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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Quoting MrstormX:
I think people suddenly freaking out about nuclear fission power across the U.S. and World is silly. Fukushima should teach lessons about engineering, and general mechanics which can be deployed on a global skill.

Nuclear Fission is safe when the right measures are taken, and more plants need to be built. When you think of oil and coal, and how they have been destroying the environment for decades; id rather have a clean safe Nuclear Plant any day.

I'd rather have "a clean safe Nuclear Plant", too. But perhaps your definition of "safe" and my definition differ somewhat...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13509
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
BREAKING NEWS

A fire has erupted in a fourth reactor at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, top Japanese official says.


The problem is, these reactors have probably overheated passed the ability to be cooled and stabilized. That fire is a result of Nuclear meltdown.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Kyodo: Hydrogen explosion occurs at Fukushima #4 reactor.


Please tell me the workers have been evacuated!
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Quoting Patrap:
Japanese Exchange dips below 9000,,and loses 13% in 2 Days.

Naw ,,nothing to worry bout here..

Then there is the Human Toll.

Theres ya problem Id say.


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.

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Quoting auburn:


Cool...see ya later!

:)
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Kyodo: Hydrogen explosion occurs at Fukushima #4 reactor.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13509
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...


The whole world is focused on it and rightfully so since it could impact us all.
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552. auburn (Mod)
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...


Cool...see ya later!
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I think people suddenly freaking out about nuclear fission power across the U.S. and World is silly. Fukushima should teach lessons about engineering, and general mechanics which can be deployed on a global skill.

Nuclear Fission is safe when the right measures are taken, and more plants need to be built. When you think of oil and coal, and how they have been destroying the environment for decades; id rather have a clean safe Nuclear Plant any day.
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550. srada
I dont understand the evacuation mile reasoning they are using..they have gone from 12 miles to only 19 miles even though the govt is saying that radiation levels are now where they can impact human health..Get some buses and get these people away from these plants!!
Member Since: August 17, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 773
Any comments on the SA Invest? Odd to see this in March.
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548. auburn (Mod)
Quoting Patrap:
Japanese Exchange dips below 9000,,and loses 13% in 2 Days.

Naw ,,nothing to worry bout here..

Then there is the Human Toll.

Theres ya problem Id say.


Well put...
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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...
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The Fallback solution leaves a Hot core,,that will maybe go exposed at some point.

They gonna have to cover it somehow.
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545. srada
Quoting mbjjm:
Each evening the news on the nuclear situation gets worst. Yesterday, We hear everything is fine , just a hydrogen blast no damage to vessel containing inner core,Tonight " radiation levels can affecdt human health". I can only image what they will say tommorrow night . Can we trust the information being supplied by the Japanese Government. Like any country they have there own economic and other interest to protect and would seek to downplay bad publicity to There needs to be independent verification on the situatiobn there.


From what CNN is reporting, the Japanese govt is not downplaying the situation anymore..there is a high level of urgency now to get these people out of harm way, they have evacuated most workers from the plant per CNN which says a lot, due to that the situation is lost and now its a matter of getting the hell out of dodge..
Member Since: August 17, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 773
Japanese Exchange dips below 9000,,and loses 13% in 2 Days.

Naw ,,nothing to worry bout here..

Then there is the Human Toll.

Theres ya problem I'd say.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Ok, some of you are going off the deep end again.

Worst case scenario... you have 4 meltdowns.. equivalent to 4 three mile islands.

That isn't even remotely close to what happened during the American nuclear weapons tests.

Its not the end of the world.
Well put, very well put.
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Quoting Patrap:
Maybe we should send out the Planetary Distress Signal?

We have to have a Planetary Distress Flare or Something?

I mean, c'mon man!


Spock would have a plan, and Kirk would get the Lady.

We need some straight dope about these reactor conditions or maybe some Drone flight sniffs as well.

