2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

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2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Anujan » 15 Mar 2011 08:02

My heart goes out to all the Japanese people who are suffering due to this great tragedy. Hopefully relief will be quick and they will come out of this stronger. You can donate to reputable charities here (please only donate to reputable charities):

http://www.unicefusa.org
http://www.usaid.gov/

There is also a crisis response page here:

http://www.google.com/crisisresponse/japanquake2011.html
Last edited by Anujan on 15 Mar 2011 08:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Anujan » 15 Mar 2011 08:04

I feel that we need a dedicated thread to track the after effects of the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. Rakshaks should post the latest news, lessons that India can learn from disaster management (what went right, what went wrong) and the effect of this disaster on international and Japanese economy.

The Steel containment of Reactor no 2 seems to have been damaged. This is a serious issue.

Japan Faces Prospect of Nuclear Catastrophe as Workers Leave Plant

Japan faced the likelihood of a catastrophic nuclear accident Tuesday morning, as an explosion at the most crippled of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station damaged its crucial steel containment structure, emergency workers were withdrawn from the plant, and much larger emissions of radioactive materials appeared imminent.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby pgbhat » 15 Mar 2011 08:13

Safety review ordered in nuclear plants: Manmohan
“The Department of Atomic Energy [DAE] and its agencies including the Nuclear Power Corporation of India have been instructed to undertake an immediate technical review of all safety systems of our nuclear power plants, particularly with a view to ensuring that they would be able to withstand the impact of large natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes.”

Singh's $175 Billion Nuclear Dream Threatened by Japan Quake
“The earthquake is going to reopen the controversial debate over nuclear energy in India,” said Uday Bhaskar, director of the New Delhi-based National Maritime Foundation, a research group. “Democracies are reactive and an accident of this magnitude will raise concerns among the population about the safety of the technology.”
“The government brushed aside the safety concerns at the time,” Yashwant Sinha, a BJP leader and former foreign minister said in an interview. “Our entire policy of getting nuclear energy should be looked at afresh. We should now look at safer options because of the dangers involved.”
“This event may be a big dampener for our program,” Shreyans Kumar Jain, chairman of India’s state-run monopoly producer, said in a telephone interview from Mumbai March 13. “We and the Department of Atomic Energy will definitely revisit the entire thing, including our new reactor plans, after we receive more information from Japan.”

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby svinayak » 15 Mar 2011 08:56



Old technology used in the reactor design
Complacancy

submarine tech used in this design

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby svinayak » 15 Mar 2011 09:01

Add up these dates and you get 9/11/01

+ 3/10/11 = 12/21/12 the day the world is supposed to end. I dont believe it but

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Singha » 15 Mar 2011 11:05

the yellow matter officially hitting the fan...

AP
Japanese ordered indoors in radiation leak crisis

(AP) – 22 minutes ago

SOMA, Japan (AP) — High levels of radiation leaked from a crippled nuclear plant in tsunami-ravaged northeastern Japan after a third reactor was rocked by an explosion Tuesday and a fourth caught fire in a dramatic escalation of the 4-day-old catastrophe. The government warned 140,000 people nearby to stay indoors to avoid exposure.

Tokyo also reported slightly elevated radiation levels, but officials said the increase was too small to threaten the 39 million people in and around the capital, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) away.

In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from four reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima state, one of the hardest-hit in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that has killed more than 10,000 people, plunged millions into misery and pummeled the world's third-largest economy.

Officials just south of Fukushima reported up to 100 times the normal levels of radiation Tuesday morning, Kyodo News agency reported. While those figures are worrying if there is prolonged exposure, they are far from fatal.

Kan and other officials warned there is danger of more leaks and told people living within 19 miles (30 kilometers) of the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex to stay indoors to avoid the possibility of radiation sickness.

"Please do not go outside. Please stay indoors. Please close windows and make your homes airtight," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told residents in the danger zone. "Don't turn on ventilators. Please hang your laundry indoors."

"These are figures that potentially affect health. There is no mistake about that," he said.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Purush » 15 Mar 2011 13:00

Now we have self-styled 'experts' expertly inserting their feet in their mouth... :evil:

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/new ... 708194.cms

MUMBAI: Top officials of the Department of Atomic Energy today said India's civil nuclear programme will continue without any compromise on safety parameters, and claimed what happened in Japan's Fukushima plant in wake of the deadly earthquake was not a "nuclear accident".

