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Old 2012-02-28, 12:01   Link #2481
TinyRedLeaf
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Japan considered evacuating Tokyo amid nuclear crisis
Quote:
Tokyo (Feb 27, Mon): In the darkest moments of last year's nuclear accident, Japanese leaders did not know the actual extent of damage at the plant and secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo, even as they tried to play down the risks in public, an independent investigation into the accident disclosed today.

The investigation by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, a new private-policy organisation, offers one of the most vivid accounts yet of how Japan teetered on the edge of a nuclear crisis even larger than the one that engulfed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

A team of 30 university professors, lawyers and journalists spent more than six months on the inquiry into Japan's response to the triple meltdown at the plant, which followed a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year that shut down the plant's cooling systems.

The team interviewed more than 300 people, including top nuclear regulators and government officials, as well as the prime minister during the crisis, Mr Naoto Kan. They were granted extraordinary access, in part because of a strong public demand for greater accountability and because the organisation's founder, Mr Yoichi Funabashi, a former editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun, is one of Japan's most respected public intellectuals.

An advance copy of the report describes frantic phone calls by Mr Masao Yoshida, the manager at the stricken plant, to top officials in the Kan government arguing that he could get the plant under control if he could keep his staff in place, while at the same time ignoring orders from Tokyo Electric Power's (Tepco) headquarters not to use sea water to cool the overheating reactors.

By contrast, Tepco's president, Mr Masataka Shimizu, was making competing calls to the prime minister's office saying that the company should evacuate all of its staff, a step that could have been catastrophic. It would have allowed the plant to spiral out of control, releasing even larger amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere that could in turn force the evacuation of other nearby nuclear plants, causing further meltdowns.

The report quotes the chief cabinet secretary at the time, Mr Yukio Edano, as having warned that such a "demonic chain reaction" of plant meltdowns could result in the evacuation of Tokyo, 240km (150 miles) to the south.

"We would lose Fukushima Daini, then we would lose Tokai," Mr Edano is quoted as saying, naming two other nuclear plants. "If that happened, it was only logical to conclude that we would also lose Tokyo itself."

Mr Funabashi blamed the Kan administration's fear of setting off a panic for its decision to understate the true dangers of the accident.

The report seems to confirm the suspicions of nuclear experts in the United States — inside and outside the government — that the Japanese government was not being forthcoming about the full dangers posed by the stricken Fukushima plant.

But it also shows that the US government occasionally overreacted and inflated the risks, such as when American officials mistakenly warned that the spent fuel rods in the pool near unit No. 4 were exposed to the air and vulnerable to melting down and releasing huge amounts of radiation.

The report's findings also conflicted with those of the government's own investigation into the accident, which were released in an interim report in December.

A big difference involved one of the most crucial moments of the nuclear crisis, when Mr Kan marched into Tepco's headquarters early on the morning of March 15 upon hearing that the company wanted to withdraw its employees from the wrecked nuclear plant.

The government's investigation sided with Tepco by saying that Mr Kan, a former social activist who often clashed with Japan's establishment, had simply misunderstood the company, which wanted to withdraw only a portion of its staff.

Mr Funabashi said his foundation's investigators had interviewed most of the people involved — except executives at Tepco, which refused to cooperate — and found that the company had, in fact, said it wanted a total pullout. He credited Mr Kan with making the right decision in forcing Tepco not to abandon the plant.

"Prime minister Kan had his minuses and he had his lapses, but his decision to storm into Tepco and demand that it not give up saved Japan," said Mr Funabashi.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

I should also draw attention to this comment at the bottom of the article:
Quote:
The subject of this article is disturbingly absurd. If they really were having such thoughts and considerations, then all I can conclude is that the people in change in Japan had very little understanding about nuclear power plants; specifically about how much radiation they are (fundamentally) capable of releasing.

It is well known that Western (light water) reactors are simply not capable of releasing as much radiation as Chernobyl, under any circumstances, for a host of fundamental reasons. The release that actually happened at Fukushima, only about one order of magnitude less than Chernobyl, is close to the absolute maximum that ever could have been released from such light water reactors.

It is evident that the containments accomplished little. It is NOT true that if the workers had abandoned the plant, the release would have been substantially higher. Certainly, a release similar to Chernobyl is the absolute worst it could have been.

The notion that any release at Fukushima could force workers to leave nearby plants is even more absurd. No possible release could come within orders of magnitude of that. Did it happen at Chernobyl? Also, since the fuel had several days to (correctly) cool at those other plants, there would not be a significant release from those plants even if workers did have to leave.

