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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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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30 KM radius asked to stay indoors....
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29384
Quoting pottery:
Good Evening all.
actually, you can leave-out the 'good' part...

what a mess.
we got to do a mass evac of that place and like now the sooner the better get out the living come back for the dead
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54302
Some experts suggested all within 30km evacuate, but the Prime Minister overrode them, and said evacuate only within 20km; those between 20km and 30km need to stay indoors. Assuming they have an indoors.

Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13549
This is a bad thing.
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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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Last night I thought the situation couldn't possibly get worse, but time after time, it does. This is certainly going to go down in history.
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Quoting jwh250:
NHK World TV (English translation)


Thanx for the linkie dinkie


Domo aarogotto
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Everyone within 20km of the plant need to evacuate immediately.
But can they get out?
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Evening all.

I would just like to say that we have discussed almost no weather since the end of January. It has been one freaky earthquake season....

I'm hoping they can get the reactor situation under control sooner rather than later, but not feeling so optimistic about it anymore...
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Everyone within 20km of the plant need to evacuate immediately.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13549
In some of the pictures of the tsunami devastation I see areas where there is deep water where the town used to be, is this caused be the land dropping after the quake? I know something like that could and has occurred of the coast of Washington and Oregon, i though that mega-thrust quakes caused the land to drop after the tension was released at the fault where the sea floor is subducting. I wasn't sure in the same thing happens for a back-arc basin / subducting plate boundary like Japan.
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494. The addendum is most alarming.
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Calamity has come to Japan on a National scale, Thousands are dead and tens of thousands are unaccounted for as well.
Whole communities and families are changed forever.

The best prepared Country in the world has been defeated in a almost military fashion.

All her Tsunamni defenses and all the infrastructure was attack by ground,sea forces and her roads,bridges and communication cut.

Now Radiation is poised to be unleashed hopefully,,not from a total meltdown.

Rescue and relocating thousands are in full ramp up mode,,as time and cold become enemies to the first responders.

Shock and 3 day adrenaline surges has worn down those doing the most since the event.They are worn and most need help Im sure just to continue on,,as some surely are.


The Psychological and social impacts are great and havent been seen in Japan since WW-2.

New generations will now come to bear their talents and the Globe must respond in kind as well.


We at portlight are focusing on the Disabled community needs as that's what we do.
Were getting the Atlanta Warehouse in GO mode to send what we have as quick as we can.

Please Help us Help Japan.





portlight.org
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Nah, he didn't mention any particular unit; he just basically said, "Good evening. Please stay calm. Thank you." He was asked about the #2, and said, "You'll have to talk to TEPCO about specifics."

Oh, well...


This is like a bad "end of world movie". When the President says to stay calm you know the end is near. Of course, those are just movies, right?
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Quoting Orcasystems:
2Japanese PM Naoto Kan is expected to hold a news briefing at 0200 (see 0139 entry).

I bet we find out about a breach of #2

Nah, he didn't mention any particular unit; he just basically said, "Good evening. Please stay calm. Thank you." He was asked about the #2, and said, "You'll have to talk to TEPCO about specifics."

Oh, well...

ADDENDUM: Unit #4 now on fire. (This unit is offline, but spent fuel rods are still there.) It exploded, but not as dramatically as units #1 or #3; the ceiling merely fell into the building. Radioactive substances are being released, and the fire is yet uncontained.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13549
493. flsky
Japanese quake shortens earth day.

Link
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Good Evening all.
actually, you can leave-out the 'good' part...

what a mess.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
The explosions that rocked reactors #1 and #3 were caused by high temperature hydrogen in steam reacting with oxygen. The explosions may have damaged cooling pools. The pools, as deep as 30 meters, hold fuel rods that have been used in the reactor. The rods are cooled for several years to prevent a fire or the release of radionuclides.

But after its outer building exploded today, satellite photos of reactor #3 showed fallen fuel cask cranes and damage to various concrete structures, said Alvarez. The pools are massive, reinforced structures built of concrete and steel as much as a meter thick. Were they damaged? Alvarez wondered whether apparent steam plumes visible in the photos were water coming off of the spent fuel pool.

Loss of water from the pools could lead the spent fuel to rise in temperature, causing the zirconium cladding which encases the fuel rods to catch on fire. Zirconium fires could lead to massive amounts of radioactive cesium being emitted from the spent fuel and spewed into the atmosphere as part of the smoke. - news.sciencemag.org
comment by Musto at 9:12 PM


Cooling ponds are quite a bit different than the suppression pools.

The danger would depend on how long the rods have been stored there and how many of them there are. There is still significantly more risk from a live core as it can put out a lot more heat and material.

