic effect, where elevated clouds have a yellow tinge at their top edges and blue tinge at their bottom edges.

Image Credit:NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team

Other NASA images of the Megaquake and Tsunami-hit Honshu Coast

Posted in environment, japan earthquake, Japan Earthquakes 2011, Japan tsunami, sendai tsunami | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »