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Was there a meltdown in Japan?

As we accurately reported earlier today, the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan was the result of a nuclear meltdown of the reactor core at the facility.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) confirmed the meltdown Saturday afternoon. Fukushima is one of the 25 largest nuclear power stations in the world. The NISA is affiliated with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

High levels of cesium and iodine, by-products of nuclear fission, are being reported and providing more evidence that a nuclear meltdown is currently underway.

It is now certain Japan is experiencing a Chernobyl event. “At this point, events in Japan bear many similarities to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Reports indicate that up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) of the reactor fuel was exposed. The reactor fuel appears to have at least partially melted, and the subsequent explosion has shattered the walls and roof of the containment vessel – and likely the remaining useful parts of the control and coolant systems,” Stratfor explains.

“Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago,” said Kevin Camps, a nuclear waste specialist.

Prior to the explosion of the containment structure, exposure rates outside the plant were at about 620 millirems per hour. Radiation exposure for the average individual is 620 millirems per year. Virtually any increase in ambient radiation can raise long-term cancer rates, and authorities distributed iodine, which helps protect against thyroid cancer, The Oregonian reports.

As the image above illustrates, the prevailing jet stream moves from Japan to the United States across the Pacific Ocean. Airborne radiation would work its way into the jet stream and reach the United States in less than 36 hours. Jet streams flow from west to east in the upper portion of the troposphere.

By downplaying this serious disaster, the Japanese government is not only endangering its own people, but also millions of people in the United States and Canada.

The cover-up by the Japanese government provides more evidence that government cannot be trusted to safeguard the lives of its citizens.

Answer Question

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 9:35 AM on Mar. 14, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (21)
  • The U.S. Seventh Fleet moved its ships and aircraft away from a quake-stricken Japanese nuclear plant Monday after discovering low-level radioactive contamination more than 100 miles offshore.

    The fleet said that the radiation was from a plume of smoke and steam released from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, where there have been two hydrogen explosions since Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

    The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was about 100 miles offshore when its instruments detected the radiation. The fleet said the dose of radiation was about the same as one month's normal exposure to natural background radiation in the environment.


    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 9:38 AM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • Yes, and its no surprise that government is downplaying this.

    Answer by meooma at 9:41 AM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • It was my understanding that the No. 1 reactor had a meltdown and they are trying to keep No. 3 from doing the same by bringing in seawater. However, that was last night. I heard on the radio this morning that they are doing that for 2 reactors but didn't say which 2.

    Answer by purpleducky at 9:44 AM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I have watching the news all weekend and I have not seen any downplaying or cover-ups? They are testing on people and the area for leaks. They put beach water plant to cool it down. That means they will not be able to use that plant again.

    Japan is not Russia they are doing their best.

    Answer by gammie at 9:48 AM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I think believe they downplayed it from the beginning. They did give most information just not the whole truth. They don't want to look bad and truthfully Japan is not as bad as China in the "caring for their people" area. I think for the most part they are doing what is necessary to safeguard the people , they just may not be elaborating it to the media

    Answer by itsmesteph11 at 9:53 AM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I think we hear the word meltdown and the worse pictures come to mind. From what I have been seeing experts say that even if it does a complete meltdown it would not reach the level of Chernobyl due to the differences in the containers. Either way though its not good and is scary.

    From the second link......

    The reactor that exploded at Chernobyl, sending a cloud of radiation over much of Europe, was not housed in a sealed container as those at Daiichi are. The Japanese reactors also do not use graphite, which burned for several days at Chernobyl.


    Answer by Charis76 at 10:37 AM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I'm scared. I'm not going to lie. I want to take my babies into the basement and feed them stored food and water for ten years.


    Answer by lovinangels at 11:18 AM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • I live in Japan, on Misawa Air Base. We are aprox 180 miles from Sendai, where it hit the worst. It's a miracle that we have come out of it as relatively unscathed as we have, and we have just recently got power, phones, and (obviously) internet. Now that our base is "up" and back being operational, we are one of he primary "funnels" for the recovery.

    Yes, it's scary - more than you can ever imagine, and the destruction here is mind bogglingly overwhelming. But honestly, what do you expect them (any of us here, the "average Joe" Japanese, the military and their families, or the Japanese Govt) to do? This is the 5th biggest earthquake in the history of the world - EVER. Even with all the quakes we get here - and we get a lot - NOBODY expected or prepared for this. There is nowhere to go. They are trying to get the reactors dealt with. We are trying to get people out of the rubble. We are trying to survive and help

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 12:38 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • we are trying to survive and help others do the same. Yes, I think the reactors are scary, believe me - my kids were down in in Tokyo on a school sports trip, and they were downwind of the reactors. It is terrifying.

    I do not mean any of this to be nasty, but it's very stressful and overwhelming here right now, and I just ask that please, give us a break - everyone - from the govt on down to the average man on the street, is doing our best to deal with something that is 1000 times worse than Katrina, to put it in perspective.

    They aren't trying to do a conspiracy, they're trying to save as many people as they can, while the very earth itself attacks us :-(

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 12:42 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • sailor,

     my heart goes out to you....I hope you can get somewhere safer soon. Are you planning on leaving there> any evacuations?? Did you get your kids?



    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 12:51 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

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