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10 Apr 2011 10:41


Biz, World: How the Japan quake and tsunami has affected the auto industry

  • parts Many auto manufacturers — especially in Japan — are struggling to return to their normal level of production after last month’s earthquake hurt numerous key factories in Japan.
  • labor Manufacturers at Toyota, Nissan and Honda plan to get their workers back on the job very soon — but only at half-time. Toyota’s U.S. factory workers also haven’t had as much work lately.
  • colors Ford, which isn’t Japanese, has its own problems — see, a key metallic pigment they use comes from a factory near Fukushima. Good luck getting a “tuxedo black” car. source

28 Mar 2011 09:53


World: TEPCO spokesperson: Highly-radioactive water found in trench

  • The trench is located outside the building and the water contains radioactive materials. There is normally no water found in this area so it is difficult to compare this to normal levels.
  • TEPCO spokesperson Hiro Hasegawa • Discussing the finding of highly-radioactive water inside of a trench, outside of the Fukushima No. 2 reactor. The level matches the 1,000 millisievert level found inside the No. 2 reactor yesterday. “But we do not believe it is leaking into the ocean,” Hasegawa continued. “We are now working out where the cause of the leak is and finding ways to remove the water as soon as possible.”  source

27 Mar 2011 21:17


U.S.: Don’t freak out: Increased radiation found in Massachusetts rainwater

  • The drinking water supply in Massachusetts is unaffected by this short-term, slight elevation in radiation.
  • Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach • Discussing the “OMG OMG WE GONNA DIE” revelation that there is radiation in some Massachusetts rainwater resulting from the Fukushima crisis. Friends, this is not Chernobyl. Ain’t nothing to be afraid of. Auerbach knows the deal. source

27 Mar 2011 12:23


World: The “Fukushima Fifty” comes forward with a harrowing story

  • It was just pitch black. It was the middle of the night and all we had to see with were our own head torches. We could see smoke and vapour coming up from the reactor. Everything else had failed, so they called us in to pump seawater to try to cool the thing. We don’t even work for the government, but for the city of Tokyo. They were desperate. They must have been on their last legs.
  • Fukushima crew leader Kazuhiko Fukudome • Describing what he saw as a member of the “Fukushima Fifty.” Fukudome was tracked down by The Daily Telegraph, who got the first interview with the once-anonymous crew of workers. We recommend you read the whole thing, but we’re sure you will after you read Fukudome’s description of the inside of the plant: “It was far worse than I expected. Everything was covered in rubble,” he said. Harrowing. (via Josh Sternberg) source

27 Mar 2011 10:01


World: That “10 million times” number at Fukushima? An error, guys.

  • what The high level of radiation reported by TEPCO was a huge freaking error, and in reality, the level is much lower.
  • how The worker taking the test freaked out, apparently — wouldn’t you? — before doing a backup test to confirm.
  • reaction A TEPCO spokesperson apologized. “The number is not credible,” said  Takashi Kurita. “We are very sorry.”  source

26 Mar 2011 20:18


World: Japan update: Lots of people trying to get Fukushima under control

  • 700+ engineers are battling the Fukushima crisis source
  • » Progress, but no end in sight: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano had these vaguely calming words about the incident: “We are preventing the situation from worsening — we’ve restored power and pumped in fresh water — and making basic steps toward improvement,” he said, “but there is still no room for complacency.” There are good and bad parts about the overall situation right now — while aftershocks are starting to tail off, radiation levels in seawater miles away are very high, but are said to be of little threat to those eating seafood from the ocean. Still, though …

24 Mar 2011 10:45


World: Experts: Fukushima nuclear situation getting under control

  • The reactors are more stable as time progresses. By now, the decay heat is greatly reduced and it becomes easier to supply sufficient water for cooling. As far as we know, the containments are holding and the radiation levels have dropped.
  • UC Berkley nuclear expert Peter Hosemann • Suggesting that Fukushima is quickly becoming less of an issue, and more under control. He does warn, however, that radiation may still get into the environment: “We might see some more release of radioactive material, mostly due to the water going through the systems.” Overall, though, this is promising in terms of getting things handled. source

21 Mar 2011 00:00


Politics: Max Headroom: Glenn Beck, Lawrence O’Donnell ignore Japan for pettiness

  • Meanwhile, while Glenn Beck and Lawrence O’Donnell are arguing/agreeing about whether or not the Japan nuclear crisis is going to end the world (it’s not), thousands have been killed, thousands more are currently without a roof over their head, and millions more could face electricity issues for months after the Japan quake seriously damaged the power grid. Good to see they’re keeping things in perspective by arguing over who’s right. source

20 Mar 2011 12:30


World: Survivors still getting rescued in Japan, nine days after the quake

  • In case you need a reminder of the concept of keeping hope alive, watch this. These are people who got rescued NINE DAYS after the quake. And one of the people, an elderly woman named Sumi Abe, was 80. source

20 Mar 2011 11:22


World: Japan quake: A massive death toll, with thousands more missing

  • 8,450 the official death toll from the quake so far
  • 12,931 the number of people still missing over a week after the quake
  • 118,000 support personnel are on the ground assisting in the recovery source
  • » A huge relief budget, still not enough: The city of Sendai, which is roughly the center point of the quake and Tsunami, has gathered an extra budget of roughly $220 million. Even that will likely not be enough. “No one believes this will be enough to cope with reconstruction,” said a Sendai city spokesperson. “This disaster will cause severe damage to city finances.”