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Foreigners Advised to Leave Tokyo; US Citizens OK’ed to Evacuate

Foreigners Advised to Leave Tokyo; US Citizens OK’ed to Evacuate

As conflicting information fueled further fears over the potential for radiation emanating from the Fukushima nuclear facility, Germany, Britain and Australia have advised their citizens to leave Tokyo, some 170 miles from the affected plant. Americans have been advised to move beyond a 50 mile radius from the facility, far greater than the 12-mile limit set by the Japanese government.

US citizens and dependents working for the American Embassy or other government institutions have been authorized to evacuate at government expense. The American Embassy remains open, and American dependents have not been ordered to leave, but may “exercise the opportunity” to evacuate, according to Under Secretary of State Patrick F. Kennedy.

Conflicting Information on Exposed Fuel Rods

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Greg Jacszko testified before Congress on Wednesday that he believes there is no water in the spent fuel pool in one of the Fukushima reactor buildings, leaving the fuel rods exposed and in danger of overheating: “We believe that secondary containment has been destroyed and there is no water in the spent fuel pool, and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.”  Japanese authorities have denied the claim.

Helicopters have dropped water on the spent fuel storage pools, but it seems that more and continual drops are needed to take effect. There are attempts underway to get electricity flowing back to the pumps. The water is vaporizing due to a failure of the cooling system.

UN: Plume To Reach US on Friday

The New York Times is reporting on a United Nations prediction that the radioactive plume from the Japanese reactors will reach California by Friday with barely detectable radiation levels or, at worst, very minor health effects. The prediction from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization is based on wind and weather patterns.

“Talk of Apocalypse”

On Wednesday European Union energy chief Gunther Oettinger was not pulling any punches, stating, “We are somewhere between a disaster and a major disaster. … There is talk of an apocalypse and I think the word is particularly well chosen.”

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Photo: A helicopter drops water at the Fukushima reactor site.
via NHK live stream
NHK: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nhk-world-tv

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50 comments

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2:53PM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Even if there is zero risk of radiation, the Japanese need to conserve food and other resources right now. There are tens of thousands who need housing. If foreigners are not providing some vital service, they should go.

8:26AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

I would leave because my leaving would use up one smidgen less of the few resources they have right now.

4:48AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

May God be with them!

2:26AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

@ Peter Herring, Lynn C. and anyone else who suspects the lack of perpetual motion machines are merely a result of blinkered thinking by the science community or suppression by those with vested interests in real sources of power:
The laws of thermodynamics are not breakable. You will never get as much energy out of recombining hydrogen and oxygen as was required to separate them, let alone produce a surplus.

1:29AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

The workers on this site are really heroes...lets hope we have some like that in our country IF ever we need them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11:47PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Our Prayers From Canada Are With You Japan...

7:45PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

I send sympathy and best wishes to the Japanese people. I think scientific minds all around the world should focus on helping to solve their nuclear problem.

7:07PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Even if it costs 100s of suicide volunteers their lives; I would bet on Japan. The idea of sacrifice of the individual for the whole is still very much alive there. And then heads will roll as the General Electric built nuclear plants are dissected.

6:25PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Thanks.

5:33PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

The Japanese are a noble people. When you have no fighting for food or shelter you know they are willing to unite to get through this tragedy. I send my good wishes and love to all of them.

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