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September 5, 2012

Magnitude 7.6 earthquake strikes Costa Rican coast, tsunami warnings issued

Magnitude 7.6 earthquake strikes Costa Rican coast, tsunami warnings issued

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

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The United States Geological Survey (USGS) are reporting a 7.6-Mw earthquake striking the Costa Rican coast, prompting the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) to issue tsunami warnings including the following countries in the region: Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Peru; and a tsunami watch in Chile.

The initial alert was based upon an evaluation of the earthquake, not on confirmation that a tsunami has been generated. Later reports indicate the alert was cancelled, the PTWC having predicted that any wave would have reached Puerto Sandino in Nicaragua shortly before 16:00UTC.

The epicentre of the quake was 140 kilometres west of the Costa Rican capital, San José. A 6.1-Mw quake in January 2009, just 30km from the capital, killed at least 34 amid mudslides, falling rocks and trees. The emergency response to that earthquake included over 400 volunteers and Red Cross workers.



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March 25, 2011

Japanese earthquake death toll surpasses ten thousand

Japanese earthquake death toll surpasses ten thousand

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Friday, March 25, 2011

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The death toll from the Sendai earthquake has now increased to over ten thousand. In Japan, the National Police Agency has stated that 10,019 are now known to have been killed as a result of the disaster.

The Agency also reported that 2,775 had been injured and the location of 17,541 individuals was unknown. Meanwhile, 1,900 evacuation sites are now thought to be occupied by approximately a quarter of a million people.

An aerial view of tsunami damage in an area north of Sendai, Japan, taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter.
Image: United States Navy.

When the event happened two weeks ago, 18,000 thousand households were destroyed and 130,000 were damaged by the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami. In spite of this, twelve of the fifteen north-eastern ports of Japan have recommenced operating, while the majority of the oil terminals of the country remained open, according to Inchcape Shipping Services.

Amongst the aftermath of the earthquake, plant number 3 at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant is suspected to have been damaged and may be releasing radiation. The Japanese government have reported that an ongoing investigation is occurring to attempt to discover the cause of the radiation leak at the power plant. Chinese authorities have reported two Japanese tourists were found to have levels of radiation “seriously exceeding limits” on their clothing and luggage. In Tokyo, the amount of radiation in the supply of water has decreased, however it remains high in various parts of the north of Japan.

According to BBC News Online, two workers were hospitalised because of the leak. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), who operate the building, reported that three employees placing electrical cables at the location were given treatment for being exposed to radioactive water; they had experienced ten thousand times the regular amount of radioactivity. Of those three men, beta rays caused two of them to receive burns. The two individuals did not stop working despite meters advising of unsafe radiation levels. It was later discovered that they were wearing inadequate protective footwear and failed to draw their attention to a radiation alert. TEPCO has since received government orders to improve worker management.

The radiation emitted from the plant has had a significant effect on the Japanese food industry. In the surrounding areas of the plant, shipments of foodstuffs have been prohibited. In Fukushima prefecture, residents have been advised not to consume eleven leafy green vegetable types produced locally due to radiation concerns. There has also been a significant decrease in customer demand at a fish market in Tsukiji.

Japanese product importers have discovered some foodstuffs to have a small radiation amount, which is not thought to be potentially deadly. Numerous Asian countries, the European Union, Australia, Russia and the United States have prohibited milk items, seafood and vegetables from being imported from various Japanese prefectures.

Closing the power plant down may take at least one month to achieve. Speaking to AFP, an individual talking on behalf of TEPCO stated that the company is “still in the process of assessing the damage at the plant, so that we can’t put a deadline on when the cooling operations will work again”. Residents living within thirty kilometres of the plant have been advised to avoid going outdoors to attempt to prevent radiation exposure as far as possible.



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Situation at damaged nuclear power plant remains \’very grave\’, says Japanese Prime Minister

Situation at damaged nuclear power plant remains ‘very grave’, says Japanese Prime Minister

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Friday, March 25, 2011

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Cquote1.svg We are not in a position where we can be optimistic. Cquote2.svg

Naoto Kan, Prime Minister

Two weeks after a disastrous earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, the situation at the severely damaged Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant has been described by the Prime Minister as “very grave and serious”. In a nationally televised report to the nation on Friday, Naoto Kan said the Japanese government was “not in a position where we can be optimistic.”

Radiation is reported to still be leaking from the plant, in Fukushima prefecture. “The source of the radiation seems to be the reactor core,” said Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama, adding that radiation was “more likely” coming from the core than from the reactor’s spent fuel pool.

