Radiation from Japan not likely to harm North America

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:53 PM GMT on March 14, 2011

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Radiation from Japan's stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been detected 100 miles to the northeast, over the Pacific Ocean, by the U.S. military. Westerly to southwesterly winds have predominated over Japan the past few days, carrying most of the radiation eastwards out to sea. The latest forecast for Sendai, Japan, located about 40 miles north of the Fukushima nuclear plant, calls for winds with a westerly component to dominate for the remainder of the week, with the exception of a 6-hour period on Tuesday. Thus, any radiation released by the nuclear plant will primarily affect Japan or blow out to sea. A good tool to predict the radiation cloud's path is NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model. The model uses the GFS model's winds to track the movement of a hypothetical release of a substance into the atmosphere. One can specify the altitude of the release as well as the location, and follow the trajectory for up to two weeks. However, given the highly chaotic nature of the atmosphere's winds, trajectories beyond about 3 days have huge uncertainties.One can get only a general idea of where a plume is headed beyond 3 days. I've been performing a number of runs of HYSPLIT over past few days, and so far great majority of these runs have taken plumes of radioactivity emitted from Japan's east coast eastwards over the Pacific, with the plumes staying over water for at least 5 days. Some of the plumes move over eastern Siberia, Alaska, Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in 5 - 7 days. Such a long time spent over water will mean that the vast majority of the radioactive particles will settle out of the atmosphere or get caught up in precipitation and rained out. It is highly unlikely that any radiation capable of causing harm to people will be left in atmosphere after seven days and 2000+ miles of travel distance. Even the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which had a far more serious release of radioactivity, was unable to spread significant contamination more than about 1000 miles.


Figure 1. Forecast 7-day movement of a plume of radioactive plume of air emitted at 12 UTC Saturday, March 12, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Radioactivity emitted at 2 levels is tracked: 100 meters (red) and 300 meters (blue). Images created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.


Figure 2. Forecast 7-day movement of a plume of radioactive plume of air emitted at 12 UTC Sunday, March 13, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Radioactivity emitted at 2 levels is tracked: 100 meters (red) and 300 meters (blue). Images created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.


Figure 3. Forecast 7-day movement of a plume of radioactive plume of air emitted at 12 UTC Monday, March 14, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Radioactivity emitted at 2 levels is tracked: 100 meters (red) and 300 meters (blue). Images created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.

I'll have an update Tuesday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Excerpt from LA Times article published 1 hr. ago:

In a nationally televised speech, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the radiation level spreading from the plant "seems very high, and there is still a risk of more radiation coming out."

Kan said 400 millisieverts of radiation were detected at the plant at about 10:30. That is 20 times the amount a radiation worker may be exposed to annually.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said, "Now we are talking about levels that can damage human health. These are readings taken near the area where we believe the releases are happening. Far away, the levels should be lower."

To further complicate the situation, the prevailing winds have shifted and are no longer blowing offshore, but are now wafting the radioactivity in a southerly direction toward Tokyo. The French Embassy said the plume should reach that city in about 10 hours, but unless the radiation release increases substantially, experts believe it will be sufficiently diluted by then to not present a problem.

thomas.maugh@latimes.com

Times staff writer Ralph Vartabedian and Times news services contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

LinktoLATimesStory
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11322
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


they where above sea level think... 33 ft tsunami wave


Think.... Whats the first thing that comes after an earthquake on a tiny island! I know, a tsunami! Do I get a cookie! And to think, I never built a nuclear power plant. WOW!
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#0408: However, a Tokyo government officials says the radiation levels in the city are not seen as harmful to human health, the AFP adds.

#0402: Higher than normal radiation levels are detected in Tokyo, the AFP is quoting the city government as saying.
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Quoting MrMixon:
I'm still relatively new at interpreting these model forecast maps, but it looks like the GFS is predicting predominantly onshore winds in the Fukushima vicinity for at least 24 hours before winds swing around to blow offshore again.


Correct... and snow starting Wend.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Thats like saying NOLA is below sea level, and in a Hurricane zone.. shouldn't they have thought of that?


Yes they should have, Sorry Pat!
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I'm still relatively new at interpreting these model forecast maps, but it looks like the GFS is predicting predominantly onshore winds in the Fukushima vicinity for at least 24 hours before winds swing around to blow offshore again.
Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
#
0402: Higher than normal radiation levels are detected in Tokyo, the AFP is quoting the city government as saying.
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601. flsky
An onsite account from locals.
Link
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Thanks, Dr. Jeff for the reassurances. There is so much speculation from folks who know little to nothing about predicting weather. We continue to pray for those in the control rooms of the nuc plants in Japan and for the technicians trying to make a go of cooling those rods.

