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Quake–Under Tokyo? Updated: In Ibaraki

March 16th, 2011

A quake just hit. It felt more like an up-down quake, meaning it was probably local…

Update: I was wrong, it wasn’t under us. It was a 5.3, centered in Ibaraki, just north of Chiba. And I had just said to Sachi a few minutes earlier, “Hey, there hasn’t been a big quake tonight.” That’ll teach me.

  1. Troy
    March 17th, 2011 at 06:38 | #1

    Many Tokyo TV stations have sports news & other normal programming

    You know, I really think Japan has to focus on not wasting ANY power on unnecessary shit at this point. Gasoline too.

    Even the TV pictures I’m seeing this week buildings are fully illuminated inside. Every light in the entire country that isn’t critical should be taken out for the duration.

    Economy-wise, this is a disaster in that the superfluous service economy of pachinko parlors, hostess bars, video arcades get hit. I don’t have the answer to that but if Japan doesn’t consider the situation its in equivalent to war things are just going to spiral downward.

    This is even without considering the Fukushima disaster.

    This summer the energy shortage is only going to get worse, a lot worse. Japan’s got to start getting its shit together pretty soon now.

  2. Z
    March 17th, 2011 at 06:51 | #2

    I want to stress again the differences in US and Japan reporting. The US has the most foreign expertise because of its military so I trust them:

    – US NRC thinks reactor 4 storage has no water at the moment and “extreme radiation”, Japan maintains situation at reactor 4 is stable.

    – US also advises its citizens to evacuate within 50 miles (80km) of Fukushima, Japan maintains 20-30km. Source:

    U.S. asks citizens in 80-km radius of Japan nuke plant to evacuate

    WASHINGTON, March 16, Kyodo

    The U.S. Embassy in Japan has asked American citizens living within an 80-kilometer radius of the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in Japan to evacuate as a precautionary measure.

    The advice was issued Thursday local time while the Japanese government currently sets the evacuation zone covering areas within a 20-km radius of the plant.



    – Finally, I hope the US drone Global Hawk can provide more details on Thursday on Fukushima given its advanced thermo camera capabilities.

  3. stevetv
    March 17th, 2011 at 07:59 | #3

    The company my brother works for has an office in Tokyo. They’ve closed it and they’re evacuating the expatriate workers. Mabye it’s an overreaction (but more and more, I’m thinking it’s not). But at the very least, Tokyo is not a very conducive place for getting work done.

  4. Z
    March 17th, 2011 at 08:27 | #4

    One question on Wednesday stuck with me and makes me not believe TEPCO and official news: How long does it take to drop the water from the hoveringhelicopter ? 30 seconds to 1 minute I guess, maybe even less recalling images from wildfires where this method is used also.

    If the radiation level is so high, how will the ground method work (I know the radiation may be different on the ground, but still very high) ? The truck has to be able to get in the right position and aim correctly into the hole.

    I might be wrong and they could remote-control the truck and its firehose there.

    Otherwise, the truck method sounds like a suicide commando to me, maybe even more than the chopper method due to the time spent in the area…

    Again, if anyone has more positive news or updates, please share them.

  5. Z
    March 17th, 2011 at 08:47 | #5

    With positive news, I meant the new power line drawn to the plant (mentioned in nightly news conference by TEPCO to be “almost ready”).

    Restoring power and stand-by diesel generators may be the only viable solution.

  6. Troy
    March 17th, 2011 at 09:30 | #6

    The helicopter idea is the stupidest thing imaginable.

    You can’t just hover over a radiological disaster area like that, and you just can’t dump water on a superhot collection of nuclear fuel that has lost its containment without just sucking up tons of radioactive steam back into the aircraft.

    Plus these pools are immense and need hundreds of drops to fill the pool back up.

    The ground approach is going to take Chernobyl-style “bio robot” missions.

    Power lines may help 5 & 6 get back to safety but they’re probably too late for the exploded plants now that everything is blown up everywhere.

    3 & 4 look to be the trouble zones here.

  7. Z
    March 17th, 2011 at 09:45 | #7

    Troy, I agree with you about the helicopter and as you mentioned the truck seems to be a suicide commando as well :(

  8. Z
    March 17th, 2011 at 10:04 | #8

    Oh well, NHK live. They started with the choppers from the air on reactor 3.

    I hope the pilots and the truck drivers are volunteers.

    You do not want to read up what happened to the Chernobyl chopper crews and “liquidators” on the ground, although radiation levels likely were much higher then



  9. Z
    March 17th, 2011 at 10:38 | #9

    The geniuses at TEPCO who falsified security info in the past…



    and designed the fuel pools…


    (“The Tokyo Electric Power Company has now admitted that the spent fuel rods could go critical – that is, a nuclear chain reaction could restart.”)

    …should get free rides on those helicopters and trucks.

  10. Troy
    March 17th, 2011 at 10:40 | #10

    yeah, I can see they were staying pretty high to try to avoid the suck-back effect.

    Problem is almost no water got into the pools . . .

    I was watching the Nuclear Disaster Committee guy on TBS but I’m saddened by how little I understood.

    Now he’s on NHK World so I can understand via translator . . .

    Gah! They cut off for weather when he said Reactor 1 couldn’t supply seawater!

    WTF! They’ve been doing that every time something critical comes up!

    Now TBS is showing the yen rate. Broke into 76 today in NY!

    I love the current TBS News Bird. I’ve got a thing for Asian newscasters in general but she’s hot . . .

  11. Troy
    March 17th, 2011 at 11:05 | #11

    I find it very disconcerting that TEPCO has released the Daini plant radiation levels and have apparently withheld or forgotten to post Daiichi’s.

    They’ve always released them at the same time before . . .

  12. Troy
    March 17th, 2011 at 12:57 | #12


  13. Luis
    March 17th, 2011 at 12:59 | #13


    Not sure I caught that… but this is the fourth day of outages, and we haven’t had our power shut down yet…

  14. rockhead
    March 17th, 2011 at 13:36 | #14
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