Regardless, without further investigation it's only speculation whether or not there was damage. There is a lot of water and a lot of heat in the reactor building, so a cursory inspection isn't going to reveal much.

Now if the steam glows in the dark, the would indicate radiation exposure. But whether that's from the cooling pond or the reactor itself would still be a guess without investigation.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1494
2Japanese PM Naoto Kan is expected to hold a news briefing at 0200 (see 0139 entry).

I bet we find out about a breach of #2
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Quoting alfabob:
I believe something like the following may have occurred with reactors 2 and 3 due to the use of MOX (allowing for substantially hotter and faster forming corium).

"At the point at which the corium relocates to the lower plenum, Haskin, et al relate that the possibility exists for an incident called a fuel-coolant interaction (FCI) to substantially stress or breach the primary pressure boundary when the corium relocates to the lower plenum of the reactor pressure vessel ("RPV").[9] This is because the lower plenum of the RPV may have a substantial quantity of water - the reactor coolant - in it, and, assuming the primary system has not been depressurized, the water will likely be in the liquid phase, and consequently dense, and at a vastly lower temperature than the corium. Since corium is a liquid metal-ceramic eutectic at temperatures of 2,200 to 3,200 K (3,500 to 5,300 F), its fall into liquid water at 550 to 600 K (530 to 620 F) may cause an extremely rapid evolution of steam that could cause a sudden extreme overpressure and consequent gross structural failure of the primary system or RPV.[9] Though most modern studies hold that it is physically infeasible, or at least extraordinarily unlikely, Haskin, et al state that that there exists a remote possibility of an extremely violent FCI leading to something referred to as an alpha-mode failure, or the gross failure of the RPV itself, and subsequent ejection of the upper plenum of the RPV as a missile against the inside of the containment, which would likely lead to the failure of the containment and release of the fission products of the core to the outside environment without any substantial decay having taken place.[10]" Link


And again, I will point out that this is pure speculation with no corroborating evidence. The radiation levels do not indicate a breach of that magnitude, nor have there been any other physical signs of a significant radiation release.

I don't have any issues with people speculating with what "could" or "might" happen. But when it comes to what has happened, stick to the facts.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1494


http://www.searchdogfoundation.org/98/html/index. html

Link





March 13, 5:35 PM PST - SDF SEARCH TEAMS HEADING TO OFUNATO CITY

CA-TF2 is working out the transportation plan to the Ofunato City area on the North East coast of Japan. Half of the Team will be working in the area of Ofunato City conducting reconnaissance and primary searches. The other half of the team will be assisting with logistics and equipment prep at the Misawa Air Base.
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typhoonfury (James Reynolds)is now tweeting from Japan.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting alfabob:


MOX is more dangerous to use in reactors as it has a lower melting point and can undergo elongation more easily (and reach meltdown more quickly). They use MOX because they have vast amounts of plutonium left over from dismantled nuclear warheads. So in essence it's not more environmentally friendly, we've already done the damage to the environment to obtain it; nuclear waste is a byproduct of obtaining plutonium.

Hopefully in the future there will be more heavy investments in thorium reactors; less pollution and much more available fuel.


As opposed to leaving the plutonium lying around?

Plutonium is a waste product from nuclear reactors. Toward the end of a normal UO2 fuel rods life, pretty much all the remaining energy in the rod is coming from bred plutonium. With breeder reactors, this waste material (plutonium, uranium, and other elements) can be reprocessed back into useable nuclear fuel.

MOX is useful for disposing of plutonium from warheads AND spent nuclear fuel, as the mixture ends up burning off almost all the plutonium.

The melt temperature of MOX is dependent upon the mixture of plutonium, which is usually pretty low. While this lowers the meltdown temperature, if tyou are already seeing temperature this high you've already got a problem. On the plus side, the temperature isn't hot enough to melt steel at liquification so as long as the heat transfer is high enough the vessel may remain intact.

Aside from thorium, they should also allow the use of breeder reactors again so we can greatly reduce our waste stockpile, while at the same time get a whole lot more energy to boot.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54302
481. flsky
a href=" " target="_blank">Link
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Quoting SquallyWx:


I did that and even viewed it in preview mode but did not work when I hit the post. I guess it may just be the youtubes.


You have to click on use old embed code...
copy the code completly and paste it directly...

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
479. flsky
Quoting KrippleCreekFerry:
maybe Sean Penn and Lighthouse can save the day in Japan.