This is not the time for Japan to save face and teeter totter with info,..they have a clear obligation to share as in real time..
the boys should just start air dropping tons and tons of concrete over the whole dam thing seal up sent it to hell
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53611
A very tired-looking NBC science chief Robert Bazell--who is in Tokyo--just dressed down MSNBC's Ed Schultz, telling him that while the situation at Fukushima wasn't anything to take lightly, the American media are greatly twisting and hyping the situation, as this is no Chernobyl, no way, now how, and nuclear power is still far safer than coal or oil or any other major source of energy. Ed didn't remind him that it was the PM who insisted everyone within 20km evacuate immediately; maybe he saw how tired Bazell wasm or NBC honchos had warned Schultz to defer to walker, or something. Anyway, an interesting exchange it was...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13509
Is it even possible to evacuate Tokyo?
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536. mbjjm
Each evening the news on the nuclear situation gets worst. Yesterday, We hear everything is fine , just a hydrogen blast no damage to vessel containing inner core,Tonight " radiation levels can affecdt human health". I can only image what they will say tommorrow night . Can we trust the information being supplied by the Japanese Government. Like any country they have there own economic and other interest to protect and would seek to downplay bad publicity to There needs to be independent verification on the situatiobn there.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Ok, some of you are going off the deep end again.

Worst case scenario... you have 4 meltdowns.. equivalent to 4 three mile islands.

That isn't even remotely close to what happened during the American nuclear weapons tests.

Its not the end of the world.
maybe not for us but them and all that come to help them
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53611
I have a ? if anyone here may know.

What sea water that is not being evaporated from the heat of the fuel would be returned to the sea radioactive? Or is there such a thing? Dumb ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ok, some of you are going off the deep end again.

Worst case scenario... you have 4 meltdowns.. equivalent to 4 three mile islands.

That isn't even remotely close to what happened during the American nuclear weapons tests.

Its not the end of the world.
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I'm assuming most people have evacuated the area around that plant, so thankfully if the "worst" does happen not to many people will get hurt.
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Quoting RecordSeason:
Why the heck are the spent fuel rods stored so close to the active reactors?

So what now? This stuff is going to burn and possibly the containment pools break under heat stresses and all of these spent rods and active rods become exposed?

This seems ridiculous, like some of the incompetent stuff you see in a disaster movie or even a "Space Balls" type spoof...

The possibility of the spent rods being exposed to air or even open flame now, in addition to the active reactors...jeez...


I hate to even ask this, but what happens if open flame hits the spent rods? Big boom?
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I'd be bugging out if in the zone esp downwind.

Make Haste and evacuate now.

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Complete Update





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Maybe we should send out the Planetary Distress Signal?

We have to have a Planetary Distress Flare or Something?

I mean, c'mon man!


Spock would have a plan, and Kirk would get the Lady.

We need some straight dope about these reactor conditions or maybe some Drone flight sniffs as well.

This is not the time for Japan to save face and teeter totter with info,..they have a clear obligation to share as in real time..
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This on CNN's Ticker

Official: Radiation levels at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are at "levels that can impact human health" #quake http://on.cnn.com/fpRk6P - @cnnbrk
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If anyone is intrested there's a storm in the south atlantic.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53611
521. mbjjm
Live Japan State Television in English
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Quoting flsky:
Sorry everyone for responding to the jerk's bait. He's on ignore from now on out.


The comment went totally over my head to be honest.
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BREAKING NEWS

A fire has erupted in a fourth reactor at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, top Japanese official says.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53611
"I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds" is a famous citation of Oppenheimer, J.Robert, who said it under the impression of the first atomic bomb having been detonated July 16th,1945.

In reference to the Trinity test in New Mexico, where his Los Alamos team first tested the bomb, Oppenheimer famously recalled the Bhagavad Gita: "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one." and "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
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My heart is just breaking. I have seen so much in my years, but never like this. Thousands of people are being told to evacuate or stay in doors. I do not know how populated the region may be, but I imagine it won't be easy to evacuate. Fuel & food shortages do not make things easier.

I also have an ominous feeling that I haven't seen the end of this story either. My gut tells me this could get worse -- much worse. I pray I am wrong.
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515. flsky
Sorry everyone for responding to the jerk's bait. He's on ignore from now on out.
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prepare the world for bad news
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53611
Quoting Patrap:
This is a bad thing.
we have seen nothing yet
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53611
They are unable to cool the fuel pool on reactor #4. Does this mean a meltdown is almost inevitable? That sounds very serious to me.
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What a mess. If mother nature don't break us, man surely will! Why does anyone deserve to wake up one day after ma nature had her way to the fact that was the good part?

God bless whomever this ongoing disaster will effect.
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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.

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