sexta-feira, 11 de março de 2011

Live blog: Japan earthquake X

By Al Jazeera Staff in Asia
Houses in Iwaki lie flattened after a huge earthquake hit Japan, triggering a devastating 10m tsunami
Picture: Reuters
(All times are local in Japan GMT+9)


      AP News agency has reported that Japan quake causes the day to get a bit shorter.

      NASA geophysicist Richard Gross calculated that Earth's rotation sped up by 1.6 microseconds. That is because of the shift in Earth's mass caused by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake.

      A microsecond is one-millionth of a second. That change in rotation speed is slightly more than the one caused by last year's larger Chile earthquake. But 2004's bigger Sumatra earthquake caused a 6.8-microsecond shortening of the day.


      With a state of emergency declared at another nuclear reactor, there are now five reactors under a state of emergency - two at Fukushima No.1 plant, and three at the nearby Fukushima No.2 plant.


      US citizens in Japan are being urged to let officials know their whereabouts, by emailing JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov


      Not all US military personnel in Japan have been accounted for, the Pentagon has just confirmed.


      Japanese politicians are pushing for an emergency budget to counter the economic damage resulting from the twin disasters. The Bank of Japan, which has struggled to return the country to growth, said it will cut short a two-day policy review and promised to do its utmost to ensure financial market stability.

      Leaders of the ruling and opposition parties agreed on the need for an extra budget after prime minister Naoto Kan asked them to "save the country", Kyodo news agency reported. Yasuo Yamamoto, senior
      economist at Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo, said:

          The government would have to sell more bonds, but this is an emergency, so this can't be avoided ... given where the Bank of Japan's benchmark interest rate is now, they can't really lower rates. The BOJ will focus on
          providing liquidity, possibly by expanding market operations.


      Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan says:

          We've been working overnight to try to recover from the situation. I'm about to board a helicopter to go to the affected areas, in particular the area around affected nuclear facilities. At the moment we have ordered a 10km exclusion zone around the facility. I'm going there with experts from the industry to talk with the people responsible on the ground, and to grasp how the situation is. On this basis we will make the necessary decisions.


      A total of 45,000 people living within a 10km radius of the Fukushima nuclear power plant have now been told to evacuate their homes - a steep rise on the 3,000 who were told to leave yesterday evening.

      BoingBoing is hosting an excellent gallery of aerial photos which depict the scale of devastation caused by the earthquake and susequent tsunami. Click here to see it.
Dozens of troops trained for chemical disasters have been sent to the Fukushima nuclear plant in case of a radiation leak, along with four vehicles designed for use in atomic, biological and chemical warfare, says defence ministry official Ippo Maeyama.

Tokyo Electric Power has lost its ability to control pressure in some of the reactors of a second nuclear power plant at its quake-hit Fukushima facility in northeastern Japan, the company has said. 
Pressure is stable inside the reactors but rising in the containment vessels, a spokesman said - although he did not know if there would be a need to release pressure at the plant, which would involve a release of radiation.

Islands across the South Pacific have reported bigger-than-normal waves - but no major damage. 
Water has flooded a number of homes in Tonga, reported police, where thousands of people sought refuge at the king's residence on higher ground. 
Tidal surges of up to 26inches (66cm) were reported in American Samoa, Nauru, Saipan and northern New Zealand.

The Fukushima nuclear plant is 40 years old - but officials have confirmed that the emergency cooling system, the last-ditch measure to prevent the reactor going into meltdown, is still intact and could kick in if needed.

Banri Kaieda, Japanese industry minister, says:

    Due to the air release procedure, there's a possibility that radioactive materials may be released into the air. But the amount is minimal.

Japan's nuclear safety agency says some radiation has now seeped outside the plant, prompting calls for further evacuation of the area, says the Associated Press news agency.

More reports from the Fukushima nuclear plant - radiation levels at a central control unit in the "No.1 reactor" have reached 1,000 times normal, a trade ministry official told Reuters. But that's not a level that would require workers to evacuate the plant, the official said. 
Meanwhile, nuclear watcdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said that cooling systems at the "No.2 reactor" have also been damaged, and that work is underway to repair them. 
The 3km evacuation zone has been expanded to 10km, said prime minister Naoto Kan, before embarking on a tour of the earthquake-hit area. 

The IAEA has released a statement, saying:

    Three reactors at the plant were operating at the time of the earthquake, and the water level in each of the reactor vessels remains above the fuel elements, according to Japanese authorities.

    The IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities, and is in full response mode to monitor the situation closely round the clock.

This is a picture of Fukushima nuclear power station, where officials are reportedly dealing with a crisis in radiation levels. 

Fonte: Al-Jazeera

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