Japan quake live blog: Official death toll rises to 3,676
A tsunami survivor shows the family pictures she collected from the rubble of her house in Yamada on Tuesday.
March 15th, 2011
11:30 PM ET

Japan quake live blog: Official death toll rises to 3,676

An 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit northern Japan early Friday, triggering tsunamis that caused widespread devastation and crippled a nuclear power plant. Are you in an affected area? Send an iReport. Read the full report on the quake, tsunami and the fears surrounding Japan's damaged nuclear reactors.

[11:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] A white cloud of smoke or steam rising above Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may have been caused by a breach in the containment vessel in reactor No. 3, government officials said.

"There's a probability the vapor is coming out of a broken part of containment vessel. This is a possibility," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Wednesday.

A spokesman for Japan's nuclear safety agency later told reporters that analysts were still trying to determine the cause of fluctuating radiation levels at the plant, but that radiation levels may have increased "because the containment vessel in reactor No. 3 has been damaged."

[11:01 p.m. ET Tuesday, 12:47 p.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] The reported radiation readings near the front gate of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant are fluctuating by the hour, but currently do not pose any health hazard, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Wednesday. The reading spiked once Tuesday night, he said.

Meanwhile, The Japan Times reports that radiation reached around 20 times normal levels in the capital Tuesday morning, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said, while offering the assurance this reading posed no immediate risk to human health and that the public should remain calm.

"I received a report this morning that there was an important change of data," Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said at a news conference. "I heard that it will not immediately cause health problems."

[10:47 p.m. ET Tuesday, 11:47 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Wednesday workers at Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant have suspended their operations and been evacuated.

[9:20 p.m. ET Tuesday, 10:20 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] The death toll in Japan has risen to 3,676, authorities said. he number of dead is expected to go up as rescuers reach more hard-hit areas

At least 7,558 people are missing and 1,990 are injured, according to the National Police Agency Emergency Disaster Headquarters.

[8:26 p.m. ET Tuesday, 9:26 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] Stocks in Japan opened higher Wednesday morning, one day after the island nation's main market index suffered one of its biggest drops on record, CNNMoney's Ben Rooney reports.

The Nikkei 225 index, the most prominent measure of Tokyo market stocks, rose 520 points, or 6%, shortly after the market opened. The rebound comes after intense selling in the previous two sessions. On Tuesday, the index plunged 10.6%, marking the third worst one-day plunge in the Nikkei's history.

[6:42 p.m. ET Tuesday, 5:42 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] U.S. government experts trying to construct a model of radiation plumes emanating from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant are being hampered by a "paucity of good data," a senior administration official said.

[6:24 p.m. ET Tuesday, 5:24 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] Some context for the new fire in the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear power plant's Reactor 4 building: This is that building's second fire in two days.

The first fire, discovered Tuesday in a cooling pond used for nuclear fuel, coupled with Tuesday's explosion at the plant's No. 2 reactor, briefly pushed radiation levels at the plant to about 167 times the average annual dose of radiation, according to details released by the International Atomic Energy Agency. This chased all but a handful of workers from the site and raised fears of a far more dangerous radiation threat.

Tuesday's dose would quickly dissipate with distance from the plant, and radiation quickly fell back to levels where it posed no immediate public health threat, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.

The effect that Wednesday's fire was having on radiation levels and information about the fire's cause weren't immediately available. About 200,000 people living within a 12.4-mile radius of the plant have long been evacuated.

Three explosions and two fires have now been reported in various reactor buildings in the past five days.

[6 p.m. ET Tuesday, 5 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] A new fire was discovered Wednesday morning in the northeastern corner of Reactor 4 building at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant, an official with Tokyo Electric and Power told reporters.

[4:48 p.m. ET Tuesday, 5:48 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] The U.S. military has blocked its own access to a range of websites to free up bandwidth for use in Japan recovery efforts, according to a spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command.

