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You are in Mothership 5 coverage of the Japan Nuclear Disaster. Please Rec this diary, and this diary, only.  Unrec previous diaries in the series.    In general, try to use the ROV's for discussion and commentary.  This diary will serve as a reference and anchor point.

We are currently in ROV 17:  Japan Nuclear Disaster by Drewid

Previous ROVs

Lets STICK TO THE FACTS. Please remember to source and link all new information.  (This includes insuring authenticity of twitter sources.)



The CS Monitor is hosting a constantly updated timeline of events, beginning at 2:46 Friday 11 March when a 9.0 Earthquake was the initial shock in an ongoing crisis, magnified by the ensuing tsunami and the ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power facility.

Japan's nuclear agency spokesman have conceded that the  "Chernobyl solution" -- burying the reactors in sand and concrete -- is still being considered.

Efforts to restore power to the facility remain underway as the UN nuclear agency reports that water temperatures have cooled in the No. 2 reactor.

While at least 3 reactors have experienced partial meltdowns, CTBTO data suggest that a large meltdown has not yet occurred. Acording to Lars-Erik De Geer, research director of the Swedish Defence Research Institute in Stockholm, a larger meltdown would show higher levels of less volatile elements like zirconium and barium as opposed to measurements which currently register a high concentrations of more volatile isotopes like iodine and caesium.

The situation is expected to take weeks to resolve.

The most current data on the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant is being provided by the Japanese Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) reports, which record such key factors as  conditions of core and fuel integrity, water level and containment. The Guardian DataBlog is updating analysis and publishing highly contextualized charting and graphs.

Latest Stats as of evening Friday 18 March. Japan. (combined sources)
- 6,539 killed
- 10,354 are reported missing.
- 380,000 displaced
- Emergency crews are still having difficulty reaching some areas hit by the tsunami.
- Japan officials are ordered food be tested for radioactivity
- 2,000 emergency shelters are operating
- Radiation has been detected in the water supply.
- Shortage of fuel huge impediment in bringing food and water to emergency shelters and most severely impacted regions.


Coverage @ KOS:
Plubius:Views From Japan: How Bad Is Fukushima?+
skywriter:The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists+
FishOutofWater: Feds Not Releasing Rad Plume Model Results+*
jamess: Big Oil, Big Energy, Big Nukes, Big Bucks+
FishOutofWater: 11,195 spent fuel rods stored at Fukushima+
nathguy: Fukishima 101+
Dr.Linda  Shelton simplifies the physics, chemistry and biology inNuclear Reactors 101
DarkSyde: Anatomy of the Fukushima nuclear crisis
FishOutofWater: TEPCO: "The possibility of re-criticality is not zero"
Vyan: Cool the Reactors with Cadmium!
GlowNZ: Japan Disaster Open Thread: The Earthquake and Tsunami
Nebraskablue: Helicopters to the Rescue?
Ellinorianne: Wind Turbines Survive Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan
Jerome a Paris: After Fukushima: a new dash for gas? Really?



Japan Earthquake 2011 Global Voices Online provides outstanding ongoing translations of articles and information from Japan, including:
Map of Quake Centers
Shelter locations
Tomomi Sasaki translation from Japanese to English: Infographic of Radiation & Effects on Human body translated from Japanese

How can I help


Media Coverage

Japan Tsunami – Live Streaming/AutoUpdates
Kyodo Nuclear News Feed
Guardian'sJapan coverage emerging as top source for comprehensive,  frequently updated  news coverage. Check out Ian Sampleinterview and timeline
NHK Japan Live:NHK Japan Live
Al Jazeera Japan Live: Al Jazeera Japan Live
AJ LiveBlog
France24 Live: France24 Live
Global Voices Online(Japan/English translation
ReutersReuters updated continuously

Twitter – Real Time Updates:
Global Voices Online Japan Twitter List
Japan's PM
GP Japan
Twitter #earthquake
Twitter #japan:
Twitter #tsunami

Hashtags:  #JPQuake, #japaneq, #japantsunami, #ynwa, #japaneq



• Plubius also has a diary on aid groups needing donations.
CS Monitor has a great list
JapanVolunteers-  - donations, materials, volunteer opportunities and needs,  fundraisers, resource sharing


Crisis Mapping

OpenStreetMap Foundation Japan is using Ushahidi to map crisis information. Volunteers can submit reports through a form or by tweeting location information along with the hashtags #jishin (earthquake), #j_j_helpme (call for help), #hinan (evacuation), #anpi (safety status), or #311care (medical support). The hashtag for people working on the service is #osmjp.

