Japan quake live blog: Death toll rises as scattered reconstruction efforts begin
A shopper looks over nearly empty shelves Saturday at a grocery store in Senmaya, Japan.
March 19th, 2011
10:45 PM ET

Japan quake live blog: Death toll rises as scattered reconstruction efforts begin

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit northern Japan on March 11, 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's aftermath and check out our interactive explainer on Japan's damaged nuclear reactors.

[10:45 p.m. Saturday, 11:45 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Construction of temporary housing for displaced people began this weekend with 200 units destined for the devastated coastal city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, The Japan Times reported. The prefabricated houses can accommodate two to three people and will be built on the grounds of a junior high school.

[10:40 p.m. Saturday, 11:40 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] The death toll has reached 7,700, according to Japan National Police. At least 11,651 are missing and 2,612 are injured.

[9:00 p.m. Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Water spraying at Fukushima's number 4 reactor has ended, Kyodo News reports.

[8:25 p.m. Saturday, 9:25 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Self-defense forces have begun water spraying at Fukushima's number 4 reactor, Kyodo News reports.

[7:18 p.m. Saturday, 8:18 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] As Japan starts its day Sunday, concerns remain on the impact of radiation after trace amounts were found in spinach and milk near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Meanwhile, searches continue for nearly 12,000 missing, and more than 7,600 people have been confirmed dead.

[5:24 p.m. Saturday, 6:34 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] The water temperature is dropping in the spent fuel rod pool of the number 5 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, NHK reports. Tokyo Electric Power Company restored a power generator at the number 6 reactor on Saturday morning. One of the two generators at the number 6 reactor has been used since the quake to cool the spent fuel rod pools of the number 5 and number 6 reactors.

[2:24 p.m. Saturday, 3:34 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Six members of the emergency crew at the plant have been exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation per hour, the equivalent of getting 10 chest x-rays per hour, plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company said. The utility said the workers were exposed when trying to restore electricity to the stricken reactors in hopes of using the cooling systems again.

[11:22 a.m. ET Saturday, 12:22 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] The March 11 earthquake shifted Japan's Oshika Peninsula near the epicenter by 17 feet and dropped it by 4 feet, the Geospatial Information Authority in Tsukuba, Japan, reported Saturday. Those two land mass movements are records for Japan, according to government figures.

[10:19 a.m. Saturday, 11:19 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] The Japanese government halted the sale of all food from farms near a tsunami-affected nuclear plant Saturday after abnormally high levels of radiation were found in milk and spinach.

[6:48 a.m. ET Saturday, 7:48 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Japan's National Police Agency said Saturday evening that 7,348 people are confirmed dead, 10,947 have been reported missing and 2,603 were injured.

[6 a.m. ET Saturday, 7 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] CNN crews in Tokyo report feeling strong aftershocks.

[5:50 a.m. ET Saturday, 6:50 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Japan's National Police Agency said Saturday afternoon that 7,320 people are confirmed dead and 11,370 have been reported missing following last week's earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The agency also  said 2,618 people have been injured.

[3:41 a.m. ET Saturday, 4:41 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Abnormally high levels of radiation have been detected in samples of spinach and milk from Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters Saturday afternoon.

The recorded levels in the milk and spinach, both of which came from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima and Ibaraki, were over the limit stipulated in Japan's food safety law, according to Edano.

However, he stressed the levels were not extremely high: A person who consumed these products continuously for a year, Edano said, would take in the same amount of radiation as that of a single CT scan.

[1:53 a.m. ET Saturday, 2:53 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Tokyo's fire department is spraying seawater in and around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant's No. 3 unit using a self-operating, long-running new system, authorities said Saturday.

The unmanned system, which began working for the first time around 2 p.m. Saturday, can spray seawater for up to seven hours at a time to aid the ongoing effort to cool the reactor's spent nuclear pool.

Previously, firefighters, soldiers and power company workers have made several missions - in abbreviated intervals to guard against individuals' prolonged exposure to radiation - for this same purpose.

[1:32 a.m. ET Saturday, 2:32 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Workers at the embattled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant can be exposed to up to 250 millisieverts of radiation before they'd have to leave the facility, a Tokyo Electric Power Co. official told CNN on Saturday afternoon, more than double the allowed reading in place earlier day.

An individual in a developed country is naturally exposed to about 3 millisieverts of radiation a year.

The International Commission on Radiological Protection recommends no more than 50 millisieverts exposure in a given year for nuclear rescue and recovery workers. It offers no restriction in a crisis when "the benefit to others clearly outweighs the rescuer's risk."

Tokyo Electric had originally set a maximum radiation exposure threshold of 100 millisieverts before raising that level to 150 millisieverts, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

[1:10 a.m. ET Saturday, 2:10 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Workers have drilled three holes apiece in the ceilings of the Nos. 5 and 6 nuclear reactors at the embattled Fukushima Daiichi power plant in order to alleviate pressure, a Tokyo Electric Power Co. official said.

This was done to release hydrogen gas and steam, whose buildup contributed to explosions at the plants Nos. 1, 2 and 3 units. Experts say the emission of hydrogen gas may be an indication of a partial nuclear meltdown, which may happen when nuclear fuel rods inside are not fully covered by water.

There have been no such explosions at the plant's Nos. 5 and 6 units.

Japanese authorities have said that a diesel generator is now powering a cooling system for those two reactors.

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Dave

    We need to remember that all that water they are dumping into the reactors has to go somewhere. Before the earthquake the water was recycled or store because of radiation. All the water they are using now is just going back into the ground or going up in the air as steam. That water is contaminated by radiation, so that contaminated water is gong into the ground and contaminating the soil, plants and the water supply. Even the steam will be contaminated. I hear all the time about the radiation given off by the fuel rods but nothing about the water they are dumping on the fuel rod. I believe the radiated water will be more a problem long term then the fuel rods.

    March 20, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    @gmoore...good point. But isn't that bandwagon loaded? The real culprits on the road are tailgaters. A recent study found taigaters to be responsible for over 70% of the traffic deaths along the I-25 corridor. (between Denver and Colorado Springs) Vote "yes" on prop. 87b: Mandatory meds for repeat offenders.Medicate tailgaters!

    March 20, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Planet X

    May God be with us all. http://nopolicestate.blogspot.com

    March 20, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |

      jesus doesn't like the ja-paneese since dec 7th 1941 ..

      now if they waited till monday he might have forgave them..

      March 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    Thanks for pointing that out Rob.

    March 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bill

    What about the Truth that the Main Media a are Not telling about the Isotopes that were stored above the Reactor Building that blew up spreading them all over that area even into the sea! (approx 60,000) of them. Info from infowars.com.

    March 20, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lisa

    How sad

    March 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |

    What we see from this is that you don't need to take out the reactor for a DISASTER. screw up the power, backups, access to the plant, any number of scenarios including sabotage by disgruntled workers. Bomb in the control room? not beyond reason. Many things can bring these plants to their knees and nothing can be done to plan for all of it.

    April 9, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Savas

    ThomasARickhoff on March 6, 2011 @lunhil12 I cannot link the page but if you go to the NASA Human Spaceflight Webpage. On the put your mouse over Shuttle and then you'll see Reference. Go to Shuttle Reference Manual. Go to Crew Equipment third from the btootm. And then click on Radiation Equipment. It states that everyone on the flight crew wears a dosimeter. It has to be it because their is nothing else you see on ALL the crew members besides a watch.

    March 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
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