Aftermath of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

Huge Tsunami slams Japan ashore yesterday. Click to open the news source.

This is the record of the second day onwards of the Japan Earthquake. For you who just joining or want to review what happened yesterday, you can see the (semi) live report here.

To see the recap and continuing of this story in prose, see here.

Here is the important recap of what happened after my last posting yesterday that I gathered from all news source.

(day +1) Jakarta 00.40 (UTC +07.00), Japan 02.40 (UTC +09.00):

The government started to allow the people to going home. People still trying to buy food, but the Supermarket were closed. No electricity, water, or gas. There were very much aftershock going on last night. US Geological Survey said that at least 45 tremor happened after my last update yesterday. Some of them are higher than magnitude of 6. One even reach magnitude of 6.6! I wonder how those people can even sleep under these shaking condition? The tremor is coming periodically every 15 minutes.

(day +1) Jakarta 00.50, Japan 02.50:

The first waves from the Tsunami arrived at US mainland along Oregon Coast. President Obama during a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, he expressed American people’s deepest condolences, especially to victims and their families. He also offer whatever help is needed.

Tsunami warnings have issued across the Pacific coast of US. President Obama said that today’s event reminded us how fragile we are, and that we are going to stand out with Japanese people to help them rebuild and recover.

(day +1) Jakarta 01.00, Japan 03.00:

All of the ports have been closed. All ship discharge operation are suspended in the area. Transportation still hasn’t gotten to normal. There are peoples that have been standing in the queue for 3 hours for a bus trying to get home.

This is the biggest earthquake the world has experienced since 1900, and ranked as the fifth-largest. It’s 8000 times stronger than in the Christchurch in New Zealand.

(day +1) Jakarta 01.20, Japan 03.20:

Second Tsunami waves now hitting Santa Cruz. A dozen and more boat sunken. Meanwhile at the first waves, all docks are gone, and 35 boats crushed. The earthquake have shifted the earth’s axis by almost 25 cm.

(day +1) Jakarta 01.50, Japan 03.50:

Situation at the nuclear power plant at Fukushima seems worsening. Now the engineer trying to release radioactive vapour to help reduce the pressure, while trying to fix the coolant that was damaged in the earthquake. The coolant is simply water. Diesel generator sent in to get water pumps running.

The Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Plant in Fukushima Japan

(day +1) Jakarta 01.55, Japan 03.55:

Japanese Trade Minister Banri Kaeda says that the authorities are nearing a decision to release radioactive steam from the Fukushima nuclear reactor. Thank God they already evacuated the residence!

People are spending their night in the offices. Millions have chose to walk home.

(day +1) Jakarta 02.10, Japan 04.10:

An aftershock of magnitude of 6.6 have shaken Japan, located in the northwest. Or a new earthquake? But no new Tsunami warning have been issued. There are dozens aftershock after the main earthquake, but this one is in different location.

(day +1) Jakarta 02.30, Japan 04.30:

The tremor is still going on and on. It’s 04.30 right now in Japan and people still can’t sleep. Fires started everywhere. Pope Benedict XVI was expressing his condolence of the earthquake and tsunami.

Fires after Earthquake

(day +1) Jakarta 03.10, Japan 05.10:

Three to four new power supply cars have arrived at the nuclear station to provide emergency electric to the coolant that have been damaged by the earthquake. The World Nuclear Association said that the pressure is increasing over time beyond normal level, but still within engineered limits.

Meanwhile, there are 4 trains that lost contact in Miyagi and Iwate.

(day +1) Jakarta 03.50, Japan 05.50:

Death tolls have risen to 184, according to the police to Kyodo news agency. But the police in Sendai said that there were 200-300 bodies in the beach.

(day +1) Jakarta 04.30, Japan 06.30:

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has ordered that resident living within 10km from the Fukushima nuclear station has to evacuate. The authorities have already evacuated resident living within 3km from the nuclear power plant. Tokyo Electric Power Company has said that radiation may have been released.