The sites - including YouTube, ESPN, Amazon, eBay and MTV - were chosen not because of their content but because of their popularity among users of military computers, spokesman Rodney Ellison said.

U.S. Pacific Command made the request to free up the bandwidth. The sites, 13 in all, are blocked across the Department of Defense's .mil computer system.

[4:39 p.m. ET Tuesday, 5:39 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] The official number of missing people in Japan has risen to 7,558, and 1,990 have been reported injured. The death toll remains at 3,373 but is expected to rise as rescuers reach more hard-hit areas.

[4:13 p.m. ET Tuesday, 5:13 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] The governor of Tokyo has apologized for saying the earthquake and tsunami were God's punishment for Japanese egoism, a Japanese news service reported.

"I will take back (the remark) and offer a deep apology," Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said at a news conference, according to Japan's Kyodo News.

On Monday, Ishihara had told reporters, "I think (the disaster) is tembatsu (divine punishment), although I feel sorry for disaster victims," according to Kyodo News.

[4:02 p.m. ET Tuesday, 5:02 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] Iodide pills are being given to sailors as a "precautionary measure only," U.S. Navy spokesman Capt. Danny Hernandez said. The U.S. Army's Camp Zama, about 25 miles outside Tokyo, is also taking steps in light of the potential radiation threat.

Messages on the U.S. Army-Japan Facebook page says health officials have been taking "environmental radiation readings every 3 hrs" since Monday and they indicate "absolutely no health risk to our community."

The message added "negligible levels" of radiation require "mitigating measures," including limiting outdoor activities, closing windows and keeping children inside.

Representatives for the Marines and Air Force said they have not seen any reports of their troops testing positive for exposure.

The Navy has three ships en route to Japan to help with disaster relief. They are expected to arrive Thursday. Because of radiation concerns, they will position themselves in the Sea of Japan on the country's west coast rather than the east coast.

[3:35 p.m. ET Tuesday, 4:35 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] Regarding the staffers of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, who Kyodo News reported had to abandon the plant control room Tuesday night because of high radiation levels: "Their situation is not great," said David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University.

"It's pretty clear that they will be getting very high doses of radiation," Brenner said. "There's certainly the potential for lethal doses of radiation. They know it, and I think you have to call these people heroes."

[2:24 p.m. ET Tuesday, 3:24 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo]The explosion Tuesday at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has elevated the situation there to a "serious accident" on a level just below Chernobyl, a French nuclear official said, referring to an international scale that rates the severity of such incidents. The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale goes from Level 1 to Level 7.  "It's clear we are at Level 6, that's to say we're at a level in between what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl," Andre-Claude Lacoste, president of France's nuclear safety authority, told reporters Tuesday.

[1:48 p.m. ET Tuesday, 2:48 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] The impact of the massive earthquake that struck just off the coast of Japan last week has been felt by tech companies around the world. Dallas-based Texas Instruments said it had suffered "substantial damage" to its production plant in Miho, Japan and slight damage to its Aizu-wakamatsu plant,  CNNMoney reports. Both facilities are north of Tokyo in the areas most affected by the disaster. Austin-based Freescale Semiconductor, which is among the largest microchip makers in the United States, said its facility in Sendai, Japan, was closed.

[1:29 p.m. ET Tuesday, 2:29 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] The beleagured crew at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had to abandon the control room Tuesday night because of high radiation levels, Kyodo News reported, citing plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company. They were monitoring data from a remote site, Kyodo reported.

[12:40 p.m. ET Tuesday, 1:40 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] Operators at the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and government officials are considering a plan to use helicopters to drop water into the cooling pond through the damaged roof of the reactor building, according to a Kyodo News report.  Concerns about hot radioactive fuel boiling off cooling water and catching on fire continued into Wednesday.

[12:24 p.m. ET Tuesday, 1:24 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] Filipino authorities sought to calm panic unleashed among some residents after a hoax text message warned that radiation from Japan may affect the Philippines.  Concerns persist about nuclear reactors in Japan since the earthquake and tsunami. The false text message spread like wildfire on Monday.

