Quake in Japan

Posted By: Marty

Quake in Japan - 03/11/11 04:24 PM

I quote from someone living there :

My family and all relatives are OK.
All public transportation systems in Tokyo are not working.
The earthquake recorded Magnitude 8.8 which is the strongest in Japanese history.
Severe damages due to earthquake and TSUNAMI in TOHOKU area are reported
and many nuclear generators are automatically shutdown.
At this writing 23 dead is reported.
Japan situation is becoming much worse than Libya,due to this quake
in addition to political instability and worsening economy.
Posted By: seashell

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/11/11 04:27 PM

Last read 300 dead. frown
Posted By: collyk

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/11/11 05:02 PM

Devastating. Our heart goes out to friends that live there and are effected by this terrible tragedy.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/11/11 06:17 PM


We are being struck by many strong aftershock but OK.

Casualty may reach 1,000.
We thank for many offers from foreign countries such as EU, Russia, China
and Korea to send rescue teams.

Present concern is that Tokyo Electric's nuclear generator's emergency core
cooling system
is not working due to power failure.
If the system can not recover , we will be struck by Chernobyl-like
The generator is located at Fukushima Pref. and government ordered
evacuation for people living within 3km radius of the
generator. This resembles four-engine flame-out of the 747!

I do hope emergency diesel power generator will restart soon before
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/11/11 11:06 PM

Still big problems with the cooling systems of the nuclear reactors:
Posted By: ragman

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/12/11 02:25 PM

The latest news is that it wasn't an explosion and the Reactor Core is fine. They are working with worldwide cooperation to keep it that way. Hopefully they will be successful. The word explosion is used sometimes by the media when they talk about Nuclear. It sells newspapers I guess. The nuclear part of it cannot explode. The only thing that I can think might happen is a fire maybe or the over pressurization of a pressure vessel.

Never has there been an outside event of this magnitude effected a Nuclear Plant. So far there hasn't been any injuries or excessive radiation outside of the plant to the best of my knowledge. It will take weeks to understand fully and hopefully they will keep the situation under control. The cooling of the reactor is the most critical. What is learned here will be used to improve design or upgrade as necessary. The evacuations are a wise precaution.

Risk assessment will again take place in both the public and scientific arenas. It would be a shame to have to write off this important source of clean energy which is still the only real alternative to fossil fuel, at least at the moment. This is definitely a setback though. Hope what we learn from this will make will bring us closer to better design solutions.

Posted By: ragman

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/12/11 03:44 PM

The latest news is that 3 people have been over exposed to radiation but where were these people in proximity to the reactor. In the building or a mile away? Also what level of radiation are they talking? Someone on the news said they received an overdose equal to what a person would get from everyday sources in a year. Bad but not real bad.

Also when I talked about pressure vessels above I'm not talking about the core. I'm talk about tanks like Air Tanks and many other pressure type vessels which are in any power plant. These tanks may have water in them and a fire can make the water into steam that could pressurize the vessel above its maximum safe working pressure.

Again there are quickly unfolding events talking place here and hopefully the damage is minimal but rightly so there is a lot of interest in this and I hope they keep the hysteria to a minimun. The foes of Nuclear of course are having a field day after being domant for years.
Posted By: Hon

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/12/11 04:03 PM

Dan thinks it's likely that it was a hydrogen explosion in the generator building where hydrogen gas is used as a coolant for the turbines. Not good but not nearly a serious as an explosion in the reactor building itself.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/12/11 05:24 PM

from a friend....

Well, that wasn't the greatest night of my life. Thanks for the
thoughts and we're all fine here. Power was only restored 45 minutes ago
after being out for about 21 hours. They cut the power immediately to about
8 million houses. They didn't in one place and 5 sq km of houses went up in
flames. Apparently the tsunami that hit Fukushima prefecture was 7.3 metres
high and washed a complete village out to sea. Our house has suffered in
that large internal cracks have appeared but I'm amazed that it's still
standing at all. When it became clear that anything that wasn't already on
the floor soon would be, I evacuated the house and was standing on the road
outside in the same manner as a surfer stands on a surfboard. Basically, in
the past 21 hours we have had about 40 earthquakes, of which 4 were severe
and 1 was extremely severe. In fact, they're still going on as I type.

In my time in Japan, that is my 70th earthquake. When I was a whole
lot younger I once said that I would like to experience a hurricane and an
earthquake. I think I'll pass on that hurricane......
Posted By: Marty

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/12/11 06:37 PM

Swaying buildings

Posted By: ragman

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/12/11 09:39 PM

Hon, Yes, that is a possibility. Hydrogen which has less windage than air and has the capability to dissipate heat faster. It is used in just about every large generator for cooling that I know of. The turbine building is isolated and protected pretty well by fire protection devices in Nuclear plants but H2 is dangerous and an explosion there is possible.