As we live near a nuc plant in the states (my hubby works there), I know firsthand how often the news media reports happening at the plant incorrectly. Sometimes they just make up something complete different from any press releases! I can imagine this is multiplied by the high level of coverage and the desire to keep folks in Japan from panicking.

Again, thanks for the voice of reason, Dr. Jeff!

Theresa 8-)
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Speed / Dir15 mph from NE

Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11322
Quoting Patrap:


inception? are we all in a dream?
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How a Reactor Shuts Down and What Happens in a Meltdown
The operating reactors at Fukushima Daiichi power station automatically shut down during the earthquake.

But after subsequent cooling failures, two of them went into partial meltdown.

Link
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You did not get this from me.

I was never here.

NBC Training USMC


(f) IPE Employment. Commanders and NBC personnel
must consider heat stress created while wearing IPE, especially
during hot weather. An adequate water supply must be made
available at the exercise site and personnel are encouraged to
drink plenty of water prior to, during, and after the exercise.
(g) Wearing of contact lenses while training with CS
agents is prohibited. Individuals who normally wear contact
lenses must remove them and use properly fitted optical inserts.
(h) A safety vehicle equipped with sufficient
communications and medical equipment, and with a
nonparticipating driver and Corpsman familiar with the effects
of CS and heat stress, will be present during the exercise. To
prevent personal contamination, the Corpsman must be equipped to
be able to don his/her mask and gloves when treating and
transporting casualties. The Corpsman must don his/her field
protective mask and IPE prior to rendering assistance to a
casualty in the chamber. The driver must exercise caution to
avoid becoming contaminated during transport of casualty.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259
593. JRRP
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11.31am There is an increasing view that we are watching the second-worst nuclear accident in history, after Chernobyl. The UK Telegraph says today the third blast raises the spectre of a nuclear nightmare. An excerpt from that story:

The Fukushima crisis now rates as a more serious accident than the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in the US in 1979, and is second only to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, according to the French nuclear safety authority. After insisting for three days that the situation was under control, Japan urgently appealed to US and UN nuclear experts for technical help on preventing white-hot fuel rods melting.

And this just in: the radiation level at Fukushima rose to 8217 micro sievert per hour for a short period this morning. This is more than eight times the 1000 micro sievert level to which people are normally exposed in a year.

As a result, people in the surrounding area will likely suffer radiation sickness, and there have been reports that the people working at the plant to try and solve the problem of the exposed rods have been showing symptoms. The main risk with radiation sickness is infections because the body has trouble fighting off germs, and longer term there is a greatly increased risk of developing various cancers. Many people who get radiation sickness can survive, however.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/world/magnitude-quake-strik es-japan/story-e6frfkyi-1226019903430#ixzz1GdWnjXB w
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Quoting doorman79:
Another thing, wasn't this whole thing caused by the back up generators being flooded? Why weren't the generators above sea level? Japan is in an earthquake zone, and a small island. Shouldn't they have thought of that?


Thats like saying NOLA is below sea level, and in a Hurricane zone.. shouldn't they have thought of that?
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SOMA, Japan — Japan's nuclear safety agency says a fire in a reactor at a crippled nuclear power plant in tsunami-ravaged northeastern Japan has been extinguished.

source: AP Link
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Quoting doorman79:
Another thing, wasn't this whole thing caused by the back up generators being flooded? Why weren't the generators above sea level? Japan is in an earthquake zone, and a small island. Shouldn't they have thought of that?


they where above sea level think... 33 ft tsunami wave
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Quoting KrippleCreekFerry:
these reactors have 6 feet of containment. Alll radiation will be contained. This is no Chernobyl..

Filsky, I have been filtering you for quie awhile. You're intolerant.

Seems like some is not contained....
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Quoting KrippleCreekFerry:
these reactors have 6 feet of containment. Alll radiation will be contained. This is no Chernobyl..

Filsky, I have been filtering you for quie awhile. You're intolerant.


1 of the reactors has already breached the containment. it would only take a good earthquake again to cause major problems very fast
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Oh this should send some people on here nuts... anyone want to buy some Kelp tablets?

#
0337: A low level radioactive wind could reach Tokyo in 10 hours, Reuters is quoting the French embassy in the Japanese capital as saying.
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Another thing, wasn't this whole thing caused by the back up generators being flooded? Why weren't the generators above sea level? Japan is in an earthquake zone, and a small island. Shouldn't they have thought of that?
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Quoting jwh250:
Fire at No.4 reactor apparently put out: Tokyo Electric (12:04)


Well that could be good news...link?
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 87
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259
Quoting CosmicEvents:
It's not just people around the world losing money. It's people all over the world, even if you don't have a single share of stock. Markets could ripple effect down all across the world. That effects all of us as it trickles down. The losses always trickle down to all, but the gains yield no benefit to all.
.
.
In any case, that's a side issue, a potentially serious side issue, but still just that for now. The main concern right now is obviously human and environmental radiation damage.