The scenarios these "leaders" were considering were not overly-pessimistic or far-fetched. They were patently absurd. Where did they go to school?


Jim Hopf, San Jose
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Old 2012-02-28, 14:08   Link #2482
Solafighter
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Omg. Just wow.

Thanks for sharing this article.

*shares*
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Old 2012-02-29, 00:19   Link #2483
andyjay729
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The juxtaposition of the story and that response perfectly summarizes the confusion at the heart of the disaster. I'm obviously glad they didn't evacuate Tokyo, but do you think they had reason to put that unthinkable plan on the front burner in this case? Since obviously what happened last March was an unthinkable situation. Unfortunately with the renewed debate about nuclear power, it's hard to get a truly straight, unbiased answer.

I'm not an expert on nuclear power. Do you think Kan's government had reason to fear the worst, or do you agree with the commentor and think that especially the Western press inflated things?

And, heh, at least they had a plan. I'm not sure what, if any, plans my local authorities have in case of an emergency at San Onofre, the closest nuclear plant to my house (which BTW is also cooled by seawater like at Fukushima). But if you want some really high-octane nightmare fuel, consider the Indian Point Energy Center, just 25 miles north of Manhattan. According to Peter Greenberg's Don't Go There, there is no workable evacuation plan. Not only does (ahem) 8 percent of America's population live within a 50-mile radius, it was right under the flight paths of Osama's planes bound for the WTC...and there's an active earthquake fault underneath. Nighty-night!

But I digress. Obviously as anime fans, this horrific disaster has weighed extra-heavy on our minds. In my case, I follow some seiyuu blogs so of course I and other readers got one "eyewitness report". One thing I'll never forget is how I first heard the name Fukushima not on the news but on the blog of Kaori Fukuhara, voice of Lucky Star's Tsukasa. (Apparently she has family there.) Puts it a funny perspective, y'know?
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Old 2012-02-29, 11:49   Link #2484
Zetsubo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyjay729 View Post
The juxtaposition of the story and that response perfectly summarizes the confusion at the heart of the disaster. I'm obviously glad they didn't evacuate Tokyo, but do you think they had reason to put that unthinkable plan on the front burner in this case? Since obviously what happened last March was an unthinkable situation. Unfortunately with the renewed debate about nuclear power, it's hard to get a truly straight, unbiased answer.

I'm not an expert on nuclear power. Do you think Kan's government had reason to fear the worst, or do you agree with the commentor and think that especially the Western press inflated things?

And, heh, at least they had a plan. I'm not sure what, if any, plans my local authorities have in case of an emergency at San Onofre, the closest nuclear plant to my house (which BTW is also cooled by seawater like at Fukushima). But if you want some really high-octane nightmare fuel, consider the Indian Point Energy Center, just 25 miles north of Manhattan. According to Peter Greenberg's Don't Go There, there is no workable evacuation plan. Not only does (ahem) 8 percent of America's population live within a 50-mile radius, it was right under the flight paths of Osama's planes bound for the WTC...and there's an active earthquake fault underneath. Nighty-night!

But I digress. Obviously as anime fans, this horrific disaster has weighed extra-heavy on our minds. In my case, I follow some seiyuu blogs so of course I and other readers got one "eyewitness report". One thing I'll never forget is how I first heard the name Fukushima not on the news but on the blog of Kaori Fukuhara, voice of Lucky Star's Tsukasa. (Apparently she has family there.) Puts it a funny perspective, y'know?
Fear sells newspapers.

So things are going to be presented in a way that creates some suspense/drama/thriller all the makings of a good made for TV story.

That is how many news media corps try to win customers.

They have to be EXCITING with the news reports.

Sadly people read this borderline hyper inflated news and they become fearful... because all the key words are being used.

Chernobyl... toxic... death... radiation... the only word they didn't throw in was brimstone, fire and nostrodamus

BUTthere is a reason...

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Old 2012-02-29, 12:22   Link #2485
Random32
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It was blown out of proportion. Fear sells and radiation is scary. I can't really blame people for being scared of radiation, its deadly, undetectable, and not understood well, considering we inherently fear the unknown, that's like the perfect combination.

Despite the Fukushima Daiichi reactors being ancient Chernobyl era designs, I don't think even worst case scenario we would have seen a permanent evacuation of Tokyo.

I'm pro-nuclear. It's really the only way that we can get rid of fossil fuel electricity in the near future. There is no alternative fuel source that can compete with nuclear in efficiency. It's also extremely safe if measured in deaths per kilowatt hour.