"Safety is the overriding parameter and DAE cannot take any shortcut and Indian plants are safe but after analysing the situation in the nuclear reactors of Fukushima, which have been affected due to an unprecedented Tsunami preceded by high magnitude earthquake, we will revisit the safety aspects of our plants," top DAE officials said.

"There is no nuclear accident or incident in Japan's Fukushima plants. It is a well planned emergency preparedness programme which the nuclear operators of the Tokyo Electric Power Company are carrying out to contain the residual heat after the plants had an automatic shutdown following a major earthquake," said S K Jain, the Chairman and Managing Director of Nuclear Power Corporation. (WTF is this guy smoking?)

Once the plant shuts down after an emergency situation automatically, the fission reaction stops and it is only the residual heat that has to be quenched and that is what the Japanese were doing, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Srikumar Banerjee said.

"Because of the unprecedented Tsunami, the external power was unavailable for the emergency diesel generators to take over... during the process the pressure was building up in the reactor which had to be released in a phased manner, that resulted in the exothermic reaction due to hydrogen generation.

"It was purely a chemical reaction and not a nuclear emergency as described by some section of media," :roll: Banerjee said.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby vina » 15 Mar 2011 13:04

My respect for the Japanese as a society went up many fold. The true character comes out only in adversity. My word, what a disciplined and highly civilized people. No looting, no untoward breast beating, no emotion charged bleating, all disciplined, orderly and everything and trying to best address a calamity of this magnitude as best as anyone possibly can.

Very few societies can behave this way. Consider Unkil, Katrina hammers New Orleans and we have utter chaos and lotting and breakdown of civil society. If this happens in China, there will be absolute rioting and turmoil (ever see Chinese try getting into a bus, it is worse than anything you see in India) and absolute chaos. In India there are reports that the Tsunami warning buoys set up by the Govt after the 2004 Tsunami have been ripped apart by fishermen for the metal and the materials. I guess it would be only poetic justice if those fisherfolks are wiped out in a future Tsunami.

A Japan like society will bounce back to even greater heights after something like a tragedy of this proportions. I would bet on it. They did it before , after WWII and the nukes at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby vina » 15 Mar 2011 13:07

Purush wrote:"Because of the unprecedented Tsunami, the external power was unavailable for the emergency diesel generators to take over... during the process the pressure was building up in the reactor which had to be released in a phased manner, that resulted in the exothermic reaction due to hydrogen generation.

"It was purely a chemical reaction and not a nuclear emergency as described by some section of media," :roll: Banerjee said.
[/quote]

He is smoking something very potent indeed. While he is right in the sense that it is not a "nuclear failure" technically and the explosions were hydrogen generated when steam reacted with the fuel cladding, this is a classic Loss of Coolant Accident and a failure of safety systems and backups, directly leading to a nuclear incident. Maybe unlike Chernobyl maybe, but an accident where there has been release of radiactivity all the same!

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Lalmohan » 15 Mar 2011 13:12

the radiation levels are indeed elevated, but still relatively low
the latest figures i have seen are still around the annual safe dosage levels in a month
if the containment vessel is damaged, that is indeed bad news... however most experts so far are saying that we are a long way from catastrophe. the media is i fear overhyping the matter - and the markets are reacting now, expect gas prices to rise. expect germany to scrap or pause its nuclear rejuvination programme, etc., etc.
lets hope the engineers get to grips with the problem speedily

to pick up on Vina's point: the japanese are a highly disciplined nation, perhaps they have evolved this way simply because of previous natural disasters? They have been impressive in swinging into action, and everybody has chipped in - apparently shopkeepers are giving away their stocks to help with relief, etc. But systemically - it seems that schools function as relief centres, teachers are trained to be relief workers and there are lots of civil defense drills, etc. i fear that this level of discipline is simply not possible in india

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby vina » 15 Mar 2011 13:32

But systemically - it seems that schools function as relief centres, teachers are trained to be relief workers and there are lots of civil defense drills, etc. i fear that this level of discipline is simply not possible in india


Oh yeah. I can imagine the circus in India. We will have Boorkha Didi going into paroxysms of hysteria (did you watch the performance during the Mumbai attacks), each TV channel trying to outdo the other in emotional breast beating and mass hysteria and pure wailing , with none of them making any sense whatsoever, some "experts" who cant find their a*sses with their hands giving out Maha Goli and DDM nut cases going absolutely over the top.