[11:54 a.m. ET Tuesday, 12:54 a.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] Oil prices fell more than $3 per barrel, or about 3%,  as investors saw high expectations overshadowed by the impact of the Japanese crisis on the global economy. U.S. stocks also slumped, as Japan's stock market plunged 10.6%. The Dow Jones industrial tumbled 214 points or 1.8%, after being down as much as 297 points earlier. All 30 Dow components were in the red. The S&P 500 fell 23 points, or 1.8%, and the Nasdaq dropped 49 points, or 1.8%.

[10:06 a.m. ET Tuesday, 11:06 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] An aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 6.1 struck Tuesday in the eastern part of Honshu, Japan, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was the latest of dozens of aftershocks following a monster quake with a 9.0 magnitude that hit the area Friday. The aftershock was less than a mile deep and caused shaking that was widely felt.

[9:56 a.m. ET Tuesday, 10:56 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] The USGS reports a 5.8 magnitude aftershock off the east coast of Honshu, Japan. CNN crews in Tokyo and Hachinohe felt the tremor, which seemed to last more than 30 seconds, they said.

[9:43 a.m. ET Tuesday, 10:43 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] Tuesday morning, "low levels of radioactivity" were detected from the Fukushima plant by instruments on the USS George Washington at Yokosuka, the Navy said.

There was no danger to the public, but U.S. naval forces in Japan recommended measures for personnel and their families in Yokosuka, including limiting outdoor activities and "securing external ventilation systems as practical," the statement said. "These measures are strictly precautionary in nature."

[8:35 a.m. ET Tuesday, 9:35 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] The death toll has risen to 3,373 as a result of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday, the national police said Tuesday.

Another 6,746 people are missing, according to the latest figures, a sharp increase from the 3,743 people who were previously listed as missing by the police.

[8:10 a.m. ET Tuesday, 9:10 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] Radiation level readings have decreased at the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Tuesday afternoon.

"The level has come down to the level to cause no harm to human health, according to the report I have received," Edano said.

[8:01 a.m. ET Tuesday, 9:01 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] South Korea said it will tighten radiation inspections of meat and fisheries imported from Japan in the wake of explosions at the Fukushima power plant, Yonhap news agency reported.

[7:38 a.m. ET Tuesday, 8:38 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] Tohoku Electric Power Co. said Tuesday it would begin electricity rationing starting Wednesday, according to the Kyodo news agency.

The move, which comes one day after Tokyo Electric Power Co. implemented outages for quake-affected areas, will affect around 45 million people  in TEPCO"s service area, the agency reported.

[7:11 a.m. ET Tuesday, 8:11 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] In areas decimated by the earthquake and tsunami, temperatures were forecast to drop below freezing by Wednesday.

[6:47 a.m. ET Tuesday, 7:47 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] The death toll in Japan from Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami has risen to  2,734, authorities said Tuesday.

As of 6:30 p.m. (5:30 a.m. ET), at least 3,743 people were missing and 1,897 injured, according to the National Police Agency Emergency Disaster Headquarters.

[5:45 a.m. ET Tuesday, 6:45 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] Tokyo Electric Power Company says spent fuel rods may have burned in Tuesday's fire in the building housing reactor No. 4 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, causing the increase in radiation levels at the facility.

[5:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] The protective measures the Japanese government has taken in dealing with the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant  are "appropriate," the World Health Organization said Tuesday. "The actions proposed by the Government of Japan are in line with the existing  recommendations based on public health expertise," the agency said.

[4:39 a.m. ET Tuesday, 5:39 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo]
Hawaii's Governor Neil Abercrombie said the tsunami has caused tens of millions of dollars in damage and he plans to visit some of the damaged areas Tuesday.

The tsunami that devastated Japan brought powerful waves to the Hawaii islands last week.

Abercrombie has signed a "state of disaster proclamation" because of the damage.  The proclamation will allow the state to get federal funds.

