By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
8.9 Earthquake in Japan and Asian Tsunami Across the Pacific
An 8.9 earthquake (Richter scale) hit Honshu, Japan just hours ago. There was tremendous devastation everywhere. The last major event of this size in Asia was on 12-16-1920 in Gansu, China. 200,000 people died in the Gansu earthquake. The actual loss of life in Japan may not be known for weeks. The biggest concern in Japan right now is the impact on nuclear power plants in the country. Reactors have been shut down.
The objective is to evacuate personnel from the nuclear power plants. The concern is that the core heats up and explodes causing a Chernobyl or 3-Mile Island type disaster. Incidents range from a Class 1 to a Class 9 incident like a core melt down or explosion.
The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel. The resulting steam explosion and fires released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere and downwind.
Two Chernobyl plant workers died on the night of the accident. 28 people died within a few weeks as a result of acute radiation poisoning. Increased thyroid cancers appeared later in the population. Resettlement of areas from which people were relocated is ongoing. (1)
The Red Cross in Geneva warned that the tsunami waves could be higher than some Pacific islands. Coastal areas in the Philippines, Hawaii and other Pacific islands were evacuated ahead of the tsunami's expected arrival. Strong waves hit Japan's Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures damaging many coastal communities.
"The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial," President Obama said in a statement. "We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around Japan and the Pacific going forward and we are asking all our citizens in the affected region to listen to their state and local officials as I have instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the US states and territories that could be affected."
The next concern is a massive Tsunami crossing the Pacific and scheduled to arrive at Hawaii at about 9AM Eastern time and California about 11AM Eastern Time. The Tsunami Warning Area encompasses Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington State. There are two types of Tsunami evacuations. A horizontal evacuation is aimed at moving people to higher ground. A vertical evacuation moves people to higher floors of major buildings. Additionally, people may be moved to specially designated Emergency Centers which are stocked with food supplies and water.
The objectives of Tsunami planning are to do the following:
o building use may be retrofitted to take Tsunamis into consideration
o building rehabilitation
o vacate older structures if they cannot be rehabilitated
o reinforce essential service facilities (2)
The DJIA (DOW) is expected to open lower due to uncertainties in the Middle East and the ongoing uncertainty in Japan due to the earthquake and Tsunami.
Joseph S. Maresca Ph.D., CPA, CISA, MBA: His significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences. He holds membership in the prestigious Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society. In addition, he blogs and reviews many books for Basil & Spice. Visit the Joseph S. Maresca Writer's Page.
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