Google Crisis Response Maps(Layers available)
Ushahidi Local Reports Color Coded for Trusted Sources (Japanese/English)
Satellite Imagray
Media Monitoring Japan's Humanity Road


Volunteers are needed to publish and queue up for subsequent diaries. To volunteer to host an ROV or the next mothership, please email to join the group. We will be able to queue diaries for publication throughout this crisis.

Please be kind to kossacks with bandwidth issues. Please do not post images or videos. Again, many thanks for this.


Dave Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists: Interview (h/t hopeful skeptic)
• NYT: Q. and A. on the Nuclear Crisis in Japan
Reuters Japan Factbox
Dave Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists: Interview (h/t hopeful skeptic)
• NYT: Q. and A. on the Nuclear Crisis in Japan
Plutonium In Fuel Rods: Cause For Concern? (part of NPR special coverage! h/t jamess)
Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry radiation data (English)US President Barack Obama announced he is ordering the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct a review of all US nuclear power plants as a result of the situation in Japan. The President also reassured Americans there is no risk of exposure to significant levels of radiation.


Start with the basics .. the Economist reports on the Japan Syndrome

...  Nuclear energy is produced by atomic fission. A large atom (uranium or plutonium) breaks into two smaller ones, releasing energy and neutrons. These neutrons may then trigger the break-up of further atoms, creating a chain reaction. The faster the neutron, the fewer break-ups it provokes. This is because an incoming neutron has to be captured to provoke fission, and fast neutrons are harder to capture. As a result, the chain reaction will peter out unless the neutrons can be slowed down sufficiently.

There also need to be enough fissionable atoms about for the neutrons to bump into—in other words, a critical mass. That is why uranium fuel has to be enriched, for only one of the two naturally occurring isotopes of the metal is fissile, and it is much the rarer of the two. In water-cooled reactors like the ones at Fukushima, the right combination of slow neutrons and enriched fuel leads to a self-sustaining process which produces energy that can be used to boil water, make steam and drive a turbine to generate electricity. Besides cooling the fuel (and thus producing the steam) the water also acts as a so-called moderator, slowing down the neutrons and keeping the reaction going.
So what happens when things cease to run smoothly, as when an earthquake interferes with the plant's systems? When designing reactors, engineers attempt to achieve what they call “defence in depth”. The idea is that if any specific defence fails, another will make good the shortfall. This is a principle that Fukushima Dai-ichi, the worst hit of the nuclear plants, has been testing to destruction. The defences have failed badly at all three of the reactors which were running at the time the earthquake hit.

h/t siri
Facts from from Nuclear Energy Institute Fact Sheet

♣ Used nuclear fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is stored in seven pools (one at each of the six reactors, plus a shared pool) and in a dry container storage facility (containing nine casks).
♣ Sixty percent of the used fuel on site is stored in the shared pool, in a building separated from the reactor buildings; 34 percent of the used fuel is distributed between the six reactor fuel storage pools, and the remaining six percent is stored in the nine dry storage containers.  There are no safety concerns regarding the used fuel in dry storage at Fukushima Daiichi.
♣ Used fuel pools are robust concrete and steel structures designed to protect the fuel from even the most severe events.  Pools are designed with systems to maintain the temperature and water levels sufficient to provide cooling and radiation shielding.
♣ The water level in a used fuel pool typically is 16 feet or more above the top of the fuel assemblies.
♣ The used fuel pools at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors are located at the top of the reactor buildings for ease of handling during refueling operations.
♣ The used fuel pools are designed so that the water in the pool cannot drain down as a result of damage to the piping or cooling systems.  The pools do not have drains in the sides or the floor of the pool structure.  The only way to rapidly drain down the pool is if there is structural damage to the walls or the floor

Originally posted to Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 10:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK.