[4:28 a.m. ET Tuesday, 5:28 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto at a G-8 meeting in Paris on Tuesday as Japan struggles with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

Matsumoto thanked the U.S. government for its assistance and encouragement.  Clinton offered her counterpart America's condolences and solidarity with the Japanese people.

[4:10 a.m. ET Tuesday, 5:10 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo]
The death toll in Japan from Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami has risen to 2,722, authorities said Tuesday.

As of 3:30 p.m. (2:30 a.m. ET), at least 3,742 people were missing and 1,892 injured, according to the National Police Agency Emergency Disaster Headquarters.

[3:34 a.m. ET Tuesday, 4:34 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] Radiation level readings have decreased at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi  nuclear plant, Japan's chief Cabinet secretary said Tuesday.

[3:15 a.m. ET Tuesday, 4:15 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo]
An escalating crisis at a nuclear power plant compounded the human devastation in Japan Tuesday.

As the death toll from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the resulting tsunami steadily ascended, residents waited with anxiety about radiation exposure.

The confirmed number of dead reached 2,478 on Tuesday. The toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach more hard-hit areas.

[2:31 a.m. ET Tuesday, 3:31 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] Japan's government has imposed a no-fly zone over the 30-kilometer radius surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant "because of detected radiation after explosions" there, the country's transportation ministry said Tuesday. "Normally there are no restrictions for planes to fly over nuclear facilities," the ministry's statement said.

[2:20 a.m. ET Tuesday, 3:20 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] Japanese stocks closed down 10.55 percent, recovering from deeper losses earlier in the session, as the nation grappled with a crisis at an earthquake-damaged nuclear power plant and the aftermath of last week's earthquake and tsunami.

[2:13 a.m. ET Tuesday, 3:13 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] The death toll in Japan from Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami has risen to 2,478, authorities said Tuesday.

As of 2 p.m. (1 a.m. Tuesday ET), at least 3,611 people were missing and 1,892 injured, according to the National Police Agency Emergency Disaster Headquarters.

The number of dead is expected to go up as rescuers reach more hard-hit areas.

[1:42 a.m. ET Tuesday, 2:42 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] A fire at the No. 4 reactor at the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi  nuclear  plant has been extinguished, Japanese officials said Tuesday. The fire broke out earlier  Tuesday. So far, the plant has seen three explosions and a fire.

[1:41 a.m. ET Tuesday, 2:41 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] The death toll in Japan from Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and  subsequent tsunami has risen to 2,475, authorities said Tuesday.  As of  10 a.m. (9 p.m. Monday ET), at least 3,118 people were missing and  1,889 injured, the National Police Agency said. The number of dead is  expected to go up as rescuers reach more hard-hit areas.

soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Blanca Ward

    I just stepped out on my patio to let the dog out and noticed something interesting. We've had quite a bit of snow this winter and have used a lot of the snow melt (salt) to clear our walkways. The result of this has been a deterioration of the concrete–flaking on the surface. With all the sea water being pumped into these reactors, I understand that the water is evaporating due to the high temperatures inside the reactor. So what's happening to all that salt? Isn't concrete the only thing separating the fuel rods from the earth itself? Yes, there's a stainless steel container housing the fuel rods, but if the concrete is affected by all that salt, what happens then?

    March 15, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      That's a good observation but salt has a greater reaction when combined with ice. When combined with heat it wouldn't do much to the concrete.

      March 15, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Bala

      That's a good point. Salt can actually superheat and turn to slush and when this happens it can hold a lot of heat. This technique is used in some solar power plants to heat water and run turbines. I guess not much water is expected to evaporate from the reactor and water is being pumped continuously to prevent rapid evaporation.

      March 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim Bell

      Why can’t they fill the building surrounding the containment vessel buildings with fire retardant foam, like what is used inside large aircraft hangers? Wouldn’t it trap the partilces in the foam and prevent a large portion of the radioactive particles from escaping into the atmosphere?

