Monday, March 14, 2011

Sendai Quake - Day 4

Google has put together an impressive crisis response page for this disaster.

11:30 pm - The government has been talking about the power plant and possible rolling power outages tomorrow. I'd like to prepare for set outage times, but seeing as though I was practically crying wolf all day, I'll just be ready as I can at any time, and on alert during our set outage period. With that said, they've rotated the times, and now groups 1 and 5 are going to be sometime in the middle of the day/afternoon. Well, we'll see what happens.

Interestingly enough, a lot of video summaries for the day on the news have been all about the supposed rolling blackouts that never came. Seems like the plea to Japan to conserve power worked so well, they were able to operate w/out cutting power for most all of the day. They say it may turn to be a day to day battle with power supply, which they will cut certain areas if and when necessary.

One piece of good news though, is that the aftershocks have really died down. There were a few larger ones during the day today, but nothing since this afternoon. This seems like a good sign, but it's still too early to let my guard down.

Anyways, survived weekday #1 after the quake. Tomorrow may turn into more of an adventure, but we'll take it one day at a time.

9:30 pm - I just found an amazing, comprehensive article that describes the situation occurring with the Fukushima nuclear reactors. I highly recommend reading this article as it clears up many many confusing aspects about the design and safety features on the reactors. The bottom line is that even in the worst case of a core melt down, which has been prevented, all the really bad radiation will be contained as per design of the reactor. There will be nothing close to Chernobyl, and the effects will be limited to the surrounding area at worst.

Nice to have one less thing to worry about. Thank you science!!

8:50 pm - Got home a couple hours ago. I went out to buy a few things, but anticipating blackouts, most stores were closed. The convenience stores were open, but here too people anticipating blackouts pretty much gutted them of anything useful. I bought some tea and face masks and basically just got a little exercise.

In the end we didn't have any power outage today, and I still have power now. They did cut some power in parts of Chiba in the morning, and in parts of Ibaragi and Shizuoka in the evening. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but I'll be as prepared as I can. Perhaps part of the reason they were able to keep the power on was because of all the companies not in operation at the moment. Unfortunately it seems like a lose-lose situation. They can get people to work and cut power in rotating groups to address power shortages, and tick a bunch of people off who lose power. Or they can say they'll cut power, not let anyone go to work, consequently not need as much power, and tick a bunch of people off for not cutting power like they said they would. This is supposedly going to continue for a month and a half.

5:45 pm - Just heard a report that over 6,200 buildings have been destroyed from the earthquake and tsunami. Wow.

5:25 pm - Seems like the outages are only going to be affecting parts of Ibaragi and Shizuoka, so... according to that we're in the clear. That's cool. (keeping fingers crossed)

5:15 pm - I've given up reporting on what they think may happen and will just mention what actually happens. Right now they are currently enacting a certain portion of outages in Group 5, which we are technically a part of. That doesn't mean we will lose power, but it means we have a possibility of losing power. According to the news though, they're starting the outages, but I haven't heard of anywhere that actually has lost power yet. (We still have power). I have heard however that group 1 will probably not lose power (which I'm in), so that's good to hear.

3:40 pm - Now word on the street is that they are just announcing there is a very small percentage that they will cut power at 3:20 pm (how about 0% since its already past?) There is also a small chance they will cut power at 4:20, but they are saying they're planning on cutting power from 5 to 7... I feel like I'm crying wolf here. I'm happy that we still have electricity for sure, but when they say they're going to cut power, I don't to be caught in the middle of something, so I try to get to a stopping point in my work. Then I don't want to start up again cause who knows when the power will be cut. Oh well, I'll just continue to play it by ear here...

3:30 pm - Hey look at that, we still have power...

3:00 pm - Found what I was looking for. Sounds like they may be enacting the group 5 power outage after all from 3:20 pm. Better get everything prepared just in case.

2:45 pm - I knew the death toll would begin to rise dramatically, but now I'm hearing reports now of thousands of bodies washed onto shore. Just... speechless.

2:20 pm - Found an article from the Washington Post at least confirming they've suspended the blackouts where possible. It sounds like they will continue to play it by ear, but stress that there will be risk of blackout from a shortage in power supply especially during peak times.

One side note here, I have not heard or seen any news stories about looting in Japan yet. In fact, there's already and article of the exact opposite. This is a real testament to the general order and respect ingrained in Japanese culture, one of the aspects I like the most about this place. Even when all the trains were stopped and everyone tried to go home by taxi, even though it may be faster to wave a taxi off the street, there were massive lines hundreds of feet long of people lining up for taxis at the stations. Given this mindset, and given that everyone is aware of how grave of a situation we are facing, asking the people of Japan to conserve energy use should be a viable option that should at least be explored. My two yen.

Also, I hear the trains are stopped today not because they cannot power the trains, but because they cannot power the stations. The trains themselves can run under their own power generated by the train companies, but it's the stations that are powered by TEPCO. This is supposedly the main reason why they have been running on a limited schedule as well.

2:00 pm - I've just heard that there is a huge debate going on regarding the rolling blackouts TEPCO has been intending to implement starting today and lasting through April. Apparently they're receiving pressure from politicians to think of other solutions than shutting down parts of the Kanto area. Basically someone finally stood up and said, "Hey guys, wait a minute. Shutting down Tokyo could cripple the economy. We have all of Central and Western Japan completely intact. How about we ask the country to preserve power, and pump what we can over from other parts of the country before we resort to blackouts." At least that's my interpretation on the situation, but it would explain why they haven't done a blackout yet. I'm still looking for an article to back this up, but it sounds like the 3:20 blackout is also up for grabs. I'll need to keep an eye out on that too.

1:40 pm - This is an excellent article the explains exactly what is going on with the Nuclear reactors in Fukushima.

1:15 pm - Here's a video comparing the explosions of reactors 1 and 3 in Fukushima. They mention that you could see some flames in reactor 3, which is cause for concern. I believe the actual container housing the reactor is still safe though.

12:10 pm - As a result of the hydrogen explosion at reactor 3 up in Fukushima plant 1, we've all put on masks at work as a precaution. We're just under 200 miles away, and the wind is supposedly blowing north, northwest, but you can never be too careful. This is the first time I've ever worn a mask by the way.

11:50 am - Here's an English article on the partially suspended power outages. Looks like CNN already has a report on it here.

11:45 am - A little after 11, the concrete protective housing around reactor 3 in Fukushima's nuclear plant 1 had a similar hydrogen explosion as reactor 1.

10:30 am - Wow, I've surpassed the 2000 page view mark on my blog now (since I started tracking last summer), with over 1000 hits since Friday. I peaked at 138 visits from 89 visitors and 411 page views on Friday alone. Thanks everyone!!

10:15 am - Getting info on that last aftershock. It was a M6.2 off the coast of Ibaragi, 10 km underground (pretty shallow I guess). The strongest felt on land was a weak 5, but we only got a 2 in this area.

10:03 am - Alarms just went off on cell phones. Incoming earthquake... not too bad here. Done now, probably only a strong 2 in these parts.

10:00 am - It's 10am, and I still have power. Guess we got through the morning unscathed? Yaay!

9:42 am - Tokyo Electric has been making announcements as the situation evolves. Now they're saying they're moving on without enforcing the outage for group 1, and are still considering what to do with group 2. We'll just have to play it by ear, and be on alert during our planned

9:30 am - Still here, with power. There was a report the power would cut at 9:20, but so far we're still in operation. Maybe we're in group 1 or 5 and not both... very confusing. Trying to be as prepared as we can though.

9:15 am - Just heard a rumor we could be losing power in 5 min.

9:05 am - At work, we still have power. My desktop is an eerie sort of screen shot from right after the quake of me pouring over news websites for information. I've also got windows and tabs open for what I was working on from before the quake.

8:30 am - Well, I still have power, that's also not stopping my bike from working, so I guess I'll head into work.

7:50 am - Now they're saying they may in fact implement the blackout after all, because of a shortage in power supply. So I guess I'll just have to play it by ear. Glad I've had an extra hour of electricity than expected so far though.

7:30 am - Supposedly they've canceled the blackout for the morning group (which I'm in). But seems they've also halted a lot of train lines, and people are unable to get to work. I'm only a bike ride away though, so that doesn't affect me. The good news though, if we don't lose power is that at least my company can stay online.

7:00 am - Still have power, but I'm sure I'll be losing it shortly. I just found an article talking about the shift in the Earth's axis as a result of the quake. Seems it shifted the Earth's axis about 6.5 inches, the Earth is rotating 1.8 microseconds faster, and some parts of Japan are 12 feet closer to North America.

6:40 am - Well I woke up with power, but it will probably be cut soon enough. They're making announcements around the city.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Kris! Enjoy your blog. Thanks for the research. You and your loved ones are in our prayers. Stay safe. Thanks for keeping us informed.

3/14/2011 11:07 PM  

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