On Thursday three workers stepped into contaminated cooling water in the reactor’s turbine room while trying to replace cables at reactor No. 3, Nishiyama said. The water seeped into the the boots of two of the workers, touching their skin and causing lesions; the third worker’s clothing protected him from the water. The two workers with skin lesions were hospitalized for radiation exposure. The radiation level of the contaminated water measured 10,000 times the level of cooling water in an undamaged reactor.

File:Fukushima I by Digital Globe 2.jpg

The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant pictured five days after the earthquake.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Work has been stopped on attempts to reattach a permanent power line to the cooling system in reactor No. 3, and the building has been evacuated. Nishiyama could give no predictions of when work would resume. The possibility that water is leaking from the core of reactor No. 3 increases the danger for workers who attempt to cool the crippled plant. The reactors must be cooled before more safety work can begin.

Japan had been using seawater for cooling since the disaster crippled the power plant’s cooling systems, but U.S. officials were concerned that saltwater could harm the equipment, causing it to seize up and corrode, thereby worsening the situation.

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March 18, 2011

Conflicting reports, mounting fear, over Japanese nuclear disaster

Conflicting reports, mounting fear, over Japanese nuclear disaster

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Japan
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Cquote1.svg The odds are pretty good that no one has good information. Cquote2.svg

—Peter Bradford, former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner

U.S Nuclear Regulatory Secretary Steven Chu reported to Congress Wednesday that the incidents at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant may end up as a larger disaster than the Three Mile Island meltdown faced by the U.S. in 1979. However, he said reports from Japan officials are contradictory, and concluded that “[w]e don’t really know in detail what’s happening. We hear conflicting reports.”

International frustration is focusing on the slow pace and lack of detail characterizing the updates from Japan. The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, said Japan needs to provide more frequent and detailed information on the crisis to the world.

File photo of Fukushima I.

Currently, the lack of information is particularly important regarding the threat posed by reactor number four. The building housing the reactor is no longer on fire, but smoke or steam is visible on television pictures. Yoshitaka Nagayama, a spokesman for Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, admitted that “[b]ecause we have been unable to go the scene, we cannot confirm whether there is water left or not in the spent fuel pool at Reactor No. 4.”

Thomas Neff, a reactor safety expert with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: “The problem is that nobody knows. If you don’t know and you’re TEPCO, you probably underplay it. If you’re the regulator, you probably see it in a worse light.”

“The odds are pretty good that no one has good information,” said a former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner, Peter Bradford, who was on the commission at the time of the Three Mile Island disaster.



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Power line to Japanese nuclear plant completed

Power line to Japanese nuclear plant completed

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Correction — March 21, 2011
 
As of 2:55 JST March 18, IAEA has issued a clarification indicating that the power line has not been completed and is on hold pending completion of water spraying at the plant.
 

Friday, March 18, 2011

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A power line to the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in Japan was completed Thursday, which will allow cooling systems at one of the facility’s reactors.

The new line, roughly one kilometer (0.6 miles) in length, connects the power grid to the power plant’s second reactor. It was completed at about 1730 local time (0830 UTC) on Thursday, and will be energized once spraying of seawater over reactor three is complete.

According to a Tokyo Electric Power Company spokesperson, once the power line is energized “we will be able to activate various electric pumps and pour water into reactors and pools for spent nuclear fuel,” thus cooling temperatures within the reactor.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has said that the stricken power plant is currently stable, though there is still the chance of matters growing worse. An official at the agency said that “it’s reasonably stable at the moment compared to yesterday.”


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In pictures: Japan earthquake and tsunami

In pictures: Japan earthquake and tsunami

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Friday, March 18, 2011

A week ago today, at 2:46 pm JST, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off the coast of the Tōhoku region in Japan. The earthquake created an extremely destructive tsunami that spawned 10 metre (33 ft) high waves just moments later. The tsunami travelled 10 km (6 mi) inland causing massive destruction in the country’s northeast, including crippling a nuclear plant.

The earthquake and resulting tsunami have left 5,692 dead and over 9,506 missing, with nearly 450,000 homeless. The death toll is expected to rise.

In this special photoessay, Wikinews looks at the earthquake and tsunami, the destruction that resulted and efforts to bring aid to the Japanese people.

A Japanese home is seen adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Image: U.S. Navy.A Japanese home is seen adrift in the Pacific Ocean.
Image: U.S. Navy.

The antenna on top of Tokyo Tower was slightly bent by the earthquake. Image: Morio.The antenna on top of Tokyo Tower was slightly bent by the earthquake.
Image: Morio.

