The views expressed in any article published in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Joseph Foster or Bob Lupoli.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japan: Low Radiation Risk but US State Department Evacuating Citizens?

Joe: the US is evacuating Japan with chartered planes arranged by the US State Department. Commericial aircraft from Germany & France are not going into Japan now and many Japanese people are leaving Japan. See the articles below. I am bothered. Understanding the pump failure at Japan’s nuclear facilities is bothering me. I understand that the cooling pumps stopped working as a result of grid electricity being lost as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. After losing this power diesel generators were supposed to kick in and what we heard from US and Japanese reports was that these failed as well, it was speculated that they were too low and that possibly they were swamped with water. The third element of this backup system as it was explained on the news program was a bank of batteries. This bothers me, when two backup systems failed. I’d like to know why and how these two additional systems failed: diesel generators and batteries. This is not a good day for engineering when two backup systems failed. Maybe it is the case that the pumps have failed? I don’t get it. –Bob

By Joe McDonald and Margie Mason  | AP
Experts have repeatedly said that people outside the 12-mile evacuation radius are safe, yet public fear soars as people rush supermarkets for radiation prevention materials.

AP WASHINGTON -- The United States has authorized the first evacuations of Americans out of Japan, taking a tougher stand on the deepening nuclear crisis and warning U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to any part of the country as unpredictable weather and wind conditions risked spreading radioactive contamination.

But a hastily organized teleconference late Wednesday with officials from the State and Energy Departments underscored the administration's concerns. The travel warning extends to U.S. citizens already in the country and urges them to consider leaving.

Senior State Department official Patrick Kennedy said chartered planes will be brought in to help private American citizens wishing to leave. People face less risk in southern Japan, but changing weather and wind conditions could raise radiation levels elsewhere in the coming days, he said.

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