Oh, finally, our great politicos like the "Humble Farmer" and Dr Artiste and others of their ik , all the way from Kanyakumari to Kashmir would get a severe case of browning their dhotis and shalwars and will be shell shocked and huddling under multiple layers of protection and shivering in their browned dhotis.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Sanku » 15 Mar 2011 13:39

I am glad we brown our dhoti's when there is time. Much better than redding our shirts in order to keep the "face"

Sorry boys; the situation is bad, was clear from first moment that the situation is bad. Indian and other media which did not have a vested interest in underplaying the matter reported it as it is, as opposed to deliberate and I am going to claim, very dangerous underplaying by the Japanese and allied media.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Sanku » 15 Mar 2011 13:47

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/japan ... th/762699/

Japanese fear govt hiding truth

“We had no time to be tested for radioactive exposure. I still haven't been tested. I worry about leaks. It's invisible so you can't tell.

“I used to believe the nuclear power officials, but not now. I think they are not being open with us. They aren't telling us anything,'' said Tachiya.


And on and on.....

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Sanku » 15 Mar 2011 13:52

Lalmohan wrote:if the containment vessel is damaged, that is indeed bad news...


It is.

however most experts so far are saying that we are a long way from catastrophe.


Most experts have been horribly behind the curve here, I fear deliberately. A full understanding of cost/benefit by the laity will end up with many of them without there "rozi-roti". There is a obvious conflict of interest here.

I will wager a bet, a full meltdown is now a matter of WHEN and not if. I expect more bad news within a day.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Abhijeet » 15 Mar 2011 13:58

On a trip to Japan a few years back, quite a lot of temples and monuments we saw seemed to have been rebuilt after being destroyed through a fire, earthquake or something similar. The buildings looked old, but reading the plaque confirmed that they had been rebuilt in the 1800s or 1900s to look identical to a much older design. The Japanese may have a cultural memory of rebuilding after catastrophe.

On a separate note, the Japanese must surely be among the most polite people on Earth, at least to visitors.

High respect for people who can build an advanced civilization in such a difficult part of the world.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Gaurav_S » 15 Mar 2011 14:14

Thanks for the thread, but IMO Indian nuclear plants have more chances of being terror target then natural calamity like earthquake.

If there is nuke disaster in India due to earthquake or so GoI can atleast blame on nature saying "we did everything to avoid but its nature you no..".

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby svinayak » 15 Mar 2011 14:21

Sanku wrote:
Japanese fear govt hiding truth

“We had no time to be tested for radioactive exposure. I still haven't been tested. I worry about leaks. It's invisible so you can't tell.

“I used to believe the nuclear power officials, but not now. I think they are not being open with us. They aren't telling us anything,'' said Tachiya.

And on and on.....

Looks like Japan govt under pressure to give concession to US govt before it gets some nuke help.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Sanku » 15 Mar 2011 14:23

Gaurav_S wrote:Thanks for the thread, but IMO Indian nuclear plants have more chances of being terror target then natural calamity like earthquake.

If there is nuke disaster in India due to earthquake or so GoI can atleast blame on nature saying "we did everything to avoid but its nature you no..".


India has already done a better job in a equally serious, if not worse situation at Kalpakkam.

Thank you.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Sanku » 15 Mar 2011 14:25

Acharya wrote:Looks like Japan govt under pressure to give concession to US govt before it gets some nuke help.


Either that, or they worry that their efforts to sell these beasts will suffer due to exposure of the innate risks associated with their tech.

You can see the apologists spinning away already.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Klaus » 15 Mar 2011 15:52

Has there been any offer from the French with regard to salvaging the issue at the reactor? Surely, the French could provide a fresh and independent perspective and bail out the brave Japanese at their time of need. It is better than seeing this sickening display of servitude demanded by the Americans who are just salivating for the moment when the Japanese are going to bend over backwards.

Indeed, local institutions may be doing a good thing by keeping the real facts suppressed as the population already has a first hand civilizational memory of nuclear fall-out. Perhaps they feel rightly that the general populace might go over the edge if the entire truth is revealed. JMHO.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby sanjaykumar » 15 Mar 2011 17:04

On a trip to Japan a few years back, quite a lot of temples and monuments we saw seemed to have been rebuilt after being destroyed through a fire, earthquake or something similar. The buildings looked old, but reading the plaque confirmed that they had been rebuilt in the 1800s or 1900s to look identical to a much older design.