      March 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizen

      I was wondering as it seems to have less and less solutions for cooling the reactors, is it not possible to make rain on fukushima by using a weapon like the one used by china to make rain in the olympics games ? the rain could cool off the reactors i think.

      March 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Journey

      Can someone explain something to me?
      The earthquake happened on Friday and immediately the reactors shut off as they are supposed to. So, if they are shut off, won't they eventually cool off naturally? won't all the fuel get used up, etc. ? In other words, for how long will they have to continue to cool down these rods?

      March 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      The sea water is extremely corosive and is the last ditch effort to cool the rods. What is will do for sure is render the nuclear rods unusable for energy. Of course they will be kept in lead boxes for a billion years until they are no longer radio active.

      March 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      And...google nuclear reactors and why or how the produce energy and heat.

      March 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • 777 Solutionator

      Zap the reactors with a laser mounted on a 747 ,,,expirmental cooler,,,u think im jokin ,, think again.

      March 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      people, we are not talking about a camp fire here, we are talking about an enormous amount of energy, which is normally cooled by 1 million gallons of water PER SECOND.....24/7/365. This type of energy is incredible, and will take years to cool, not hours or days..........................

      March 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Dingee

      What if, instead of fire retardant foam, they fill the spent fuel pools, via some water circulatory piping, a slurry of boron and water. The water will be to cool and more importantly, to convey the mixture to the spent fuel pools. Boron is used in control rods to absorb the radiation from the fuel rods inside a reactor, why not flood the pool with this, especially in reactor #4's spent fuel pool, with the roof blown away already. The mix might seep in between the fuel rods, and eventually may cover them, making a shield from the radiation. The plants aren't coming back online, with the contamination from the sea water, and at least the boron absorbing some radiation, maybe this would allow for crews to gain access to the plant to do whatever they need to do to minimize the hazard to the rest of the population.

      March 15, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian Robbins

      dump 2 million us imperial gallons of liquid nitrogen on the core that should cool it off before it becomes unstoppable.

      March 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • 777 Solutionator

      nitrogen has a limited ability to transfer heat as opposed to water,,,,im going with the laser cuz its cool...oh by the way what a bunch of clowns at CNN( circus news network) whiiping everyone up in a frenzy....theyre gonna cause a riot ,,like they have everywhere else,,,,these talking heads know nothing

      March 15, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Test


    March 15, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • khaotic

      Wow...That video made me speechless.
      just pure horror...

      March 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Wayne H

    I'm watching your live feed of NHK World and they have a live news conference going on... they're saying the 6.4 near Mount Fuji is unrelated to big quake and is not an aftershock.

    March 15, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Chris Robles

    Lets get someone from an anti nuclear organization up on the CNN channel, to ensure they're not scared of talking about a worst case senario!

    March 15, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • 1982

      Worst case scenarios never happen with this kind of stuff, Chris. Sorry about that.

      March 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hilo, HI

      1982, There's a worse case scenario for every situation.
      You own shares?

      March 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gareth Williams Ph.D.

      A worst case scenerio is really a maximum credible accident. Take the fuel pond fires: It is credible that if the water level is high enough in the pond the fuel rods and water form a subcritical assembly. If the pond is cracked and water drains out the assembly can become critical or supercritical at the correct water level, and subcritical at a lower water level. The fule rods will get hot and could boil the water in the pond. As the water level drops the fuel rods are exposed and cooling them with water or water spray will produce Hydrogen and result in an explosion. This is probably what has happened and boron should be used to absorb neutrons.

      March 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mulhollander


    March 15, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joseph

    After watching your interview of Dr. Golan from MIT, it's obvious to me that you're not really interested in thoroughly covering the news, but in covering the "sensationalism". He had a great deal of information to share based on his knowledge and experience. Yet, you cut him off short of his being able to fully explain the situation and possible evolution of further problems with the nuclear reactors, which, at this point may be as important as additional aftershocks. The human tragedy stories will always be there, but the nuclear reactor tragedies are changing quickly and could be more significant in the evolution of the human tragedy than what's already occurred from the earthquake and Tsunami.