Items were knocked off shelves at a  store in Narashino, Chiba after the earthquake. Image: mikuaxe.Items were knocked off shelves at a store in Narashino, Chiba after the earthquake.
Image: mikuaxe.
Soil liquefaction on a road in Koto, Tokyo. Image: Morio.Soil liquefaction on a road in Koto, Tokyo.
Image: Morio.
An explosion occurs at the Cosmo Oil refinery in Ichihara, Chiba.An explosion occurs at the Cosmo Oil refinery in Ichihara, Chiba.
Image: Cranky5.
View of a fire in Odaiba following the earthquake. Image: Hikosaemon.View of a fire in Odaiba following the earthquake.
Image: Hikosaemon.
Crowds of workers evacuated from Tokyo skyscrapers walk home after the earthquake in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Image: Hikosaemon.Crowds of workers evacuated from Tokyo skyscrapers walk home after the earthquake in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.
Image: Hikosaemon.
A long line of cars stretches down Itsukaichi Street in Tokyo on March 11. Due to disruption of train service because of the earthquake and tsunami, people are trying to find alternate means of getting home. Image: Kellykaneshiro.A long line of cars stretches down Itsukaichi Street in Tokyo on March 11. Due to disruption of train service because of the earthquake and tsunami, people are trying to find alternate means of getting home.
Image: Kellykaneshiro.
Stranded passengers congregate at the Keiō line concourse of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo as public transportation in northern Japan is interrupted following the earthquake and tsunami. Image: 多摩に暇人.Stranded passengers congregate at the Keiō line concourse of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo as public transportation in northern Japan is interrupted following the earthquake and tsunami.
Image: 多摩に暇人.
Stranded passengers evacuate from a Tokyo train. Image: 多摩に暇人.Stranded passengers evacuate from a Tokyo train.
Image: 多摩に暇人.
Calculated wave height of the tsunami, from a NOAA computer model. Image: NOAA.Calculated wave height of the tsunami, from a NOAA computer model.
Image: NOAA.
This false-color satellite picture from NASA's MODIS satellite shows the area of Sendai on March 13 (top) and February 26 (bottom) shows how far inland the area near Sendai was flooded by tsunami. A bright orange-red spot near the city of Sendai is the thermal signature from a fire. Image: NASA.This false-color satellite picture from NASA’s MODIS satellite shows the area of Sendai on March 13 (top) and February 26 (bottom) shows how far inland the area near Sendai was flooded by tsunami. A bright orange-red spot near the city of Sendai is the thermal signature from a fire.
Image: NASA.
An aerial view of the port of Sendai on March 12. Image: U.S. Navy.An aerial view of the port of Sendai on March 12.
Image: U.S. Navy.
A solemn desk chair lies in a layer of mud and petroleum that now covers much of the U.S. FISC Yokosuka Defense Fuel Support Point Hachinohe facility following the tsunami. Image: DVIDSHUB.A solemn desk chair lies in a layer of mud and petroleum that now covers much of the U.S. FISC Yokosuka Defense Fuel Support Point Hachinohe facility following the tsunami.
Image: DVIDSHUB.
The city of Ofunato, Japan, was severely damaged by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Image: U.S. Navy.The city of Ofunato, Japan, was severely damaged by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
Image: U.S. Navy.
A trail of debris is seen floating in Pacific Ocean. The debris was inspected by a helicopter-based search and rescue team from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Image: U.S. Navy.A trail of debris is seen floating in Pacific Ocean. The debris was inspected by a helicopter-based search and rescue team from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
Image: U.S. Navy.
An up-close aerial view of debris floating in the Pacific. The debris was inspected by a helicopter-based search and rescue team from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Image: U.S. Navy.An up-close aerial view of debris floating in the Pacific. The debris was inspected by a helicopter-based search and rescue team from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
Image: U.S. Navy.
A Japanese barge is seen adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Image: U.S. Navy.A Japanese barge is seen adrift in the Pacific Ocean.
Image: U.S. Navy.
An upended house is among the debris in Ofunato, Japan. Image: U.S. Navy.An upended house is among the debris in Ofunato, Japan.
Image: U.S. Navy.
Members of the Fairfax County, Virginia Urban Fire and Rescue Team head into downtown Ofunato to search for survivors following the earthquake and tsunami. Teams from the United States, United Kingdom and China are on scene to assist in searching for missing residents. Image: DVIDSHUB.Members of the Fairfax County, Virginia Urban Fire and Rescue Team head into downtown Ofunato to search for survivors following the earthquake and tsunami. Teams from the United States, United Kingdom and China are on scene to assist in searching for missing residents.
Image: DVIDSHUB.
A mother and daughter look at a family photo amid the wreckage of their home. Image: U.S. Navy.A mother and daughter look at a family photo amid the wreckage of their home.
Image: U.S. Navy.
A damaged water pipe shoots into the air after the tsunami. Image: U.S. Navy.A damaged water pipe shoots into the air after the tsunami.
Image: U.S. Navy.
A tug boat among the debris in Ofunato.A tug boat among the debris in Ofunato.
Image: U.S. Navy.
A Mickey Mouse doll lies among debris in Ofunato. Image: U.S. Navy.A Mickey Mouse doll lies among debris in Ofunato.
Image: U.S. Navy.
Vehicles and debris line a canal in the downtown area of Ofunato. Image: U.S. Navy.Vehicles and debris line a canal in the downtown area of Ofunato.
Image: U.S. Navy.
A fishing boat rests against a building in Ofunato. Image: U.S. Navy.A large sail boat rests against a building in Ofunato.
Image: U.S. Navy.
An aerial view of tsunami damage in an area north of Sendai, Japan, taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter. Image: U.S. Navy.An aerial view of tsunami damage in an area north of Sendai, Japan, taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter.
Image: U.S. Navy.
Empty instant noodle shelves in a supermarket in Tokyo due to stock being bought out on March 16, 2011, 5 days after the earthquake. Image: Kellykaneshiro.Empty instant noodle shelves in a supermarket in Tokyo due to stock being bought out on March 16, 2011, 5 days after the earthquake.
Image: Kellykaneshiro.
Residents wait in a line outside a convenience store to purchase groceries and supplies on March 13, two days after the earthquake and tsunami. Image: Hitomi.Residents wait in a line outside a convenience store to purchase groceries and supplies on March 13, two days after the earthquake and tsunami.
Image: Hitomi.
A blackout in Narashino, Chiba on March 15. Image: mikuaxe.A blackout in Narashino, Chiba on March 15.
Image: mikuaxe.
U.S. Navy sailors transfer humanitarian supplies from an aircraft carrier to a helicopter. Image: U.S. Navy.U.S. Navy sailors transfer humanitarian supplies from an aircraft carrier to a helicopter.
Image: U.S. Navy.
Japanese citizens receive supplies from the crew of a U.S. Navy helicopter. Image: U.S. Navy.Japanese citizens receive supplies from the crew of a U.S. Navy helicopter.
Image: U.S. Navy.
A closed petrol station in Tokyo on March 16. Image: LERK.A closed petrol station in Tokyo on March 16.
Image: LERK.
Entrance of the Japanese Embassy in Berlin after the earthquake and tsunami and subsequent accidents at the Fukushima Daichi power plant on March 15. Image: Jochen Jansen.Entrance of the Japanese Embassy in Berlin after the earthquake and tsunami and subsequent accidents at the Fukushima Daichi power plant on March 15.
Image: Jochen Jansen.
Russian people take flowers to the embassy of Japan in Moscow after the 2011 earthquake. Image: Elmor.Russian people take flowers to the embassy of Japan in Moscow after the 2011 earthquake.
Image: Elmor.



