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Navy sailors have radiation sickness after Japan rescue


Navy sailor Lindsay Cooper knew something was wrong when billows of metallic-tasting snow began drifting over USS Ronald Reagan.

“I was standing on the flight deck, and we felt this warm gust of air, and, suddenly, it was snowing,” Cooper recalled of the day in March 2011 when she and scores of crewmates watched a sudden storm blow toward them from the tsunami-torn coast of Fukushima, Japan.

Now, nearly three years after their deployment on a humanitarian mission to Japan’s ravaged coast, Cooper and scores of her fellow crew members on the aircraft carrier and a half-dozen other support ships are battling cancers, thyroid disease, uterine bleeding and other ailments.

Tokyo Electric Power also knew that radioactivity was leaking at a rate of 400 tons a day into the North Pacific, according to the lawsuit and Japanese officials.

“We were probably floating in contaminated water without knowing it for a day and a half before we got hit by that plume,” said Cooper, whose career as a third-class petty officer ended five months after the disaster for health reasons.

The toxic seawater was sucked into the ship’s desalinization system, flowing out of its faucets and showers — still radioactive — and into the crew member’s bodies.

“All I drink is water. You stay hydrated on that boat,” said Cooper, who worked up to 18 hours at a time on the flight deck loading supplies onto a steady stream of aid helicopters for four days, all the while drinking out of the two-gallon pouch of water hooked to her gear belt.

By the time the Reagan realized it was contaminated and tried to shift location, the radioactive plume had spread too far to be quickly outrun.


A floating island of Japanese tsunami debris is headed for America’s west coast

Acoustic waves warn of tsunami

❤ science

An early warning system against tsunamis has been developed and tailored for the need of the Mediterranean, but preparedness on the ground is paramount to ensuring peoples’ safety.

… an EU funded project called NEAREST found a better way of identifying a tsunami threat at early stage. “To do this we developed a new device we called tsunameter that we put as close as possible to those places where we know that is very likely a tsunami is generated,” says Francesco Chierici, who is the project coordinator and also works as a researcher the Radio Astronomy Institute (IRA), in Bologna, Italy. This tsunameter can be placed close to the geological faults that are responsible for the earthquake and, accordingly, for tsunamis. Detecting a tsunami near its source is crucial “especially in peculiar environments such as the Mediterranean where the tsunami are generated very close to the coasts,” says Chierici.

Every device is connected with a surface buoy and consists of a set of instruments collecting several kinds of data. These include local acceleration and pressure of water, seismic waves, and, in particular, the acoustic waves generated by tsunamis.With this information, actual tsunamis can be distinguished from the background noise, “using a specific mathematical algorithm” which is interpreting the data. Under the project, the tsunameter had been tested for a year off the Gulf of Cadiz in Spain, at water depth of 3,200 metres. Since the project was completed, in March 2010, the tsunameters are now tested in a new research programme called Multidisciplinary Oceanic Information SysTem (MOIST), run by the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology(INGV) in Rome.

PREVIEW: The Aftermath of the Japanese Tsunami on the fifth estate

It was 2 years ago today. The results:

  • Debris is still washing up in BC. It’s estimated that 99% of the debris is still floating in the Pacific Ocean
  • Marine life and birds are eating the plastic debris and dying. Three quarters of the debris is plastic which lasts forever!

Stupid copyright laws :( Only Canadian’s can watch the entire documentary.


In Focus: Japan Earthquake, One Year Later

This Sunday, March 11, will mark the one-year anniversary of the horrific earthquake that struck northeastern Japan, spawning an incredibly destructive tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In the year that has passed, much has changed. Mountains of rubble have been cleared, but not fully disposed of yet. Nuclear power has fallen out of favor, and confidence in the government has been shaken. Japan mourns the confirmed deaths of more than 15,850 people, and still lists 3,287 as missing 12 months later. Questions remain about rebuilding villages, cleaning up the nuclear exclusion zone, and deciding the future of nuclear power in Japan. Collected here are recent images of those affected by the disaster, coping and moving on one year later.

See more.

See how Japan has rebuilt in the 11 months since the earthquake and tsunami

245 — Cost in billions of dollars of the post disaster reconstruction package.

15,846 — Number of dead.

3,320 — People still missing.

2 — Number of missing people found dead this year.

240 — Number of orphans in the three most severely affected prefectures, Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima.

16 — Million tons of disaster waste in Miyagi Prefecture, one of the hardest hit areas of Japan.

2.4 — Drop in millions of tourists to Japan in 2011 from a year previously.

6 — Approximate months lost in the average life expectancy for a Japanese woman following the disasters, down from 86.4 years in 2010 to 85.9 in 2011.

3 — Approximate months lost in the average life expectancy for a Japanese man, down from 79.5 years in 2010 to 79.27 in 2011.

5,700 safes recovered from Japan's disaster areas

$29.5 million US is a lot of cash. Would people in any other country returned the money?

A total of 5,700 safes were recovered or brought to police in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in the period between the March 11 disaster and July 10. The accumulated money contained in the safes totals more than 2.37 billion yen, according to the National Police Agency.

Of the total amount of money, 2.27 billion yen, or 96 percent, has been returned to its owners, the NPA said Monday.

Did animals give Japan an earthquake warning?

For five years, Abe had risen before dawn five days a week to drive her fisherman husband to work. When she opened the front door of her house at around 1:50 a.m. on March 11, she was immediately struck by the cacophony being made by a murder of crows. She had never heard the birds make such a racket before. Peering into the dark sky, she could make out about 50 crows flying around—three times as many as she would usually expect in the area.

She remembers her husband being struck by the unusual sound as well. “I’ve never heard cries like this,” he said, his eyes scanning the dark sky.

Yoshiko Sato, 60, lives in the same area as Abe and also reported birds acting strangely on March 11. From around 10 a.m. to noon, she heard dozens of black kites—which usually do not make much noise at all—shrieking aggressively, as if fighting. The earthquake struck the area about three hours later.

On March 4, a week before the disaster, 54 melon-headed whales between two and three meters long were found beached in Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture.

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