July 15, 2007


AOL reports "strong"

Mag 6.5
Tsunami has hit....
Rail Lines shut down...

OK the tsunami was 20 inches high....damage appears to be light.


Some bullet train lines are shut down as a precaution...3 or so houses collapsed.

Well this looks to be not nearly as serious as it could have been.

UPDATE 11:45 July 17: Between the aftershocks and  nuclear leaks, things seem rather more serious than initially reported. As I type this 9 people are confirmed dead. It does not seem to be anything like the Kobe quake or the Great Kanto quake of  1923.

As an aside, the majority of radiation leaks seem at this point to have involved waste storage drums tipping over. One of the lessons learned is likely to be storage drum holders. 

More disturbing to this layman is the fact that the company reps are saying that a 6.8 earthquake is beyond what the plant was designed to survive. If so then the plants performance is a credit to its designers and builders, however, given that historic times (indeed the last 80 years) have seen earthquakes in Japan registering  as high as 8.4, the fact that a nuke plant not rated at 6.8 was built seems worrisome to me. The strongest earthquakes ever recorded, 9.2& 9.5 in Alaska and Chile respectively occurred quite recently in areas tectonically similar to Japan and indeed, very broadly speaking they are part of the same tectonic system (the ring of fire) .

I'd think that safety in a 9.0 magnitude would be a minimum. This is expensive to be sure, but less so than a cracked pressurized water reactor in a populated area.

More on the earthquake here, here, here, and here.

Dispatch from the ministry of the obvious......
As I type this (11:45 AM July17) the BBC picture collage ends with this line...
"Nevertheless, some are clearly trying to make the best of a difficult situation."
Ya think?

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 10:28 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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