(day +1) Jakarta 04.40, Japan 06.40:

The radiation level in the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant continue to rise. It’s now 8 times than normal. An official said that there is a possibility of radioactive leak. The pressure inside one of six Boiling Water Reactor is continued to rise. If the coolant is not fixed soon, it can cause reactor meltdown.

(day +1) Jakarta 04.55, Japan 06.55:

There are also problems in the other power plants. The Fukushima-Daini power plant has suffered minor fire burn, and extinguished within 2 hours, says source from World Nuclear Association (WNA). The Onagawa power plant fire is worst. Even though it happened in a non-nuclear turbine building, it took nearly 8 hours to extinguished it.

(day +1) Jakarta 05.10, Japan 07.10 (break of dawn):

The sun morning light has risen across Japan, and the disaster effect is now clear. There are fires in Kesennuma in the north east, and one-third of the city has been drowned in the Tsunami. Japanese government is deploying hundreds of ships and planes for relief operation.

(day +1) Jakarta 05.20, Japan 07.20:

According to the Associated Press citing the Japanese officials, radiation inside the Fukushima-Daiichi has increased to 1,000 times than the normal level, and the pressure is 1.5 times than the normal pressure level. But the officials stated that there is no immediate health hazards to people living nearby. Despite that, 45,000 people living within radius 10km has been evacuated.

(day +1) Jakarta 05.50, Japan 07.50:

Now the cooling system of the Fukushima-Daini, the second reactor, is not working. It’s pressure is rising. The Tokyo Electric Power Company said that the ability to control the pressure has been lost. The pressure is stable inside the reactor, but rising inside the containment vessel.

Fukushima Daini Power Plant

(day +1) Jakarta 07.15, Japan 09.15:

The government of Japan declares state of emergency of the Fukushima-Daini nuclear power plant after its three reactors have failed. The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant have been issued the same state of emergency yesterday after its two reactors have failed. People within 3km of Fukushima-Daini is evacuated.

(day +1) Jakarta 07.30, Japan 09.30:

Naval and Helicopter have saved all 81 peoples from a ship that have been swept away to the sea by tsunami.

(day +1) Jakarta 08.00, Japan 10.00:

Tokyo Electric Power stated that it has released a small amount of vapor into the atmosphere to reduce pressure in the two nuclear power plant. According them, there is no health risk.

(day +1) Jakarta 08.40, Japan 10.40:

Another radioactive vapor has been released from the Fukushima-Daini nuclear power plant, AFP reports.

(day +1) Jakarta 09.22, Japan 11.22:

There is reports that people have been calling for help under the rubble. From what SAR team said, the survival rate of them is within 3-7 days. 10 days if the have food rations.

(day +1) Jakarta 09.30, Japan 11.30:

There is another aftershock happen, with the magnitude of 6.8, shocking the east coast.

(day +1) Jakarta 10.00, Japan 12.00:

There were a discussion going in the TV about what the possibility and effect of the nuclear meltdown. Some peoples said that it’s very dangerous to release the vapor, others said that it’s okay. The question is, what level is still tolerated to be okay?

(day +1) Jakarta 10.15, Japan 12.15:

According to the survivors, they tells that they have to walk 20km to their homes, in 5 hours, because there were no transportation. There are still many aftershocks. No trains running, so many people stuck and sleeping freezing because there was a heavy snow storm just after the earthquake. More than 215,000 people are taking refugees in the emergency shelter.

(day +1) Jakarta 10.20, Japan 12.20:

Tokyo Electric Power Company made announcement that people have to save electricity because of the drop of the electric power supply level. More than four million household remains without electricity. Phone companies are offering public calls because mobile phone lines have been down.

(day +1) Jakarta 10.30, Japan 12.30:

According to a Japanese broadcaster, the earthquake have caused 206 fires across the damaged area.

Fires Reported in 206 Locations After Earthquake

(day +1) Jakarta 11.30, Japan 13.30:

Thousands of people still trapped in the buildings surrounded by waters in Miyagi perfecture.