I think the future is fusion nuclear. It's within reach. JT-60 would have broken even in 1998 if it could handle tritium instead of just deuterium I think. I think that we are achieving commercial nuclear fusion power within this century, if not in the first half of it.
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Old 2012-02-29, 17:49   Link #2486
Mystique
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Just woken up by a quake this morning x.x;;

On JP scale but a level 5 weak is pretty out there :/
Quote:
07:34 JST 01 Mar 2012 07:32 JST 01 Mar 2012 5-
07:34 JST 01 Mar 2012 07:32 JST 01 Mar 2012 4
23:35 JST 29 Feb 2012 23:32 JST 29 Feb 2012 4
23:34 JST 29 Feb 2012 23:32 JST 29 Feb 2012 3
18:02 JST 29 Feb 2012 18:00 JST 29 Feb 2012 4
18:01 JST 29 Feb 2012 18:00 JST 29 Feb 2012 4
14:23 JST 28 Feb 2012 14:20 JST 28 Feb 2012 4
14:22 JST 28 Feb 2012 14:20 JST 28 Feb 2012 4
04:33 JST 28 Feb 2012 04:32 JST 28 Feb 2012 3
01:32 JST 28 Feb 2012 01:30 JST 28 Feb 2012 3
There's been a lot of activity around Chiba and Ibaraki over the last week, even more so over the last 3 days that I'm getting this sense of deja vu all over again. (there was a week of build up before it finally hit on the 11th)
Methinks I won't be the only one looking to stock up on batteries and charge some things as well as make an emergency bag again as we close in on the anniversary.

Logically you'll say 'quakes don't come around annually'
Realistically for us being shaken with levels we can feel almost daily, we'll say 'better safe than sorry'...

Also media wise it seems the BBC are planning a section for this calling it 'one year on' but of course nothing with the tsumani victims but rather 'fukushima' and radiation methinks.
Tis annoying, we need more human stories about, so good ones you see, drop in here
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Old 2012-03-01, 23:59   Link #2487
Vexx
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I keep trying to find upbeat stories... but so many are downers (like the towns rebuilding but they wonder why because there's no kids).
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Old 2012-03-02, 04:30   Link #2488
sa547
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^
Maybe this one of many:
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Old 2012-03-02, 19:51   Link #2489
Mystique
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‘2.46 and Thereafter’: Japan’s triple disaster through artists’ eyes
An artistic response: "2:46 and Thereafter" is an exhibition of new works created in response to the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunamis that struck the northeast coast of Japan at 2:46 p.m. March 11, 2011. It is on display at the Edison Place Gallery.
Click here to see the article and gallery online

Quote:
The neon sign in the window of the Eighth Street NW art gallery is doubly ironic. “Atomic Power is the Energy of the Future,” it reads, in Japanese.

The first irony is that the wording of artist Masaharu Futoyu’s piece is taken from a sign in Futaba, a town that’s been off limits since the partial meltdown last spring at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The second is that the artwork, which gently questions the Japanese power company TEPCO, is on display at the PEPCO Edison Place Gallery.
Futoyu’s yellow-neon sign is part of “2.46 and Thereafter,” a show of Japanese artists’ responses to the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear calamity.

“The artist is totally apolitical. So when he did this, I was very surprised,” says Kazuko Aso, general director of DANDANS, the Tokyo artists’ cooperative that organized the show. (The name combines the Japanese word for group, “dan,” with the French one for in, “dans.”)
But, Aso adds, “having this exhibition without mentioning the nuclear plant is not possible.”
More than 15,000 people died during the earthquake and tsunami, and more than 100,000 were displaced, a number of them permanently. So, of course, some of the art in the show is somber. But there’s a wide range of styles and outlooks among the 18 artists’ work, which includes both modern and traditional Japanese elements — and whimsy as well as sorrow.

“2.46 and Thereafter,” whose title refers to the minute when the disaster began, is DANDANS’s first show outside Japan. Twenty percent of the proceeds from any art that’s sold will go to relief efforts. (The number was 50 percent when the group displayed art on the same theme in Japan, but the costs of mounting an exhibition in the United States are higher.)
Anyone in DC, go check it out
The rest of the article can be read in the link ^^
From the pictures, personally #5 kinda freaked me out ^^;
(But is very powerful)
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Old 2012-03-04, 02:24   Link #2490
TinyRedLeaf
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Japanese monk guards remains of tsunami unknown
Quote:
Yamamoto (March 3, Sat): Hundreds of the 19,000 people killed by Japan's horrific quake-tsunami remain unmourned, their bodies never claimed because there is no one left to notice that they are gone.