The venerated structures such as temples are rebuilt every twenty years to the original specifications (made of wood).

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Lalmohan » 15 Mar 2011 19:30

if you look at the photos, amongst the first things to have been achieved is to clear the roads of debris. it is striking that in the midst of so much devastation, the access routes have been immediately cleared

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Murugan » 15 Mar 2011 19:44

2001 kutch earthquake - the reaction time was only 10 minutes.

On 11th minutes, the Indian Army was packing gears for rescue and relief. 20th Minutes helicopters were air-borne.
IA guys at jamnagar were asked to march to kutch by 10:30 am on 26th January

by 3rd day, all rotting dead bodies were cremated by Army and RSS together! that too after taking permission from the concerned authorities and relatives.

Debris on main roads were removed within 2 days and admin was functioning from 30th January from makeshift tents. IA's extendable hospitals were available at all affected towns and near many villages. Within 5 years they built a new city called new Bhuj.

Thankless DDM never cared to publish this in media. Many people of rest of india had not bothered to know.

Non-government agencies and religious orgs started sending relief material from 26th evening onwards. the inflow of relief material was so vast that at one point govt had to appeal not to send anything more. doctors from as far as mumbai provided free services for 2-3 months non-stop. by 15th of February all partially damaged structures were brought down to avoid further damage to intact structures/buildings/schools etc because of aftershocks.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Lalmohan » 15 Mar 2011 20:08

murugan-ji, indian armed forces have shown they are very capable of immediate response and C3 required to manage disasters. civil authorities are much further behind, and civic sense amongst mangos is zero...
i've been in ahmedabad during a small earthquake and had to literally slap grown men to stop them from panicking and messing up what was otherwise an orderly evacuation from a building

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Murugan » 15 Mar 2011 20:17

LM-ji very true. IA have always showed their human face in such dire situations while other govt agencies faltered on all counts, especially in the initial phase of response when it matters most.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby shiv » 15 Mar 2011 20:22

I have a question. reports say that the Boron control rods to stop the reactor were inserted as soon as the earthquake occurred, but even after this there is a lot of residual heat which needs to be cooled.

Is this residual heat merely the high temps that were achieved initially and stored heat or is there a residual reaction that gives off heat that continues for a while after the boron rods are inserted? I am surprised at the amount of water needed for cooling even after the reactor is "shut down"

Clearly the Hydrogen explosion and Cesium detected means that the Zircalloy tubes have been breached by temperatures going above 1200 deg C. And this AFTER the Boron rods were inserted :?: What gives? I understand that nobody knows yet - but can anyone throw some gyan?

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Lalmohan » 15 Mar 2011 20:31

shivji, please to read the tech analysis cited in the indo-japan thread
all is explained

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Anujan » 15 Mar 2011 20:32

Basically control rods are neutron absorbers. So they stop fission in Uranium (which requires a neutron capture to fission). However, radioactive byproducs in the fuel can fission spontaneously (without the need for neutrons). This radioactive decay is what generates heat (3%-6% of peak heat). So the core has to be cooled till the byproducts decay and disappear. This can take a few days and requires water circulation.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Suppiah » 15 Mar 2011 20:46

Does that mean over a period of few days the problem will sort itself out naturally provided the vessel and outer containment holds until then and they manage to keep some cooling partly if not wholly with seawater?

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Amber G. » 15 Mar 2011 20:49

^^^ Shivji - I have a few posts (in other threads) which may answer your questions.
The 'residual heat' is wrong term, it is decay heat.. even if fission stops completely there is some heat generated by radioactive fission products. (14 Mev vs 200 mev per fission in the beginning ) for the particular reactor the heat produced will be about 0.2% (of the full power heat - which is still quite large) even after a week. (I have posted this before)
('spontaneousness fission' for that kind of fuel is completely negligible.)

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby shiv » 15 Mar 2011 20:58

OK. Question answered! Thanks for the pointers and replies folks :)

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby vina » 15 Mar 2011 21:04

Suppiah wrote:Does that mean over a period of few days the problem will sort itself out naturally provided the vessel and outer containment holds until then and they manage to keep some cooling partly if not wholly with seawater?