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Comment Preferences

  •  just wanted to praise the maestros in here .. (6+ / 0-)

    .. for putting in the effort to keep the facts straight, the MS orbiting and the ROV's propagating.

    Your community appreciates it!!

    ..even if we disagree with woolie, occasionally.. alright, often..   ;-), where did I leave my torches and villagers?

    by FrankSpoke on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 12:24:05 AM PDT

  •  link for Bay Area Kossacks (5+ / 0-)

    UC Berkeley is making public the data they collect on both atmospheric and rain water samples (it's been pouring here in the bay area all day).

    They are testing for I-131 Cs-137 and Te-132.

    Techincal conculsion:

       3/17 20:00 - 3/18 10:00: No detectable counts from radionuclides of interest above background.

    A more lay-person assessment of the results so far can be found in this article:


      Updated 6:30 PM PDT, Fri, Mar 18, 2011

        So far there is no detectable increase in radiation anywhere in California.

        We know that because of a system designed to monitor U.S. military nuclear testing in the 1950s called RadNet. It came back to prominence this week because the windmill-like devices would indicate if radiation was in the air. There are RadNet stations in San Francisco and San Jose and according to those tracking the data, nothing out of the norm has been detected

        U.C. Berkeley nuclear engineers also set up a monitoring station on top of Etcheverry Hall with the express purpose of looking for radiation from the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan and say all levels are in the normal range. You can see the data for yourself at this link.

        Air pollution regulators in Southern California also report no increased levels of radiation.

    "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

    by Hopeful Skeptic on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 12:52:49 AM PDT

    •  Etcheverry Hall, Berkeley, California (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hopeful Skeptic, peraspera

      ....itself being uncomfortably located close to an earthquake fault. . . . .

      I'd like to see monitoring done by a variety of groups, including independent and public health groups.

      •  from the article linked in my comment above (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmo, Drama Queen, Ignacio Magaloni
        There is a way to track radiation levels here in the Bay Area for yourself. A privately run company in Arizona runs a website that collecradiationnetwork.coms who own radiation detectors and download the company's software. The radiation detectors send the data from those locations. The only Bay Area location on the site is located in Menlo Park at a private home and has so far found no increased levels in radiation.

        I believe that would probably be along the lines of what you're looking for?

        There is also this in the article:

        A United Nations diplomat with access to radiation tracking says initial readings show radiation levels at one-billionth of what could cause health problems.

        But no data from them as far as I can see.

        "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

        by Hopeful Skeptic on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 01:12:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  quote got jacked up... sorry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        here is the corrected quote (with no embedded links):

        There is a way to track radiation levels here in the Bay Area for yourself. A privately run company in Arizona runs a website that collects data from citizens who own radiation detectors and download the company's software. The radiation detectors send the data from those locations. The only Bay Area location on the site is located in Menlo Park at a private home and has so far found no increased levels in radiation

        "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

        by Hopeful Skeptic on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 01:16:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  NHK reported today that the size of the (9+ / 0-)

    tsunami was upgraded to 23 meters (80 feet). Nothing manmade could have stood up to that.

    For those who are more interested in helping than in proselytizing there was a great diary earlier today. It actually had information on the people who have really been harmed to date, not merely the nuclear plant situation.

    Do something helpful

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 01:18:44 AM PDT

    •  your link goes to a page that says (3+ / 0-)

      "Sorry, that story could not be found"

      "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

      by Hopeful Skeptic on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 01:19:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well sited and built structures held up (4+ / 0-)

      One of the phenomenal aspects of several of the videos of the tsunamis is watching how well some bridges performed as boats were smashed to pieces on their pillars.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 02:35:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, not entirely true (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Drama Queen, emelyn, Roger Fox, nota bene

      The reactors themselves and most of the plant infrastructure held up perfectly well. It was wherever the backup generators were that didn't.

      I suspect the reason would be perfectly understandable: everyone focuses on the nuclear issue and its security that more mundane things don't get as much attention. They're only perfectly ordinary backup diesel generators after all, no big deal, right? They're all over the place: hospitals, factories, fire stations, emergency command centers, and other structures where maintaining power is important.

