Near Miss… Fukushima Disaster Nearly Happens Again

Fukushima Image Source: KEI at Japanese Wikipedia

Fukushima
Image Source: KEI at Japanese Wikipedia

Chichi-Shima, Japan (TFC) – Friday, March 11th, 2011 5:46 UTC. The Earth moves an estimated 25cm which is felt by the Island of Japan the most. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake created widespread headlines when the coasts of Japan were destroyed by a tsunami washing ashore with waves at over 40 meters (130 feet) tall in areas. The biggest issue to arise from those headlines has been the Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdown, in which 4 reactors were written off due to meltdown from insufficient cooling. Today, 2 earthquakes further offshore to the southeast remind us… This incident can happen again anytime.

The two earthquakes that originated 550 miles due south of Tokyo today were of a reported 8.5 and 6.4 in magnitude. No reports of tsunami, or of a watch are in effect at this time. The quake is said to be very deep in the ocean, at 695 km.

While the prospect of having another quake like the one that rocked Japan in 2011 is rather scary, it’s necessary to discuss. The more people that prepare for the situations that this scenario remind us of, the better the chance of surviving such an incident. If you think that earthquakes are few and far between? Consider this list of earthquakes that all happened in the ‘Ring of Fire’ today, according to the USGS.

  • 5.3M 42 km W of Valdez, Ecuador
  • 3.8M 19 km NE of Indio, California
  • 4.9M 101 km NW of Chirokof, Alaska
  • 4.0M 19 km SW of Little Sitkin, Alaska
  • 5.0M 178 km ESE of Kuril’sk, Russia
  • 8.5M 189 km WNW of Chichi-Shima, Japan
  • 5.1M 174 km E of Manakwari, Indonesia
  • 5.8M 51 km E of Hihifo, Tonga

Those are just for today. The amount of quakes that happen on a day-to-day basis is actually rather astonishing to watch. It makes living on or near a fault line rather dangerous. We can see from the recent reports on Nepal the devastation that a large magnitude earthquake can have on the earth, and the life that inhabits it.

 

Taking to Fukushima, building a nuclear power plant in a seismic zone is not just an engineering nightmare. It’s just downright a bad idea. The Fukushima Daiichi accident was one of the worst events that has ever happened on this planet.

According to the World Nuclear Association updated May 2015:

Following a major earthquake, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident on 11 March 2011. All three cores largely melted in the first three days.

The accident was rated 7 on the INES scale, due to high radioactive releases over days 4 to 6, eventually a total of some 940 PBq (I-131 eq).

Four reactors were written off due to damage in the accident – 2719 MWe net.

After two weeks, the three reactors (units 1-3) were stable with water addition and by July they were being cooled with recycled water from the new treatment plant. Official ‘cold shutdown condition’ was announced in mid-December.

Apart from cooling, the basic ongoing task was to prevent release of radioactive materials, particularly in contaminated water leaked from the three units. This task became newsworthy in August 2013.

There have been no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the nuclear accident, but over 100,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes to ensure this. Government nervousness delays their return.

Official figures show that there have been well over 1000 deaths from maintaining the evacuation, in contrast to little risk from radiation if early return had been allowed.

This lesson should be learned. The plant should be decommissioned. The Pacific ocean keeps rising in levels of P.H. The Japanese government is urging treating the water originating from Fukushima that is dumping into the ocean. When another earthquake creates another tsunami. What then?

James Job