March 16, 2011

facts on nuclear disasters


click HERE to get facts on the JAPAN EARTHQUAKE, TSUNAMI, NUCLEAR CRISIS of March 2011, with info on damage and destruction, economic impact and links to resources

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A lot of time and effort went into researching this, I would love it if you left a comment and let me know if you'll be using the info somewhere. Thanks!

(scroll down for Japan crisis info)

The United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency has rated the Japan nuclear disaster at 5 out of 7. France’s Nuclear Safety Authority said on March 15 that it was clear Fukushima was now a level 6. 

The 1986 Chernobyl disaster was the only accident to be ranked a 7 as 1,200 tons of graphite and radioactive matter were ejected into the air, polluting land and increasing  cancer rates, according to the World Nuclear Association.

The 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States was rated five.

What is a nuclear meltdown?
Think of the nuclear reactor core as a bigger version of the electrical heating element found in kettles. It usually sits there, covered by water, getting very hot. The water is needed to cool it and to carry the heat away – usually as steam – so it can be used to turn turbines and generate electricity.

Problems arise if the water stops flowing and the core overheats.  In the worst-case scenario, it melts through the bottom of the reactor vessel and onto the floor of the containment vessel. The big fear is that the multiple containment of a molten core might not work, allowing highly toxic metals to burrow into the ground, with serious, long-lasting environmental consequences.
[ BBC ]

Japan's nuclear crisis March 2011

The cooling systems for the six reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi (No.1) plant 250 km north-east of Tokyo were
knocked out by the March 11 tsunami. This led to suspected partial meltdowns; hydrogen explosions and fires have also ripped through the plant. It could take months to bring the reactors under control, and yeats to clean up the toxic mess.

March 27: Confusion over extent of radiation leak. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power initially said radiation levels were 10 million times higher than normal. It later retracted the statement and said airborne radiation levels near reactor No. 2 were more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, four times the limit the government deems is safe. A single dose of 1,000 millisieverts can cause temporary radiation sickness, including nausea and vomiting. An exposure of 100 millisieverts per year is considered the lowest level at which an increase in cancer risk is evident. Several hundred metres offshore, levels of radioactive iodine some 1,850 times the legal limit were reported on March 27 but officials ruled out an immediate threat to marine life and seafood safety.

Food: Radioactive vapour seeping from the plant has contaminated tap water and farm produce in the region, leading the United States, European Union, China and many other countries to stop the import of Japanese food. As of late March 26, some 99 products, including milk and vegetables, had been found to be contaminated in Tokyo and five prefectures to its north and east, according to the Health Ministry.

March 23: The Japanese government says radioactive iodine exceeding the level considered safe for infants has been detected in Tokyo’s tap water. Radiation has already seeped into vegetables, raw milk, the water supply and even seawater in areas surrounding the plant, with radioactivity drastically exceeding legal limits found in more than 10 kinds of vegetable grown in Fukushima.

March 20: Engineers are fighting to lower rising temperatures at the plant. The radiation-suited crews managed to restore power to the ageing facility by reconnecting the No. 2 reactor to the national power grid, crucial to efforts to cool it down and limit radiation leak. They are also pumping seawater to cool the overheating reactors and replenish bubbling and depleted pools for spent nuclear fuel.

March 19: Traces of radiation first detected in spinach and milk from farms 30-120 km (20-75 miles) from the nuclear plant. Radiation also found further away in tap water, rain and even dust. In all cases, the government said the radiation levels were too small to pose an immediate risk to health. Radiation also detected in eastern Russia but at levels that pose no risk to humans, according to Austria’s Meteorological and Geophysics Center.

March 15: Radiation levels near the Fukushima Dai-ichi (No.1) plant 250 km north-east of Tokyo, ranged from 30 to 400 millisieverts in the morning. A single dose of 1,000 millisieverts – or one sievert – causes temporary radiation sickness such as nausea and vomiting.

More than 60 Japanese sites post radiation levels from around the country, while private companies have set up their own monitoring to keep employees and the public updated. Readings in Tokyo soared 21-fold to as much as 0.809 microsieverts an hour  on March 15, compared with 0.0338 microsieverts before the quake, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health. That’s still less than 1/100th of the radiation dose from a single chest X-ray.
[ Bloomberg ]

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related posts
* FACTS: Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011
* Damage caused by Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis 2011
* Economic impact of Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis 2011
* facts on earthquakes
* facts on tsunamis
* Japan earthquake, tsunami: How to help
Sources for the full post on facts about the Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011: Washington Post, CNN, Bloomberg, Ottawa Citizen, National Geographic, Reuters, BBC, buzzle, Wikipedia, USGS, Scolastic

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Related links

Buy 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake: 100% of procceds go to the Japanese Red Cross Society
Google Person Finder 2011 Japan Earthquake (you can use this to locate or provide info about a victim)
Volunteer interpreters (Japan Association of Translators) 
Donate with PayPal: Japan earthquake and tsunami relief
Yahoo! link to where you can donate: Japan earthquake and tsunami: How to help
Japan earthquake tsunami: How to help ~ liberal sprinkles (links to resources, places to donate, raffles and giveaways)

How to protect yourself in an earthquake and emergency numbers for Japan (in 24 languages)
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Earthquake in Japan (The Atlantic)
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BBC Japan earthquake portal 
Timeline on Japan's unfolding nuclear crisis (Reuters)
Updates on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (The Lede, NY Times)  lots of videos, also of tsunami hitting US
video: Japan tsunami engulfs everything in its path (Daily Telegraph)
Magnitude 8.9 Near the East Coast of Japan, USGS podcast 
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Japan markets and economy after Kobe earthquake (Reuters)
Advanced economies at advantage in disaster (Reuters via The Montreal Gazette)

facts, info, videos on tsunamis (National Geographic)
USGS earthquake FAQ
earthquake and tsunami facts (MCEER, SUNY Buffalo)
seismicity in Japan (wikipedia)
for kids
Fema for kids: tsunamis
(USGS) Earthquake for kids
Geology - Plate tectonics (Yahoo! kids)
Talking to your child about the earthquake in Japan ( Kid's doctor)


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