      Fortunately the latest reports off NHK is that the crews are starting to regain the upper hand. Cooling has been restored to two of the spent fuel ponds and their temperatures are dropping.

      One interesting tidbit that people may overlook in the immediate "Radioactive food, oh no!" reaction to reports about slightly elevated radiation levels seen in milk and spinach is the point that they don't know those levels are related to the accident because detailed, routine radiation monitoring simply isn't carried out that often. They don't actually have a detailed enough baseline to make the connection yet.

      You'll see, over the next few years, a similar situation with cancer: people possibly (or certainly) exposed to excess radiation levels will likely be more closely monitored for signs of cancer than the average citizen, which will, inevitably, discover more cancer. The good thing is that it will likely detect any cancers earlier (and thus be more treatable), regardless of its cause.

      I was talking to a bio-radiation specialist the other day and he noted a similar situation was happening in Belarus to people who'd received excessive radiation exposure due to Chernobyl: while the incidence level of certain cancers might be higher than the general population, the actual mortality rate due to them was significantly lower than those same types of cancers in the ordinary population. In other words, because they were looking for cancer closely in this population, they were finding it earlier and successfully treating it.

  •  Pera---you are a wonder!!!! Great stuff!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester, peraspera

    (Still convinced you have a twin..ha,ha)

  •  peraspera, one of the links needs updating (4+ / 0-)

    The mothership's link to the "Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry radiation data (some data is in English)" needs to be updated. The Ministry now has a page solely for English data here.


  •  Your Guardian Link Is No Longer Good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It shows news from the 15th, not from today. I tried to find a similar site at the Guardian, but failed. Maybe you guys know where to look...

    History does not always repeat itself. Sometimes it just yells "Can't you remember anything I told you?" and lets fly with a club. ~ John W. Campbell

    by troutwaxer on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 08:19:41 AM PDT

  •  Would someone be so kind... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Drama Queen, peraspera to explain exactly what this "Mothership" thing is, and suggest to me why I should care?

    It seems to be a very broad meta- thing that the people who are actually working on think is very useful, but which almost no one else is even aware of.

    Other than the boiler-plate links, what here is important?

    Then, in the off-hand chance I haven't alienated everyone, what the hell does ROV mean, and why is so much of what is here duplicated there?

    Finally, why are only a very few of the many actual individual diaries I'm participating in listed here?

    This seems to be the DKos equivalent of what is really going on at Wikipedia: it's a micro-habitat for a sub-culture of process wonks who are mostly congratulating each other for having done this specific instance, and planning on who's going to do the next one.

    But: why?

    - bp

    "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

    by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 08:30:27 AM PDT

    •  It's for organizing comments (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drmah, Ignacio Magaloni, peraspera

      Even if it were possible, would you really just want one diary where you had to wade through 6,000 comments?

      Each of the ROV diaries allows comments to remain current and manageable (~300 per ROV) and the mothership allows for organization of these smaller diaries.  It's basically the equivalent of a continual live-blog about the Japan nuclear situation.  However, if you just had the individual diaries, they would quickly fall off the rec-list.  The way this works is you keep the mothership diary recced and then just have it point to the current ROV diary, which doesn't have to be recced.  This way people can easily find the current comment section on something that is an ongoing discussion over days and even weeks of time.

      I'm assuming ROV stands for Remotely Operated Vehicle, since the ROV's are diaries that operate remotely from the Mothership Diary.

    •  A mothership is used as a placeholder (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      on the Rec list for liveblogging fast breaking events. That way the breaking news for the topic only takes up one spot on the valuable rec list real estate. The current news posts and discussion takes place in the current ROV that is linked at the top of the mothership.

      ROVs (Remote Operated underwater Vehicle) are basically child diaries that are tethered to the mothership via links.

      Some people just want to take a quick peek at the mothership, others may follow the group stream without even bothering to look at the mothership so there will be some info duplication in the mothership and ROVs.

