Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Morning EDT, 
Saturday Evening Japan Time 
Disaster Update from various sources
gathered primarily from  NHK World English, also including NPR, Reuters, Financial Times
9:30-10:00 AM EDT

Latest 7,500 dead, 11,700 missing
Spraying water continues on reactor 3. It will continue another three hours until midnight.
The official earthquake/tsunami death toll continues to rise.
Towns near the Fukushima Nuclear Plants are evacuating en masse.
Radiation (radioactive iodine) levels higher than the legal limits have been detected in milk and spinach in Fukushima prefect.
Although authorities had stated that these foodstuffs are not dangerous to consume, sale of Fukushima food products have now been ordered discontinued.
Many of the 200,000 Fukushima evacuees and people left homeless by the effects of the earthquake and tsunami  are sick with colds or flu like symptoms.There are reports that many of these people have run out of food and fuel.
Tokyo firefighters resumed spraying reactor 3 after a pause to allow power to be connected to the facility.
Officials stated that power will not actually be restored to the reactors and associated equipment until Sunday.
The extent of damage, if any, to the cooling systems will not be known until power is restored.
The mission to drop seawater from helicopters has been discontinued as dangerous and ineffective.
Radiation levels in areas of Japan outside the Fukushima area including Tokyo are said to be "far from levels dangerous to human health".
Authorities have reported that the status of the most potentially dangerous plutonium powered reactor 3 is "stabilizing" after spraying water on it for three hours Saturday. Details on exactly what is meant by stabilizing have not been forthcoming. Workers are using water to keep the spent rods from combusting which would spread extremely dangerous radioactive particles."The situation there is stabilizing somewhat." -Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano
The temperature of the spent rod cooling pool at reactor 4 has not been released by Japanese authorities since March 13. Earlier this week U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko testified before Congress that there was no water in that pool. It is a strong possibility that the rods in that dry pool have been burning and emitting radioactive material in the air.
There are reports  from the anti nuclear industry that 40 years of spent fuel rods have accumulated on site at Fukushima.
Authorities have announced that "slight traces" of radioactive iodine have been detected in Tokyo tap water.
China  demonstrated some skepticism of Japan's public pronouncements on the nuclear crisis by asking for  complete information from Japan's Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto today in meeting in Kyoto.
When asked about what he told South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan at the meeting which included the Chinese diplomats Matsumoto said,
"I told him the truth that I can't say I'm optimistic, but we are sparing no efforts to correct the situation."
A plan to drop a submersible pump into the pool at reactor 3 to allow remote pumping of water into the pool has proven problematic and is taking more time due to the greater than anticipated manual work required to install the pump and the fact that the workers' time is limited in a high radiation area.
Authorities announced today that drinking water in the Fukushima prefecture tested above the level for safe human consumption two days ago.

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