It is physically impossible to contain that kind of heat without cooling. Take for instance a 1000 MW Thermal reactor which has been working for more than 100hrs. At a emergency shutdown, the residual heat output will be in the order of 6 to 7% (per articles I see) , and that is a WHOPPING 70MW of HEAT. Now , that amount of heat, no structure can contain for too long without active cooling and it needs massive amount if it. The good thing is that that decay heat drops off exponentially and will be less than 1% or so by the end of 3 days and and keeps dropping faster and faster and it can be stored in a pool like most spent rods are kept without requiring massive amounts of cooling.

That is the reason why if you look at the AHWR Thorium reactor design, there is no need for a pump, the heat removal and cooling is purely by convection alone, and there is large water tank on top of the reactor with boron in the water , so that the reactor core can be doused in water and is designed to be fine for 3 days without any intervention in the event of an emergency shutdown.

The problem is that Fukushima reactors are 40+ year old Gen 1 designs that had severe problems that came to the fore only when Three Mile and Chernobyl kind of things happened. As always, in engineering, you learn from experiences. A kid can learn how to build a bridge in a Civil engg course and do fine. But that course itself is the result of couple of hundred years of learning by trial and error and serious accidents and failures and refinement that came from building those bridges. The Physics is probably easy , once nailed, the engineering part is another thing that goes through it's iterative loops.

In the latest Gen 3 , 3+ and Gen 4 reactors, much of this are addressed and the emphasis is on passive safety, unlike the Gen 1 and Gen 2 designs.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Suppiah » 15 Mar 2011 21:13

Thanks...I am just worried about the fallout of this episode on nuclear energy... every $ we pay for oil comes to bite us back through terrorism and arrogant behaviour by the oil enriched mullahs to our west. Hope the industry survives, learns and prospers.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby SwamyG » 15 Mar 2011 21:20

I think the evacuation should have been done little earlier, just as a precaution and not have waited till this moment.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby shiv » 15 Mar 2011 21:27

Suppiah wrote:Thanks...I am just worried about the fallout of this episode on nuclear energy... every $ we pay for oil comes to bite us back through terrorism and arrogant behaviour by the oil enriched mullahs to our west. Hope the industry survives, learns and prospers.


The industry will survive, learn and prosper. Of that I am sure.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Vikas » 15 Mar 2011 21:33

Vina ji, Japanese may be the greatest nation on the earth but like all Financial products, past performance is no indicator for future performance.
So I am not 400% sure if it would be easy for them to get out of this tragedy both financially and emotionally especially with aging population and decaying economy.

Although I wish them all the best, but this may turn out to be the proverbial last straw on camels back.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Suppiah » 15 Mar 2011 21:38

I think this whole ageing population decaying economy theme has been overblown to crazy proportions. A population drop in overcrowded Japan is not necessarily a bad thing. Furthermore, even if it stays the same or declines for next 30 years, Japan would still be way ahead of most Asian countries, china included in terms of per-capita income, affluence etc.

Most economists and stock market analysts want an economy to keep growing at 8% forever or they call it decline. That is a bit like parents expecting kids to keep growing like a 2 year old.

In terms of absolute size Japan is still huge...you can sell more advanced products or services in Yokohama than you could in all of Indonesia or Philippines or Thailand perhaps all of them put together.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Amber G. » 15 Mar 2011 21:50

Acharya wrote:...Add up these dates and you get 9/11/01
+ 3/10/11 = 12/21/12 the day the world is supposed to end.

Acharyaji - Shouldn't the calculation be:
9/11/2001+12/21/2011 = 12/21/4012 ?
Or should we take the gatkali (start of present kali yuga).. the years are 6001 and 6011 so we would wait till 12012

In either case we are safe for a few thousand years..(Besides astronomers say that in yr 12011 gatkali agastya will be our south pole star so agastya muni will save the world)

....(In another news, last heard on TV about the "third NUCLEAR explosion" and some one's calculation that 5280 miles divided by 20 miles/hour = 11 days was reported as it will take 11 days for radiation to reach US west coast :eek: )
Last edited by Amber G. on 15 Mar 2011 21:54, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Suppiah » 15 Mar 2011 21:50

http://bellum.stanfordreview.org/?p=3142

The Kamikaze spirit of Japanese shines thru....if it were India the CPM controlled union would declare strike for wage increase...

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Re: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - News and Analysis

Postby Purush » 15 Mar 2011 21:59



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