    March 15, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris Robles

      Ya lets talk about the real problem going on over there on a real level

      March 15, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • cynthia

      I have to say I'm in total agreement with Joseph. That interview had the potential of being much more informative if the anchor would just keep her mouth shut.

      March 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. len

    If sea water has been used to cool the reactor will it now mean that contaminated sea water is returning to the ocean as i am sure they will not be containing any water used for cooling

    March 15, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Don in ohio

      Yes that is one of my concerns also. Usually the water used to "cool" a reactor is in a closed system and creates "heavy water" So what is happening to this sea water that is being used now and where is it going after it has been used to cool the rods?

      March 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hilo, HI

      JUSTICE FOR THE OCEANS will become my life's work 24/7....and anyone who has seen the humpback whales and dolphins in our bays, sea turtles on our sands, had families FOR GENERATIONS fishing off the waters -a 7th Nation Army will be no match.

      March 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sim597

      Don in Ohio, it doesn't "create" heavy water, instead of h2o, heavy water has an extra Isotope and is actually D2o. The properties of "heavy water" are why it is so valuable as a coolant for these types of uses. "heavy water" in itself is not radio-active, and is not a by-product, although there are several ways to produce it, it in itself does not create a health risk as it would be very hard to drink enough to kill you, it can of course, but you, or a person would have to replace between 40-50% of your bodies water.

      March 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      people, we are not talking about a camp fire here, we are talking about an enormous amount of energy, which is normally cooled by 1 million gallons of water PER SECOND.....24/7/365. This type of energy is incredible, and will take years to cool, not hours or days..........................and yes, that water returning to the ocean IS contaminated

      March 15, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joseph

    Good point, Len. It may, however, be the only way to prevent a catastrophic explosion/melt down...

    March 15, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      Unfortunately for the environment, if that's what's occurring...

      March 15, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. anthony

    in my perspective they r built by a fault... they took a risk in puting the plants there... there is no reason we should b questioning the use of these plants in the usa...we need them afterall.

    March 15, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DerpDiggler

    LOL! ūüėÄ

    March 15, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. anthony

    joseph u made a good point with him being interpert...sadly thats what happens into days day and age.the puplic is kept hidden from the truth and is told whats good for it/us

    March 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kevin

    Could this be the ultimate irony? The initial earthquake probably never took many lives, but if a Tsunami of the same magnitude had struck the nuclear plants without the earthquake to cause the reactors to shut down....what could have happened? A mulitple meltdown that may have had a considerably wider impact even then the Tsunami itself? The nuclear plants have been exposed as not being Tsunami proof; we hope that the earthquake that shut the reactors down does save the day in the current event, but ironically, it may have saved a lot more lives in a future event.

    March 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derrick

      Actually the tsunami did very little to the power plant...It just wrecked the backup cooling generators...with out the shut down the plant would never of had to rely on the generators or exterior power (which the earthquake wreaked) to try and cool down as the reactors own power is normally used for that task.

      March 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul K2

      Actually, the power plant needed a continual supply of seawater to cool the reactors. Judging from the photos (before and after) of the plant, the seawater intakes look to have been substantially damaged by the tsunami. The tsunami alone would have caused the plants to go into shutdown. Of course, then power from the grid may have been available, but who knows whether the tsunami would have caused the grid to fail.

      Bottom line: the facility should have been designed to withstand both an earthquake and the accompanying tsunami.

      March 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |


    March 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. anthony

    if ppl prepared for the worst scenarios it would b easier to prefend or take controll over small onces

    March 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. anthony

    god has nothing to do with it its human error.

    March 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whomedoyou

      Exactly – if there is a god, the statement from that end of the conversation would have been like: "Since I have withdrawn any 'tricks' you pull are yours to own. Don't look towards me."

      March 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
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