March 14th, 2011
11:12 AM ET

Roundup: The situation in Japan

The Toll

Kyodo news agency reports that approximately 2,000 bodies were found Monday in Miyagi Prefecture on Japan's northeast coast. CNN notes that “if confirmed, the discovery would be the largest yet of victims from last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami.”

CNN reports: “Tokyo Electric Power Company says a core meltdown might have occurred in the No. 2 nuclear reactor of its Fukushima No. 1 power plant.”

According to The Mainichi Daily News,  “experts have issued warnings that the explosion at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 14 could be far more serious than initially predicted.”

Oil prices fell Monday “as the earthquake in Japan raised concerns about the worldwide economy. The price of light crude for April delivery fell $1.53 per barrel to $99.63.”

And the Nikkei plunged over 6, closing at a four-month low, “pressured by concerns about the adverse economic impact from Friday's deadly quake and tsunami as well as a subsequent explosion at a nuclear power plant.”

The Response

CNN reports: “Numerous U.S. rescue and assistance teams arrived Sunday in Japan and are helping lead a broad international effort to bring relief to areas ravaged by Friday's earthquake and tsunami.  The United States, the United Kingdom, China and South Korea are among 69 governments that have offered to help, Kyodo News Agency reported, citing the Japanese foreign ministry.”

And CNNMoney reports that Japanese officials will “backstop the country's financial system with a cash injection of more than $60 billion to buffer it against the impact of last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami. The aim is to make sure the banks have enough cash on hand to meet demands of panicky investors and cover withdrawal demands of bank customers.”

The Analyses

Japan’s Asahi newspaper editorial board writes that “failures at nuclear plants in the quake raises a fundamental question: How can earthquake-prone Japan coexist with nuclear power plants?

Over in the United States, the difficulty the Japanese are facing in controlling their plants is raising red flags about the safety of U.S. facilities. "The tragic events now unfolding in Japan could very easily occur in the United States," Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who sits on the House committee overseeing nuclear power, said in a statement.  He calls for “stronger safety systems in plants located near fault lines, emergency response drills that model instances when more than one disaster unfolds simultaneously, and the distribution of radiation-blocking potassium iodide pills to everyone living within 20 miles of a reactor. (Such pills are now disbursed to people within 10 miles of a reactor.)” CNN offers more information on Japan’s nuclear industry.

Asahi also notes that “the disaster has finally created political momentum for bipartisan cooperation for the well-being of the nation.” As Steve Clemons and other experts explain on the “Global Public Square,” Japan’s political and economic climate have been dire for years.

Finally, the editorial board of The Mainichi Daily News writes to the world: “Japan now faces its most serious crisis since World War II. Amid such a dire situation, we are extremely grateful for the heartwarming messages of support to Japan.”

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. rch

    I'd like to commend CNN for covering the facts of the Fukushima situation so well.
    Please continue to use the most accurate technical terminology whenever possible.
    Thank you.

    March 14, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
  2. Joe

    I was born and raised in Japan. I speak both languages fluently. I have some training and am looking for somewhere to volunteer. I am not in a financial position to donate, but I would like to offer my servces. Can anyone help me with this?

    March 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  3. Steve

    We have noticed that swarms of earthquakes of magnitude 5 or greater occurred before the Honshu 8.9 quake starting on about march 7th. Recorded on March 7th (according to the earthquake list published by the USGS) where two 5+ events in the Ryukan Islands (Okinawan) of Japan south of Honshu. These were followed on the 8th and 9th by four 5+ temors near the Kamchutke Peninsula north of Honshu. Following these events where one 7+ and four 6+ quakes east of Honshu all of which lead up to the 8.9 Tsunami quake. why didn't this concentration of quakes result in cautionary warnings?

    March 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  4. Bsmith

    If anybody could answer this question, I would like to know how nuclear power plants dispose of their radioactive waste and whether or not that would pose a problem with using nuclear energy as a source of fuel in the long run.

    March 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  5. Milton Barfield

    I used to work at a nuclear power plant in Texas (Commanche Peak Steam Generating Plant) .I would like for CNN to ask the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commision) what is the current standard that american nuclear power plants should be able to handle in respect to a earthduake.When I worked at Commanche Peak it was a 8 on the rictor scale. Is this still so or has it been changed?
    thanks for any information you may be able to attain
    Milton C. Barfield

    March 16, 2011 at 11:05 am | Reply
  6. art mellinger

    six reactors built adjacent to each other definitely seamed to compound the situation. i would think that one reactor should not be within 50 miles of an other...what do you think?

    March 20, 2011 at 2:11 am | Reply
  7. Ogunniyi

    to be wnrikog on projects in Syria. Damascus has been emboldened by Iran's defiance of international sanctions in pursuit of a nuclear weapon.The reports said that Israeli officials had briefed Arab journalists that Syria had spread its work around a number of sites in the country to ensure that the programme could not be destroyed in a single bombing raid. --------–jacksen

    February 12, 2012 at 1:07 am | Reply
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