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  • Japan suggests dumping Fukushima waste at sea as radiation hits lethal levels
  • Estimated 300-ton radioactive leak at Fukushima rated ‘serious incident’ by watchdog
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company releases first figures on the extent of Fukushima leakage
  • U.S. Coast Guard unleashes cannon fire on abandoned Japanese ship
  • Japan nuclear disaster: areas to remain off-limits for decades
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March 17, 2011

Japan begins using helicopters to drop water on nuclear plant

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Earthquakes,Japan,Nuclear accidents,Tsunamis — admin @ 5:00 am

Japan begins using helicopters to drop water on nuclear plant

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

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  • 22 January 2015: Japanese Olympic judoka Hitoshi Saito dies aged 54
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Japanese military helicopters have begun to drop water on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in an effort to cool reactors.

The operation began at 0948 local time (0048 UTC) today, after similar efforts were ended early yesterday due to radiation. Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters dropped four loads of water on reactors three and four, with officials planning up to twelve more drops before crews are forced to leave the area due to radiation.

The water drops are intended to both cool the reactors and add water to pools that hold fuel rods. These pools are believed to be almost empty; if they run out of water the fuel rods can melt and release high levels of radiation. The storage pools have a capacity of about 2,000 tonnes of water, a third of that is needed to keep fuel rods submerged. Each helicopter can carry 7.5 tonnes of water at a time.

TV footage showed helicopters dropping water from about 300 feet above the reactors. Some time after the helicopters began to drop water, military trucks started using a water cannon to spray reactor three.

