Category Archives: Japan Tsunami

No Solid Mass of Debris from Japan in the Ocean

noaa-japan-debris-map
A NOAA modeling effort shows that some buoyant items first reached the Pacific Northwest coast during winter 2011-2012. More debris is likely still dispersed north of the Main Hawaiian Islands and east of Midway Atoll. The model gives NOAA an understanding of where debris from the tsunami may be located today, because it incorporates how winds and ocean currents since the event may have moved items through the Pacific Ocean. This model is a snapshot of where debris may be now, but it does not predict when debris will reach U.S. shores in the future. It’s a “hindcast,” rather than a “forecast.” Captions and image source: NOAA

By NOAA;

“We’ve heard a concern from some of you that there’s an island of debris in the Pacific Ocean coming from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. For those of you who may be new to this topic, we’d like to address those concerns.

Here’s the bottom line: There is no solid mass of debris from Japan heading to the United States.

At this point, nearly three years after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, whatever debris remains floating is very spread out. It is spread out so much that you could fly a plane over the Pacific Ocean and not see any debris since it is spread over a huge area, and most of the debris is small, hard-to-see objects.

We have some helpful resources for you, if you’re interested in learning more.

While there likely is some debris still floating at sea, the North Pacific is an enormous area, and it’s hard to tell exactly where the debris is or how much is left. A significant amount of debris has already arrived on U.S. and Canadian shores, and it will likely continue arriving in the same scattered way over the next several years. As we get further into the fall and winter storm season, NOAA and partners are expecting to see more debris coming ashore in North America, including tsunami debris mixed in with the “normal” marine debris that we see every year.

NOAA has modeled the debris’ movement, and the model shows the overall spread of all simulated debris and an area where there may be a higher concentration of lower floating debris (such as wood) in one part of the Pacific. However, that doesn’t mean it’s in a mass, and it doesn’t tell us how much is there, it just shows there may be more debris there than in other areas. Observations of the area with satellites have not shown any debris.

Even though there’s no mass, addressing this debris is very important. NOAA has worked with partners in the states to monitor the debris, form response plans, and try to mitigate any impacts. We’ll continue that work as long as necessary. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.”

Original Article, NOAA

Everyone Calm Down: A Texas-Sized ‘Island’ Of Toxic Tsunami Debris Is Not Headed For The U.S., The Huffington Post
A graphic released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has sparked fears of a massive, Texas-sized “island” of toxic debris heading toward the United States from Japan…

As Japan debris washes up in the US, scientists worry about break in natural order, Guardian UK (04-26-2013)

Up to 20 million tons of debris from Japan’s tsunami moving toward Hawaii, AP (10-24-2011)

Flotsam from 2011 Japan tsunami reaches Alaska, CNN (05-23-2012)

Official: Dock found in Oregon is debris from Japan, AP (06-06-2012)

First Confirmed Japanese Tsunami Debris in California, AP (04-26-2013)

“Coming To A Beach Near You” by Eddie Jarvis

Japan Tsunami Debris on Pagan Island: Financial Problems May Lead to a Second Environmental Mess, Scientific American (06-13-2012)
What would motivate a small island nation to settle for the foreign mining of its pozzolan resources, and sell one of its most limited commodities : land? This is a story about how a small island in the tropical pacific was proposed as a dumpsite for trash from the 2011 Japan tsunami…

Fukushima Leaks: Radioactive Water Overflows Tank Into The Sea

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Reflection, mother and child by the sea, Japan. Photo source: ©© mrhayata

Excerpts;

Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has a new leak of radioactive water after workers overfilled a storage tank, its operator says. Around 430 litres (100 gallons) of water may have leaked from the tank, and could have flowed into the sea…

Read Full Article, BBC News

Fukushima Radiation Leaks Reach Deadly New High, Guardian UK

Fukushima Radiation Leaks Reach Deadly New High

daiichi-greenpeace
Photo source: © Greenpeace

Excerpts;

On Wednesday the country’s nuclear regulation authority said radiation readings near water storage tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have increased to a new high, with emissions above the ground near one group of tanks were as high as 2,200 millisieverts [mSv] per hour, a rise of 20% from the previous high…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

A look at the radioactive water leaks at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, and the risks, AP / The Washington Post

Government Must Step In To Halt Fukushima Leaks

pacific-ocean
Pacific Ocean. Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The Fukushima nuclear accident resulted in the largest ever accidental release of radioactivity to the oceans. Some 80% of all the radionuclides released from Fukushima ended up in the Pacific…

Even if one assumes that leaks from the plant into the sea will eventually be stopped, residual contamination would continue to be present in the adjacent marine ecosystem for many years…

Read Full Article, Nature

Worst Incident at Fukushima For Two Years, Greenpeace
The seemingly endless torrent of scandals rushing from the damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima continues with the news that a serious incident is underway at the stricken plant. Once again we see that Fukushima’s owner TEPCO is utterly unfit to deal with the ongoing disaster…

Worst Incident at Fukushima For Two Years

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Japan, beachgoers. Photo courtesy of: © Maximilien Lebaudy

Excerpts;

The seemingly endless torrent of scandals rushing from the damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima continues with the news that a serious incident is underway at the stricken plant. Once again we see that Fukushima’s owner TEPCO is utterly unfit to deal with the ongoing disaster…

Read Full Article, Greenpeace

Japan nuclear agency upgrades Fukushima alert level, BBC News

Radioactive Water Leaks at Japanese Nuclear Plant, ABC News

TEPCO Admits Radiation Leaks Into Pacific Ocean, Business Week

Seafood Safety and Policy What’s safe to eat? How can we know? WHOI
In Japan, a nation that eats prodigious amounts of seafood, one question sits high on the list of public concerns: Is seafood caught after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe safe for human consumption?

Fukushima: One Man’s Story, The Economist
It was Japan’s worst nightmare: an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear meltdown. Two years on, the fallout has left the people facing up to some inconvenient truths… A story by Henry Tricks, for The Economist.

Radioactive Water Leaks at Japanese Nuclear Plant

red-wave
Photo source: ©© Irargerich

Excerpts;

The operator of Japan’s tsunami-crippled nuclear power plant said Tuesday that about 300 tons (300,000 liters, 80,000 gallons) of highly radioactive water have leaked from one of the hundreds of storage tanks there, its worst leak yet from such a vessel…

Read Full Article, ABC News

Fukushima leaks: Japan PM steps in, Guardian UK
Japan’s prime minister has promised “firm measures” to combat leaks of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant after its operator, Tepco, was criticised for a lack of action…

Norway’s Weird Waves Traced to Japan Earthquake

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Flam fjord, Norway. Photo source: ©© EGuideTravel

Excerpts;

On a calm winter’s day in Norway two years ago, the sea suddenly started to boil and rise, sending freak waves rolling onto nearby shores and mystifying residents. Turns out, the massive magnitude-9.0 earthquake that shook Japan in 2011 also triggered these surprise seiche waves, a new study shows…

Read Full Article, Livescience

Fukushima leaks: Japan PM steps in

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Seaside, Japan. Photo courtesy of: © Maximilien Lebaudy

Excerpts;

Japan’s prime minister has promised “firm measures” to combat leaks of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant after its operator, Tepco, was criticised for a lack of action…

Government officials have said an estimated 300 tonnes of radioactive water has been leaking into the sea each day since early in the crisis…

Read Full Article, Guardian, UK

Time for Japan to Take Control of The Fukushima Disaster, Greenpeace