Sunday, March 13, 2011

News and Photos of Japanese destruction

The news and photos out of Japan are incredibly powerful.  Here's a bit of what I've found:

The site fades in and out and I'm guessing it is due to massive traffic to the site. The photos are stunning. Here's a few samples:

While I have not heard anyone separate the damage between the two events it appears the tsunami did more damage. I was watching CNN a few minutes ago and the official body count is approximately 1,600 but they have just found another 2,000 bodies so I'm certain the toll will rise as the days progress.


Keeping up to date:  There are some English based news sources in Japan
On Twitter: - Voice of America reporter on the ground.

Nuclear power plant situation:  This is an ongoing event and so separating the facts from rumor or speculation is a challenge.  What we know right now is there have been explosions at  Fukushima Daiichi plants #1 & #3.  Before you panic it appears this was due to the venting of hydrogen from the inner core which mixed with oxygen and exploded.   When the earthquake hit the nuclear power plants immediately shut down by dropping their control rods.  The problems started when the backup generators failed due to the tsunami and could no longer run the pumps cooling the reactor cores.  (Even after a shutdown there is a massive amount of residual heat which must be shunted away from the core)  In an attempt to prevent the central core from breaching they vented gas to bring the pressure down and release heat which then released the hydrogen and it blew off the exterior structure.  

 So far it appears the main central core which actually holds the fissable material is still intact.  Fortunately the prevailing winds are blowing any radioactive gas east offshore and into the ocean.  Right now they are flooding #1 reactor with seawater and boric acid to cool the reactor.

I have simplified this description a bit but if you want the technical details I suggest you go to:
which has quite a bit of technical information and a continuing discussion of the ramifications.

I'm not making any predictions as to what happens but the central core appears to be still intact and considering what is has been through is actually pretty impressive.  They still need to cool both cores and keep them from breaching. I'll be watching this closely over the next few days.

Update: Here's a video of plant #3 exploding

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