My experience has been that fire usually starts because of the hydrogen and not an explosion but of course that is possible. About 8 years or so ago I was one of the lead engineers on an investigation of a generator hydrogen and lube oil fire that caused, I think $ 50 mil. in damages. This happened in South Boston, MA at the L St. Plant. There was an incident in which the turbine suffered major damage as did the H2 seal on the turbine end of the generator. In addition the fire was fueled by a 10,000 gal. Lube oil system that was spraying oil in the area when the bearing cap lifted. It took quite a while before they could enter the closed up building and shut down the Lube oil pumps. It happened during cold weather and the building almost immediately filled with smoke. The unit never ran again and the whole plant was decommissioned a few years later. This was a fossil fuel gas burning plant at the time of the incident. We have had a couple of other less damaging H2 fires in my career. The point is there was a lot of fire in that incident for quite a long time but luckily no explosion.

There could be many sources of an explosion in the secondary part of a Nuclear plant and some could be of the hydrogen system, generator, gas bottles, and many other types of pressure vessels. It is safe to say though that the source will not be the reactor vessel, reactor fuel, or anything like that.

This is going to take a while to sort out. I'm retired now or I would pick up the phone and see what the scuttlebutt is although it is even way too early for that.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/13/11 12:43 AM

The Japan Earthquakes are continuing.

Red are within the last hour. Many of those are ranging from 5.0 to 7.0
Posted By: ragman

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/13/11 04:41 AM

Hon, The latest out is that the explosion was caused by H2 but not the H2 used to cool the generator. From what I can gather some of the fuel rods may have overheated and gave off some H2 gas which had to be vented into the reactor building. This is a different scenario which is much more serious than a generator fire or explosion. Information is hard to come by and this on going event is not going to be fully explained for some time.

Inside that superheated steel vessel, water being poured over the fuel rods to cool them formed hydrogen. When officials released some of the hydrogen gas to relieve pressure inside the reactor, the hydrogen apparently reacted with oxygen, either in the air or the cooling water, and caused the explosion

PS This whole castastrophe is not going to be good for Japan, I guess that goes with saying but I wonder what effect this will have on the world economy? Not good I'll bet. Our prayers should be with these people this is just terrible. Huge loss of life and a huge loss to their economy.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/13/11 02:58 PM

The New York Times has published stunning before-and-after satellite photos of areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

Posted By: Hon

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/13/11 03:15 PM

For ragman...

Marty, those pictures are stunning indeed.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/22/11 03:23 PM

Environmentalists have long been fond of saying that the sun is the only safe nuclear reactor, situated as it is some ninety-three million miles away.
Posted By: Rykat

Re: Quake in Japan - 03/22/11 04:51 PM

environmentalists are fond of saying a lot of things
Posted By: Marty

Re: Quake in Japan - 04/12/11 03:17 PM

From Japan.....

What I said about it tailing off? Forget it! We had 18 here yesterday and weíve had 9 so far today and itís not 10 a.m. yet! One of the ones yesterday is shown in your picture as a big one off Sendai. That was M7.1 and it shook my house quite violently. I live just south of the arrow-shaped lake north-east of Tokyo. My hanging lights were clinking together uncontrollably, and I got as far as the front door thinking that evacuation was on the cards. Thatís when it started to subside. Today we have had a M6.3 but it was just off the coast near here so the effect here was the same as the M7.1 last night. Strictly, last nightís was assessed as intensity 5 on the local scale and todayís as intensity 5-. The local scale goes from 1 to 7. The M7.1 quake was intensity 6+ in Sendai. It still staggers me to think that, in the M9.0 quake, which was centred I believe on Kesennuma Ė 350km from here Ė caused the ground beneath my feet to heave, and therefore all the ground for at least a 350km radius must also have been heaving. Thatís an extraordinary amount of land waving about like a sea. Astounding.

One thing that always concerned me was that the stresses in the crust caused by the M9.0 quake would create other stresses farther along the fault line, perhaps to the south nearer us. Itís the spur of land to the east of Tokyo that is the marker for us. Thatís where this morningís M6.3 was, and it certainly appears that the seismic activity is picking up again, presumably for those reasons of increased stresses. I just hope there isnít a really big one again. The M9.0 was the 4th biggest in history so I think (and hope) that itís reasonable to assume that anything like that is unlikely to happen again in my lifetime.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Quake in Japan - 05/12/11 03:47 PM

from a friend in Japan...

The table below shows the incidence and average magnitude of earthquakes since the 11th March. I should point out that these are only the earthquakes that have affected me!

Week No of Earthquakes Av. Magnitude

1 131 5.4
2 31 5.2
3 16 4.9
4 20 4.6
5 50 4.8
6 24 4.5
7 12 4.9
8 14 4.7
9 13 4.3

It seems to show that there was a progressive quietening over the first month, then another major spate of activity followed by another quietening. If thereís going to be another increase in activity after another month, it should start about now. I hope not, as weíre still averaging about 2 earthquakes per day which is about 20 times the norm that we had over the whole of last year. In other words thereís still a lot of activity going on but it does seem to be diminishing in both frequency and magnitude Ė as one would expect.

FYI as I was typing, I had to adjust the week 9 figures from 12 to 13 and 4.4 to 4.3!
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