(day +1) Jakarta 12.20, Japan 14.20:

Japanese government have lift tsunami warning almost in all of the country, except in the few places near the pacific.

AFP Agency news report about the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant that it maybe in the brink of “nuclear meltdown”.

(day +1) Jakarta 12.50, Japan 14.50:

The Tokyo Electric Power Company said that the power plant is not melting down or cracking. They’re just increasing the water level.

(day +1) Jakarta 13.25, Japan 15.25:

Death toll rises to more than 700, as reported by AFP agency. The city is full of army now, heading out to the worst affected areas. An evacuation center has been set up. A lot of supermarket giving away cheap foods, but it’s a long queue.

(day +1) Jakarta 14.15, Japan 16.15:

People rushing up to stock food now. They fear the stock supply in the supermarket will run low.

Meanwhile, the power plant engineers are pumping water into Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant to try to cool it down, but the level of cooling water is sinking. The reactor temperature is still too hot.

(day +1) Jakarta 14.30, Japan 16.30:

TV reports that people outside 10km radius from the Fukushima-Daiichi plant should be safe. Now authorities tries to evacuate 80,000 people that live within 10km radius. The Bank of Japan is hold an emergency meeting to ensure how to guarantee market stability.

(day +1) Jakarta 15.00, Japan 17.00:

There is explosion at Fukushima-Daiichi plant. Japanese TV showing a white cloud above the plant. Some workers were injured. Now the radioactivity has risen 20-fold outside the Fukushima-Daiichi plant.

Japan NHK TV says that the death toll have risen to 1,000 across Japan.

(day +1) Jakarta 15.30, Japan 17.30:

NHK TV showing before and after pictures of Fukushima-Daiichi plant, showing that the outer structure of one of the four buildings at the plant is disappear. The smoke cloud mushroom hanging above the plant. Four workers were injured, according to Kyodo news agency, but their injure are not life-threatening. NHK TV advice people to protect themselves against radiation, because the radiation level is so high that people who exposed to this radiation in 1 hour, they’d receive the same radiation as they normally would in 1 year. Now the evacuation area of Fukushima-Daini plant have been extended to 10km, the same as Fukushima-Daiichi plant. In total, there are 5 reactor in Fukushima-Daiichi and Fukushima-Daini that has been declared as emergency state.

Here a simplified sketch from BBC news about how nuclear reactor work.

How typical nuclear reactor works

Parts of nuclear reactor:

  1. Reactor Core
  2. Coolant Pump
  3. Fuel Rods
  4. Steam Generator
  5. Steam pumped into turbine, which generates electricity
  6. Containment Building

As you can see, if the coolant pump isn’t working, the residual amount of intense heat inside the reactor core (1) can’t be cooled down. Backup generator should turn up the cooling mechanisms (2), as the plant are designed to be shut down automatically to stop the fission reaction. But the cooling mechanisms and the backup generator failed, and the temperature is rises. And the explosion is thought to started when the fuel rods (3) (caesium radioactive) overheat and then come into contact with the cooling water (2). It produces a large amount of hydrogen gas that’s highly inflammable, and then ignite. If the temperature kept rising, eventually the containment building (6) itself could melt and leak the radioactive.

(day +1) Jakarta 17.00, Japan 19.00:

The nuclear agency says that they detected caesium and iodine out of the unit. It indicate that at least the fuel rods is really melting. They are compared this Japan nuclear incident with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster incident in 1986. Some expert says that the radioactive outside the unit itself is not presenting huge threat to the public health in the area. It does though, if the fire lift the materials high in the air, and spread to a wider area. Japanese authorities are extending the evacuation area around the two nuclear power plant from 10km to 20km.

(day +1) Jakarta 17.30, Japan 19.30:

Red Cross says that the organisation has sent over 60 medical team to the worst hit area. That includes 450 doctors and nurses. The troops already found 300-400 bodies in the Rikuzentaka.

Local official believe that the impact of the explosion is likely to be small. Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety even said that serious damage to the nuclear reactor container is unlikely, despite the explosion.

