Red Alert: Nuclear Emergency in Japan
London, UK - 11th March 2011, 23:55 GMT
Dear ATCA Open & Philanthropia Friends
[Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. ATCA conducts collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and threats.]
We extend our condolences, prayers and sympathies to the people of Japan. This is an absolutely heart rending tragedy with exorbitant numbers. 88,000 people are missing in Japan according to Kyodo News Agency. While the death toll remains low right now, it seems likely to spiral much higher. The human scale of the tragedy is enormous. Post the 8.9 Richter earthquake that struck Japan, Tsunami warnings have been issued for at least 20 countries and many Pacific islands. Given the log scale, this is the 5th to 7th largest earthquake ever recorded in the world and the largest in Japan's modern history. More than 50 aftershocks have been felt across Japan. Most of these aftershocks have a bigger magnitude than the main quake felt in Tokyo!
Pacific Ring of Fire
The key concern is now focussed on the red alert associated with the nuclear emergency declared in Japan. In particular, this is to do with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Pressure at the nuclear plant may have risen to 2.1 times its designed capacity, Japan's trade ministry has just announced. Temperatures and pressure at the "Number 1" nuclear reactor have been rising since its cooling system was knocked out by the earthquake, raising concerns about a possible radiation leak. Japan has also just announced that it may have to release radioactive vapour from the nuclear reactor into the atmosphere. The radiation level inside one of the reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant is 1,000 times higher than normal according to a safety panel's citation by Kyodo news agency. If the outage in the cooling system persists, radiation would leak out into the environment and some indications are this may already be taking place. As a worst case, the persistence of this problem could cause the reactor's meltdown. The Japan nuclear 'station blackout' has the potential to go catastrophic as the authorities struggle to 'cool down' the nuclear facility before reactions spiral out of control.
Pacific Ring of Fire
About 90% of the world's earthquakes and 80% of the world's largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire. Japan's quake suggests the 'Ring of Fire' arc of volcanoes & trenches encircling the Pacific basin have become even more active than usual. Sadly, this could mean more quakes, volcanoes and Tsunamis may follow -- not just in Japan -- but also other countries and islands that frame the Pacific basin.
1 in 150 Years Event
Japan's 8.9 Richter earthquake is the biggest in 140 years, surpassing 1923's Great Kanto 7.9 Richter quake which killed 140,000. Post the devastating earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, we have spent most of the day at our headquarters in London, monitoring developments hour-by-hour via friends, partners and colleagues in Japan as well as government officials and NGOs in related countries and at the United Nations.
If you wish to follow the latest analysis and development in regard to seminal issues linked to the Japan earthquake and Tsunami, please visit us online at ATCA 24/7. Once again, we offer prayers and well wishes for all those affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan. At moments like this, regardless of our diverse backgrounds, we are all one!
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