      The dairies in which you are participating may not be ROVs which are all listed. Boatsie has been including related diaries as links. If you think one or more should be included please provide links. If you want to find diaries in which you have commented go to My Page > Comments.

      I don't know how Wikipedia works so can't comment on that.

      Hope this helps explain things.

  •  Great work, all!.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, ursoklevar, peraspera

    Strange how disasters create many names I see here are of those I met in the 'Deepwater Horizon' rov's....

    I'm a bit closer to this one geographically, and this is beyond a doubt the best aggregate source of information that can be found, even though these events are happening ,,, let's say "In my neighbor's back yard"!

    Really appreciate all your hard work!

    Been busy lately because of these events, but about to have a bit of free time soon,,,,,also because of these events, so I'll volunteer to host as soon as I can.....(due to the time difference, I can take some pressure off the night shift!)


    draw a window on the wall to remind you of the silkrain that makes things grow - Yoko Ono

    by quinn on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 08:33:36 AM PDT

  •  Contaminated Food Up to 90 Miles From Nuc Site (4+ / 0-)

    NY Times:

    The Fukushima Prefecture asked dairy farms within 18 miles of the nuclear plant on Saturday to halt all milk shipments. The milk that contained higher levels of radioactive material was tested at farms about 19 miles from the hobbled nuclear plants in Fukushima Prefecture. The spinach was found in Ibaraki Prefecture, at farms 60 to 90 miles south of the plants.

    Food safety inspectors said the amount of iodine-131 found in the tested milk was five times higher than levels deemed safe. They said the iodine found in the spinach was more than seven times higher. The spinach also contained slightly higher amounts of cesium-137.

    Iodine-131 and cesium-137 are two of the more dangerous elements that are feared to have been released from the plants in Fukushima. Iodine-131 can be dangerous to human health, especially if absorbed through milk and milk products, because it can accumulate in the thyroid and cause cancer. Cesium-137 can damage cells and lead to an increased risk of cancer.

    Those levels are well beyond what the Food and Drug Administration in the United States considers a cause for concern. But experts say Japan’s reassurances about food safety were probably accurate.

  •  Great update - thank you (3+ / 0-)

    A friend of mine sent me the following link.  It is a blog by Chris Jones who is living with his family in the Tokyo outskirts.  He's an Alabamian.  Along with
    his "day job," he runs an incredibly in-depth and well-written blog which over the past week has provided mostly daily updates on local on-the-ground conditions and, within the past 24 hours, Chris provided detailed report and analysis of radiation conditions in Japan (including an informative map).  

    You can find this informative site here.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:39:08 AM PDT

  •  Why is the new power line taking so long? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, Pescadero Bill

    1 km, is 15 poles, one every 200 ft. The basic work would take a day 15 to 20 hours, started on saturday ( a week ago) the line should have been in place monday.

    Even if they went with double poles and triple cross tees, its probably 48 hrs of work once the equipment and materials are in place.

    I dont think they considered a new power line until last thursday or so.   Sigh.......

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 11:15:39 AM PDT

    •  Someone in one of the ROVs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pescadero Bill

      mentioned that the terrain is quite rugged. I can't recall reports of when the work was actually started but I vaguely recall something reported on TV (maybe NHK?) about bringing in power fairly early on but not right away.

      The line has been at the plant but NHK reported that line work is being squeezed in between spraying water. Also, now that the line is close to the plant high radiation levels are a huge factor.

      •  ITs not, 1km is 3000 ft (0+ / 0-)

        There are woods starting 5km west of the Fukushima station. Google maps shows the area fairly clearly.

        Point is if the work was started right away, it would have been completed before complications like the hydrogen explosions and radiation spikes. etc. started to happen.

        3000 ft is a pole every 200 ft, so 15 poles.....

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 03:23:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Circulation restored in Units 5 & 6 SFP (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, akmk, jethrock

    Good news indeed:

    At the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors, it has become possible to cool spent fuel by circulating water in the storage pools, as one of emergency generators was restored early Saturday, leading the temperature to fall to 67.6 C from 68.8 C in four hours, said Tokyo Electric, or TEPCO.

    From Japanese Newspaper - The Mainichi Daily News

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