You're a jerk....
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478. Skyepony (Mod)
Seventeen U.S. Navy crew members have been contaminated with low-levels of radiation during disaster relief missions in Japan, military officials said Monday. The radioactivity was detected when the service members returned to the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan aboard three helicopters. They were treated with soap and water and their clothes were discarded. "No further contamination was detected," the military said. The helicopters were also decontaminated. The U.S. 7th Fleet, positioned about 100 miles northeast of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to deliver aid to Japan's coastal region, moved its ships further away due to "airborne radioactivity" and contamination found on its planes. The military noted, however, that the level of contamination was very low, and the ship movement was merely a precaution. "For perspective, the maximum potential radiation dose received by any ship's force personnel aboard the ship when it passed through the area was less than the radiation exposure received from about one month of exposure to natural background radiation from sources such as rocks, soil, and the sun," the Navy said. The Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered a second explosion Sunday. At least six workers at the plant were injured in the blast, officials said. A smaller explosion rocked the plant on Saturday. Radioactive steam was vented recently from the plant in order to ease pressure on the reactors and prevent another meltdown, CNN reported. It is believe that a meltdown previously occurred in at least one of the reactors in the last few days. "We remain totally committed to our mission of providing assistance to the people of Japan," Navy spokesman Jeff Davis said.
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Do the following:

Every Youtube video has some buttons underneath them. Like/Add to/Share/EmbedClick on EmbedThe embeded code will appear... with a copule of checkmark boxesBefore copying it --click on Use old embed code and select the size you want to embed... I usually use the 480x390Select the size by clicking on it; that will update the embed codeFinally, select the embeded code, copy and paste to the blog (directly)Hope this helps...


I did that and even viewed it in preview mode but did not work when I hit the post. I guess it may just be the youtubes.
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Quoting ParkerPark:


Just post the link.


Try try again.

Link
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Quoting SquallyWx:
464. I give up I do not know how to use the youtubes or the tweeters


Do the following:

Every Youtube video has some buttons underneath them. Like/Add to/Share/Embed

Click on Embed
The embeded code will appear... with a copule of checkmark boxes

Before copying it --click on

Use old embed code and select the size you want to embed...
I usually use the 480x390

Select the size by clicking on it; that will update the embed code

Finally, select the embeded code, copy and paste to the blog (directly)
Hope this helps...
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
Quoting SquallyWx:
464. I give up I do not know how to use the youtubes or the tweeters


Just post the link.
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second view - this one from MSNBC

Officers look at a Mitsubishi F-2 fighter aircraft that was swept by the tsunami into a building at Matsushima base in Higashimatsushima, Iwate prefecture on Monday.

Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting sirmaelstrom:


Serviceable translation here via Babelfish.


Thanks..
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
Quoting WatchingThisOne:


Did Chernobyl let loose any Pu-239? Reactor no. 3 may well do so.


According to several studies, the most recent one being from Sweden in 2008, there was a small amount of plutonium contamination. Fortunately Chernobyl wasn't being used for weapons production or it would have been a lot higher.

But as noted, plutonium isn't the biggest concern:
Based on chemical toxicity alone, the element is less dangerous than arsenic or cyanide and about the same as caffeine.

It's also an alpha emitter, so as long as it stays on the outside of your body your fine.

The really dangerous elements are the ones that can be absorbed easily by the body and remain there for extended periods of time. Cesium and Iodine, for example, are made in much higher percentages, are gamma emitters (can penetrate the skin), and are easily absorbed into the body through ingestion and inhalation.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1494
The explosions that rocked reactors #1 and #3 were caused by high temperature hydrogen in steam reacting with oxygen. The explosions may have damaged cooling pools. The pools, as deep as 30 meters, hold fuel rods that have been used in the reactor. The rods are cooled for several years to prevent a fire or the release of radionuclides.

But after its outer building exploded today, satellite photos of reactor #3 showed fallen fuel cask cranes and damage to various concrete structures, said Alvarez. The pools are massive, reinforced structures built of concrete and steel as much as a meter thick. Were they damaged? Alvarez wondered whether apparent steam plumes visible in the photos were water coming off of the spent fuel pool.

Loss of water from the pools could lead the spent fuel to rise in temperature, causing the zirconium cladding which encases the fuel rods to catch on fire. Zirconium fires could lead to massive amounts of radioactive cesium being emitted from the spent fuel and spewed into the atmosphere as part of the smoke. - news.sciencemag.org
comment by Musto at 9:12 PM
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
If the corium breeches,,they gonna need cement drops from above or other
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464. I give up I do not know how to use the youtubes or the tweeters
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Grothar, can you please translate page:

Link


Serviceable translation here via Babelfish.
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Second attempt to post appropriate song

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"I am become Death, the shatter 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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Here's an update from CBS News Online:

Link

Things appear to still be escalating over there.
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About

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