(day +1) Jakarta 18.30, Japan 20.30:

Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said that the current level of radioactivity of the power plant was “within the range that was anticipated” when it was decided that they need to release radioactive vapor in order to reduce the pressure within the reactor.

Meanwhile, Toyota says it would suspend all of its 12 factories across Japan. People tries to get life back to normal, such as going to salon, to get hair and nail done. And there’s thick snow in the ground. It’s very cold out there.

(day +1) Jakarta 18.50, Japan 20.50:

Prime Minister Naoto Kan is held a press conference in the TV. He urges people to take responsible action by listen to the media. More than 50-60 countries have expressed sympathies. He prioritize the safety of the people around the plant. He says the government will makes sure that no one suffer health problems because of the plant.

(day +1) Jakarta 19.30, Japan 21.30:

Japanese government spokesman Yukio Edano says that the pressure and radiation at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant has fallen because of the explosion. The explosion indeed happened at a nuclear plant building that houses a reactor, but the reactor was protected by its metal casing. Noriyuki Shikata, deputy cabinet secretary for public relations for the Japanese Prime Minister said that the blast is caused by accumulated hydrogen combined with the oxygen in space between container and outer structure. So there is no damage to the container. The explosion is really spectacular, but the officials still insist that the damage from the blast was limited.

Meanwhile, as many as 10,000 people are missing in the town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi perfecture, says Japan’s Fuji TV. Most people think that tsunamis are made of water. But by the time it reach inland, as the picture shown, it is more like a mudslide. That’s why, people who have been in the ground are likely not to survived, a SAR charity said.

Tsunami that turned into a mudslide. Click for news source.

(day +1) Jakarta 20.30, Japan 22.30:

Almost midnight now, when a big earthquake of magnitude 6 hit Fukushima. The aftershock is still in effect after half an hour.

(day +1) Jakarta 21.30, Japan 23.30:

Resident are lining up to collect drinking waters in Fukushima town centers. Helicopters airlift the injured to the hospital. More than 300,000 people have been evacuated from the nothern Japan, and that number will rise as the government increases the exclusion zone around the Fukushima power plants. At least three residence evacuated from near Fukushima-Daiichi plant has been exposed to the radiation.

Two bullet train lines have resumed operating, and local train lines in Tokyo are slowly returning to normal.

(day +1) Jakarta 22.30, (day +2) Japan 00.30:

Energy supplies has been a serious problem now. Japan has requested more deliveries of coals and LNG from Russia. Taxi started to operating, trains getting back to normal schedules. The stores are empty from key essential products and snacks. There are huge queues at every petrol station. Some people have been queuing 5 hours. The station is rationing fuel to 20 liters per vehicle.

(day +1) Jakarta 23.20, (day +2) Japan 01.20:

According to AFP, Japan nuclear agency rates nuclear plant accident at Fukushima was at 4 on 0-7 scale on International Nuclear Event Scale, but it’s still likely to change, depends on the future situation. Expert says it’s not clear whether the situation is under control or not.

For comparison, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was rated 7 (which has series of explosion, and sent the radioactive materials to the atmosphere and spread over extensive areas), and the 1979 Three Mile Island accident was rated 5 (which was a similar problem like the coolant Fukushima nuclear problem, but in the end, the reactor was brought under control).

(day +2) Jakarta 00.15, Japan 02.15:

Kyodo news agency said that the total death toll rises to 687, with another 650 people missing. It’s not clear whether this already include the 200-300 bodies that was transferred to Sendai city or not.

(day +2) Jakarta 01.20, Japan 03.20:

French Nuclear Safety Authority said that it looks like for the time being the winds blows the radiation to the pacific ocean, which would lower the risk of radiation. WHO also says it believe that the public health risk “probably quite low”, because of the information that the radiation escaped from the plant is in very small amount.

Now I create the continuining of the story in prose, because the update now is not extremely needed in minutes, now that the things started to calmed down. It will also cover this page’s story, and some of the first day’s story.


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