The crisis at the power plant has led to the evacuation of around 70,000 people who lived within 20 kilometres of the plant, while another 140,000 are under orders to stay inside. The United States has asked its citizens who are within 80 kilometres of the plant to leave.



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Timeline of the Fukushima nuclear accidents
2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami
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  • Japan suggests dumping Fukushima waste at sea as radiation hits lethal levels
  • Estimated 300-ton radioactive leak at Fukushima rated ‘serious incident’ by watchdog
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company releases first figures on the extent of Fukushima leakage
  • U.S. Coast Guard unleashes cannon fire on abandoned Japanese ship
  • Japan nuclear disaster: areas to remain off-limits for decades
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March 16, 2011

Japanese emperor makes live television appearance after earthquake

Japanese emperor makes live television appearance after earthquake

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

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Emperor Akihito said he was “deeply worried”

Akihito, the emperor of Japan, has made a live appearance on national television saying he was “deeply worried” after the earthquake and tsunami that hit last Friday. The emperor made his announcement shortly after technicians working to stabilise a nuclear plant temporarily abandoned it as radiation started to surge.

The emperor’s appearance caused television stations to interrupt scheduled programming. During his appearance he said “I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times.” The 77 year-old is deeply respected in Japan.

A statement by the Imperial household said Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko want to visit the area affected by the tsunami, but the important thing now is rescuing the victims. In 1995 the emperor and empress visited Kobe after an earthquake struck and killed 6,400 people.

Around 10,000 people are feared to be dead after the earthquake and tsunami hit the north-east coast of the country. More than 100 countries have offered rescue services in an attempt to save as many people as possible.



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March 15, 2011

Japan earthquake death toll estimated at over 10,000

Japan earthquake death toll estimated at over 10,000

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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The official death toll from the devastating Japanese earthquake that hit on Friday is now nearing 1,900, while police officials say that it is all but certain the final toll will be at least 10,000 people dead.

Bodies are still being recovered—2,000 thus far in the Miyagi Prefecture alone. The official count of those missing has now reached 2,300, though in one town alone, an estimated half of the 17,000 person population is still unaccounted for. Approximately 350,000 people have been left without homes; shelters are providing housing for the moment.

Due to infrastructure damage, survivors in the hard-hit northeast coast of Japan are coping with limited resources, including food, water and electricity. In the Iwate Prefecture, a government official stated that the incoming goods from relief efforts are only about ten percent of what is necessary.

At the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, a second explosion occurred on Monday at the building housing Reactor 3, following an explosion Saturday at the Reactor 1 building. Reactor 2 was also reported to have difficulties with its cooling system.



Sources

2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami
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  • Japan suggests dumping Fukushima waste at sea as radiation hits lethal levels
  • Estimated 300-ton radioactive leak at Fukushima rated ‘serious incident’ by watchdog
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company releases first figures on the extent of Fukushima leakage
  • U.S. Coast Guard unleashes cannon fire on abandoned Japanese ship
  • Japan nuclear disaster: areas to remain off-limits for decades
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Fukushima reactor suffers multiple fires, radiation leak confirmed

Fukushima reactor suffers multiple fires, radiation leak confirmed

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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  • 22 January 2015: Japanese Olympic judoka Hitoshi Saito dies aged 54
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Fires broke out at the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s No. 4 reactor in Japan on Tuesday, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company. The first fire caused a leak of concentrated radioactive material, according to the Japanese prime minister, Naoto Kan.

The first fire broke out at 9:40 a.m. local time on Tuesday, and was thought to have been put out, but another fire was discovered early on Wednesday, believed to have started because the earlier one had not been fully extinguished.

In a televised statement, the prime minister told residents near the plant that “I sincerely ask all citizens within the 20 km distance from the reactor to leave this zone.” He went on to say that “[t]he radiation level has risen substantially. The risk that radiation will leak from now on has risen.”

Kan warned residents to remain indoors and to shut windows and doors to avoid radiation poisoning.

The French Embassy in Japan reports that the radiation will reach Tokyo in 10 hours, with current wind speeds.



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2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami
Effect of 2011 Sendai earthquake in Tokyo (cropped).jpg
  • Japan suggests dumping Fukushima waste at sea as radiation hits lethal levels
  • Estimated 300-ton radioactive leak at Fukushima rated ‘serious incident’ by watchdog
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company releases first figures on the extent of Fukushima leakage
  • U.S. Coast Guard unleashes cannon fire on abandoned Japanese ship
  • Japan nuclear disaster: areas to remain off-limits for decades
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