Nothing to see here, move along, nothing to worry about:
• NHK Live Video Feed (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
More than 300 workers are racing to prevent a meltdown and spread of radiation at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station today, an increase from a group of 50 engineers yesterday.
The chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave a far bleaker appraisal on Wednesday of the threat posed by Japan’s nuclear crisis than the Japanese government had offered. He said American officials believed that the damage to at least one crippled reactor was much more serious than Tokyo had acknowledged, and he advised Americans to stay much farther away from the plant than the perimeter established by Japanese authorities.
• (Strange) Mizuho Bank says its ATMs in Japan stopped working (Reuters)
Mizuho Bank said on Thursday that all of its automatic teller machines (ATM) throughout Japan have stopped working. The bank did not immediately give a reason for the outage.
• Why Japan embraced nuclear power after suffering the atomic bomb (Globe and Mail)
Japan’s 55 reactors produce nearly 30 per cent of the country’s electricity, and the long-term strategy before the Fukushima disaster was to push that figure to 50 per cent by 2030. Almost alone among its political allies, whose ambitions were reined in by the catastrophes at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the land that experienced the atomic bomb has chosen to expand its network of nuclear plants, many of them knowingly built in seismic zones.
• How safe is nuclear power? (LA Times)
Elmer E. Lewis, professor emeritus at Northwestern University and author of two textbooks on nuclear power, took questions about the effort to contain reactors damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Lewis’ research has focused on the broad problems of dealing with the physics, safety and reliability of nuclear systems.
• On Northeast Coast, Portraits Of Japanese Resilience (NPR Radio)
• U.S. Tells Nationals to Consider Leaving Quake-Hit Japan (Bloomberg)
The U.S. plans to evacuate citizens wanting to leave Japan along with military and diplomatic families, as concerns grow that authorities are failing to contain leaks from a quake-stricken nuclear plant.
The U.S. also advised citizens to keep 50 miles (80 kilometers) away from the Dai-Ichi plant in Fukushima, about 135 miles north of Tokyo, while the U.K. said people should consider leaving the capital.
• Lessons for Japan from the Chernobyl catastrophe (The Guardian)
The Fukushima nuclear plant crisis appears less dangerous than the 1986 Chernobyl disaster – but the risk of radiation spreading wide remains
In the latest attempt to cool down reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, helicopters from Japan’s Self-Defense Force started dropping ocean water on top of the overheated units.The measure, announced by the Japan Nuclear Agency, is seen as a highly unusual step and has never been tried before in Japan. The agency also said that power cables from an outside source would be available at Fukushima as early as this afternoon.
Asian stocks fell, leading a regional benchmark index lower for the third time this week, on renewed concern that a worsening nuclear crisis in Japan may cripple the world’s third-largest economy.
• U.S. Sounds Alarm on Radiation (WSJ)
Fear about radiation dangers posed by Japan’s nuclear crisis spiked as the U.S. instructed its troops and citizens to stay at least 50 miles away from the crippled reactors.
The U.S. “no-go” zone is far wider than the buffer established by the Japanese government itself. The top U.S. nuclear regulator, Gregory Jaczko, on Wednesday called radiation levels at one of the units at the plant “extremely high,” adding that, “for a comparable situation in the United States we would recommend an evacuation for a much larger radius than is currently being provided in Japan.”
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain . . .