Daily Archives: March 12, 2011

Sewer Science

On Skeptically Speaking:

This week, we take another look at water, and what happens to it after it goes down the drain. Researcher Liz Borkowski joins us for a look at the connection between sewage and civilization, and the struggle to introduce modern sanitation in the developing world. And we’ll talk to Dr. Alistair Boxall, about the sources and effects of pharmaceutical contaminants in the environment.

This show records live on Sunday, 3/13 at 6 pm MT, and airs on CJSR on Friday, 3/18 at 6 pm MT. The podcast will be available to download by Noon MT on Sunday, 3/20.


Japan quake, tsunami, nuke news 01

News about the Nuke Plants:

Meltdown “most unlikely,” nuke industry rep says

The explosion at a nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan destroyed a building that houses a reactor Saturday, triggering a radiation leak and fears of a nuclear meltdown.

But a representative of the global nuclear power industry asserts the possibility of a meltdown is “diminishing by the hour,” making a meltdown “most unlikely.”

News about the death toll

Hundreds dead in tsunami after massive 8.9 quake devastates Japan

Police said 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai. Another 88 were confirmed killed and 349 were missing.

Hundreds dead and up to 80,000 missing in Japan tsunami <– don’t click on that link, badly behaved site

…thousands of people were feared dead yesterday after a tsunami triggered by one of the biggest earthquakes in history hit Japan.

Ships, trains, buildings and cars were swept away as monster 33ft waves smashed into the port city of Sendai.

10,000 people missing in flattened town which bore brunt of killer wave caused by megaquake<– don’t click on that link, badly behaved site

Half of the population of a Japanese coastal town are still unaccounted for as the death toll from the massive earthquake and tsunami looks set to rise.

Government officials revealed the fate of 9,500 people in the north eastern port of Minamisanriku was still unknown more than 24 hours after the double disaster hit.

Reactor not damaged in Japan nuclear plant explosion

The Japanese government says an explosion Saturday blew off the roof and walls of the building containing a nuclear reactor, but did not damage the reactor itself.

The explosion at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant had earlier triggered fears of a nuclear meltdown.

On Saturday, Japan’s government spokesperson Yukio Edano said radiation levels around the plant did not rise, but actually decreased after the explosion. He added that pressure in the reactor was also decreasing.

Japan earthquake: Concerns over nuclear power stations

“There is a finite probability that this can’t be contained.” (audio interview with US Nuke Expert on BBC)

Live updates: Nuclear emergency declared in earthquake-struck Japan

2.09am: At least three people evacuated from a Japanese town near the quake-hit nuclear plant have been exposed to radiation. They were randomly chosen for examination from 90 patients moved from a hospital in the town of Futaba-machi.

Latest IAEA update on Japan Earthquake (1340 CET 12 March 2011)

Japanese authorities have extended the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant to a 20-kilometre radius from the previous 10 kilometres. At the nearby Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant, the evacuation zone has been extended to a 10-kilometre radius from the previous three kilometres.

The authorities also say they are making preparations to distribute iodine to residents in the area of both the plants.

Japan quake live blog: Radiation contamination troops sent to reactor

[11:49 a.m. ET, 1:49 a.m. Tokyo] Japan public broadcaster NHK reported the country’s Defense Ministry had sent a unit that specializes in dealing with radioactive contamination to a command post near the stricken plant.

Japan earthquake: Officials say nuclear catastrophe averted

Fears of a nuclear meltdown in Japan have subsided after a reactor that was damaged in Friday’s devastating earthquake reportedly emerged intact from an explosion.

Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant faces new reactor problem

A quake-hit Japanese nuclear plant reeling from an explosion at one of its reactors has also lost its emergency cooling system at another reactor, Japan’s nuclear power safety agency said on Sunday.

The emergency cooling system is no longer functioning at the No.3 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, requiring the facility to urgently secure a means to supply water to the reactor, an official of the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told a news conference.

‘Serious problems’ at Japan nuclear plant

Serious problems have been reported at a second nuclear reactor at the Fukushima power station in northern Japan.

The plant’s operator says pressure is rising inside the reactor after it lost its emergency cooling system.

It was a similar problem which led to an explosion in the first reactor on Saturday, after an earthquake and tsunami.

‘Partial melt’ of fuel rod at stricken reactor – Japan envoy

US envoy insisted Saturday there was no evidence a stricken nuclear reactor had gone into full meltdown but acknowledged there had been a “partial melt” of a fuel rod at the quake-hit plant.

Radiation was detected leaking from the Fukushima plant after Friday’s massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami, and an explosion there Saturday sent authorities scrambling to avert a major meltdown.

Partial meltdown likely under way at power plant, Japanese official says

A partial meltdown is likely under way at one nuclear power plant affected by Friday’s earthquake, according to Japan’s top government official, the Associated Press reports.

Second nuclear meltdown likely under way in Japan, official says

Hundreds flee in Japan after Shinmoedake volcano begins spewing ash, boulders

Analysis: Nuclear renaissance could fizzle after Japan quake

Japan’s Seawalls Were No Security

Second Blast Rocks Japanese Nuclear Powerplant

As many as 2,000 bodies found as Japan crisis worsens

As many as 2,000 bodies washed up on Japan’s shores on Monday as officials struggled to deal with the dead, hospitals ran out of medicine and entire communities in the hardest hit areas remained completely silent.

Japanese death toll to far exceed 10,000

The death toll from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami is expected to exceed 10,000 as local and international rescue teams search through the ruins of north-eastern coastal cities for survivors of last Friday’s disaster.

Two thousand bodies have been found on the shores of Miyagi prefecture, which suffered the brunt of the damage, according to the Kyodo news agency.

Continued HERE

For more information and essays about the Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Reactor problems in Japan CLICK HERE.


Fluoride and Water

From the Roman aqueducts to the latest research on what happens when you turn the tap, it’s an hour on water. Dr. William James joins us for a lesson on the history and technology of municipal water systems. And we’ll talk to University of Toronto researcher Dr. Marc Grynpas about the science and safety of water fluoridation.

TONIGHT Last Night! on Skeptically Speaking.

I wrote this notice two days ago but forgot to hit “Publish” …. well, anywah, the pod cast for Skeptically Speaking generally comes out late Sunday, so tune in then if you did not catch the show live.

Also, Sunday Morning (podcast usually out by the end of the day Sunday as well) Minnesota Atheist Talk Radio will have Jennifer McCreight.

Do you think NASA should put the Shuttles on Craig’s List?

Now that space shuttle Discovery has returned from its last mission, NASA workers will start getting it ready for its next voyage — to a museum.

NASA is retiring its shuttle fleet this year, and 21 museums across the country are vying for the chance to become a retirement home for one of the iconic space shuttles.

I remember when John Glen’s space capsule toured and was displayed briefly in the State Capitol in Albany, in the same place they displayed the bodies of various touring dead presidents and other similar memorabilia. It would be really cool to visit the Space Shuttle in some museum especially if you got to go inside and sit at the controls and stuff.

The trouble is, NASA has only three spaceships — Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour — and the agency has said it intends to offer Discovery to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. That just leaves Atlantis and Endeavour, both of which are scheduled to fly for one last time this year.

Yeah, they should go for the highest bidder!

Rest of the story here.