Trickle down= get on your knees and beg. G.E. made their money, the power company made theirs, now the people have to suffer. Like I said, what ma nature won't take, man will!
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14-17% of Japanese homes have earthquake insurance according to CNN. Many of these homes will never be re-built. The suffering will last a long time.
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Quoting doorman79:


Don't think for one minute that a stock exchange cares about any lives. Maybe the loss of productivity from them, but not the people. That being said, ain't it funny how someone across the world can lose money cause people elsewhere lost their lives? I would be willing to bet they are trying to find ways to invest in funeral homes.

It's not just people around the world losing money. It's people all over the world, even if you don't have a single share of stock. Markets could ripple effect down all across the world. That effects all of us as it trickles down. The losses always trickle down to all, but the gains yield no benefit to all.
.
.
In any case, that's a side issue, a potentially serious side issue, but still just that for now. The main concern right now is obviously human and environmental radiation damage.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Hmmm since everyone is brainwashed with the Japanese natrual disaster/reacter melt down I shall return in about a weeks time or.....in 2 months time...
If your going to insult people, do it with correct spelling at the very least.
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The crud has just hit the fan in Fukushima. Full details here.
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Quoting Jedkins01:


The problem is, these reactors have probably overheated passed the ability to be cooled and stabilized. That fire is a result of Nuclear meltdown.



It's just a big friggin mess. #4 being out of commission and all. I'd have to say though, keeping 4 reactors in check, kinda, with the available resources in the area is rather remarkable.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i think ya may want to stick around the main coarse is coming up next


I hope this is not the main coarse your saying.

Japan reactor fire releases radiation

A FIRE is burning at the No.4 nuclear reactor at Japan's stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant, Prime Minister Naoto Kan confirmed today, warning that dangerously high levels of radiation are leaking from the area.

Delivering a message to the nation, Kan said people within a 20km radius of the plant should evacuate, while those a further 10km away should keep indoors and shut windows.

Authorities said they were doing everything possible to extinguish the fire at the No.4 reactor as the crisis engulfing the nation's nuclear industry following Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami worsens.

The blaze comes after explosions at the No.1 and No.3 reactors at the Fukushima plant, which is about 240km north of Tokyo, over the weekend, and a further blast at the No.2 reactor this morning.

"Radiation has spread from these reactors and the level seems very high," Mr Kan warned, with officials confirming the levels posed a threat to human health.
Mr Kan said people still working at the plant were putting themselves in a very dangerous situation in a bid to stop any more explosions or leaking of radiation.

"I would like to ask the nation - although this is an incident of great concern - I request that you act very calmly," he said.

Earlier, officials confirmed a blast had hit the No.2 reactor at 6.10am local time today.

The explosion was described as "huge" by a spokesman for the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and workers were evacuated from the reactor area, according to the Jiji news agency.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Hmmm since everyone is brainwashed with the Japanese natrual disaster/reacter melt down I shall return in about a weeks time or.....in 2 months time...
i think ya may want to stick around the main coarse is coming up next
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53809
I have been examining the coastline impacted from the EQ in Japan on Google earth and others. You can do the same on Google earth.

It is quite telling with respect to coastline, fluid dynamics and location, location , location. It is similar to a storm surge with a different kind of storm, but different. We shall learn much from this on many fronts. Check it for yourself.

I just hope the 5+ aftershocks stop soon. This has never happened for so long or strong that I can find in any records. Scary stuff for sure. Let's hope there is no next~ !

Sorry no links available with a dynamic interface site, you will have to drill for it/

In a situation as such, anyone would have been helpless! Fortunately, they were as prepared as anyone could have been. Still, we face the consequences of life on the pale blue dot/







Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
565. flsky
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
- Albert Einstein
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564. srada
Quoting RecordSeason:


You uh...realize most of the roads in the effected areas are either covered in debris or faulted in half by several feet... additionally, most of the automobiles in the effected areas have been destroyed anyway.

So there are no roads to travel on, and no automobiles to put people in anyway.


Im sure these people are not limited to only 19 miles of evacuation..the western/eastern and southern parts of Japan did not have the tsunami damage (at least I hope so) so Im sure there are other buses in Japan besides the northern part that are still functioning..the roads may be somewhat of an issue but I dont think it enough of an issue that they cant leave..fuel yes, roads, no..
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Of course I'm not on expert on Nuclear physics or anything, just from what I know, the reactor that suffered that large explosion and now a fire raging there is a sign of either complete failure or leading in that direction.


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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.