But one Buddhist monk has lovingly stored the ashes and bones of some of those whose names no one knows, in the hope that they can be reunited with their families one day.

Every day of the past year, Reverend Ryushin Miyabe offered prayers and lit incense for the souls in his care at the Myokoin temple in Yamamoto, a small town on Japan's tsunami-wrecked coast.

In late January, he was finally able to hand over the remains of a five-year-old boy, known until then only as "No. 906", when the child's grandmother was identified through DNA tests.

The grandmother told Rev Miyabe that the boy's mother had also been killed in the catastrophe and she had been searching for her grandson's body for nearly a year.

With the boy's remains back with a family member, his spirit can pass into the next world, said Rev Miyabe. "I guess the boy has met his mother in heaven by now," he said. "She must have told him, 'Hey, you are late!'"

Buddhist tradition dictates that a body is cremated and the ashes are placed in an urn, along with the bones that remain.

The urn is put in a family grave, which Japanese traditionally believe to be the gateway to the next world, one through which souls can return every year during the summer festival of Obon.

Nationwide, 500 bodies recovered after the huge waves swept ashore have still not been identified, and more than 3,000 of those who died have never been found.

At one point, Rev Miyabe was looking after the ashes of 30 people, their remains entrusted to him by the authorities overwhelmed by the number of people who perished.

After the five-year-old was reunited with his family, Rev Miyabe's temple has only one small jar left. "I will continue holding vigil, praying for the earliest return of the ashes to the victim's family, who must be desperately trying to find the body," he said.

AFP
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Old 2012-03-04, 14:08   Link #2491
Vexx
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Here in Oregon, they're running the science series NOVA episode of "Japan's Killer Quake" today... its a chilling documentary of the sequence of events and the science behind it.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/j...ler-quake.html
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Old 2012-03-04, 14:45   Link #2492
Solafighter
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Thanks for sharing, Vexx.


Quote:
We're sorry, but this video is not available in your region due to rights restrictions.


Hello Mr.Proxy.
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Old 2012-03-04, 16:40   Link #2493
Vexx
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You have to be kidding.... this is a freaking *public broadcast* source and NOVA is *funded* as a non-profit.

Yes, go for the proxy - screw this "IP" overkill...
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Old 2012-03-04, 18:09   Link #2494
Solafighter
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Vexx, you wont believe me but that's not the first time. The TBS livestream of Fukushima power plant is blocked because I'm from Germany.... Guess why... It's to avoid more protests in Germany.

WTF
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Old 2012-03-04, 20:13   Link #2495
andyjay729
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Speaking of which, did anyone hear about how Germany and Austria actually pulled all nuclear meltdown-themed Simpsons episodes from syndication?

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/interna...PAEyLYnmBGJutJ

The kicker is, I haven't heard about Japan's Simpsons broadcaster doing the same.

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Old 2012-03-04, 21:42   Link #2496
Vexx
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I'm curious as to how many survivors of the quake/tsunami are still in shelters? The aftermath is completely off the radar in the news cycles.
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Old 2012-03-05, 06:08   Link #2497
Solafighter
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True, I also wonder about that.
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Old 2012-03-05, 08:18   Link #2498
Zetsubo
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
I'm curious as to how many survivors of the quake/tsunami are still in shelters? The aftermath is completely off the radar in the news cycles.
The media hasn't published much because its

1. No scare drama.

2. Just boring human stories.

3. Nothing tear jerking that can compete with other fear factors.


The main media focus is now on ...

Iran, Syria... OIL !

Which ironically is EXACTLY why IRAN is doing what its doing... to gain attention and scare people.

If we ignored them... and let the diplomats do their jobs (I wish they could, but they seem impotent) ... it may work out better.

Its like the recovery in Indonesia and other states that had their tsunami a year or so earlier.

Media in our part of the world are in the boredom killing business.
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Old 2012-03-05, 11:31   Link #2499
Solafighter
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^Nothing new for us. Thats why we are curious.
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Old 2012-03-05, 14:16   Link #2500
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zetsubo View Post
The media hasn't published much because its

1. No scare drama.

2. Just boring human stories.

3. Nothing tear jerking that can compete with other fear factors.


The main media focus is now on ...

Iran, Syria... OIL !
...
Yes, I know how the corporate media works, thanks That doesn't mean I'm not interested in how people are doing in Japan. Was hoping someone had spotted an article I hadn't on the current situation.
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