Earfquake!


#1761

Yesterday's 3.8 was weird --- in my building at work we experienced it as a single loud FOOOOM with dying vibrations rather than a sustained shake. Everyone thought a truck or plane had rammed the building.


#1762

Look out for another quake...planetary alignment will create gravity anomoly.


#1763

...which has been proven to not really cause anything. And saying "another quake" is pretty ambiguous, considering there are dozens if not hundreds of notable quakes around the world every day.

--- Alan


#1764

Minnesota just had a 2.5 magnitude earthquake. 2.5! And why can't I capitalize numbers for emphasis? Lame.


#1765

Hmm...is grave the adjectival form of gravity? All the capital numbers have been sucked into space...see? it's started.


#1766

10 people dead so far as a couple of quakes hit Spain. Around Madrid it looks like.


#1767

Mousefarts. ;-)


#1768

SW of Murcia. The USGS has it listed as a single 5.1, but The Guardian and other sources report it as two quakes, a 5.2 and a 4.4.


#1769

That sucks...hope the death toll stays low. 5.1 isn't really all that big either, but apparently buildings are collapsing all over southern Spain. Crazy.


#1770

Remember Fukushima reactor 1? It's worse than they thought, the fuel rods are exposed.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said fuel rods are fully exposed in the No. 1 reactor at its stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, setting back the utility’s plan to resolve the crisis.

The water level is 1 meter (3.3 feet) below the base of the fuel assembly, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at the utility known as Tepco, told reporters at a briefing in Tokyo. Melted fuel has dropped to the bottom of the pressure vessel and is still being cooled, Matsumoto said. The company doesn’t know how long the rods have been exposed, he said.

Tepco is trying to contain the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl after a quake and tsunami two months ago knocked out power and cooling systems at the Fukushima station. The utility planned to flood the No. 1 containment chamber, which surrounds the reactor vessel, in a procedure known as water entombment to prevent fuel from overheating.

“I’ve been saying from the beginning the water tomb plan won’t work,” said Tadashi Narabayashi, a professor of nuclear engineering at Hokkaido University. “Tepco must work on a water circulation cooling system as soon as possible. They’ve been going round and round in circles and now realize this is what they need to do.”

It’s unlikely the situation has worsened with the discovery the rods are exposed because they’ve probably been out of the water since shortly after the crisis started, Narabayashi said.


#1771

Here in Spain we don't suffer lots of big earthquakes so buildings are not prepared like i suppose they are in Japan or in LA. Still, the collapsed buildings were only two from a small town and a very old belltower.


#1772

Yeah, building codes are a large part of what prevents damage in major earthquake zones, so when a quake that would otherwise be relatively minor strikes outside of a major earthquake zone, it can be a big deal. That's why Haiti suffered so much damage, too, even though their quake was smaller than some of the aftershocks in Japan.


#1773

That means they got really lucky, at least from what I understand. The rods must have cooled enough before exposure to avoid a much bigger issue. Not that this is safe, but exposing hot rods could have been much, much worse then what they have right now.


#1774

Yeah, they could have had a full-blown meltdown and a runaway reaction on their hands. As it stands, it sounds like some of the fuel melted and some is still exposed to air, which is quite bad in its own right, but they really dodged a bullet in the grand scheme of things.


#1775

They actually changed the article since I posted it. Compare what I quoted to the current article.


#1776

Japan starting to evacuate towns outside the official exclusion zone:

http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2011/s3217555.htm

Presumably they are planning no increasing the exclusion zone size and want to do it stages.

Concerns about a missing 5000 tons of highly radioactive water: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/13_34.html

This is from Unit 1, so the missing water is millions of curies. And the Cs-137, damn...


#1777

Ars makes a nice summary of Science articles about the Japan earthquake. Interesting stuff about thow they misjudged the segment of the fault to blame.


#1778

Cores 2 and 3 suffered meltdowns too.

I wouldn't want to live downwind of this place for the next few thousand years. That's assuming you can't dismantle a core with melted fuel slumped at the bottom? I have no idea on what the long term solution might be.


#1779

I reckon it's entombment or robots.

H.


#1780

That level of long-term issues is not present at the moment and will hopefully be entirely avoided. If they can resubmerge the rods, then the current (relatively) low levels of radiation being released should go away. Entombment is another long-term option. Remember, even at Chernobyl you can (and many people do) get very close to the reactor today. The issue there was the release of a massive amount of radioactive debris from the initial explosion, and that debris can only be contained by the zone. And even then the issue is more about the risk of exposure to radioactive dust and in food and water more then it is whats in the air. Since we have not had that kind of explosion in Japan, its still a (relatively) lesser situation.

There is still a risk that something else will go wrong, though.