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Japan Quake • A Timeline

Monday, March 14, 2011

Following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami on the east coast of Japan, the country is now racing to prevent a nuclear disaster at a major nuclear power plant. Below is a time line of events in Japan local time. (Updated 8:30 p.m. EST) •

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The Takeaway

Fukushima Power Plant: 'How Serious is This?'

Thursday, March 17, 2011

There are four different sources of leaking radiation from the damaged nuclear reactors at the Fukashima Diaiichi complex in Japan. The Japanese government, the Tokyo electric Power company and foreign governments monitoring the situation as well as international nuclear agencies seem to have conflicting information on the level of danger and the appropriate response. Takeaway listeners have concerns as well. David Biello, associate editor of environment and energy for Scientific American magazine, answers your questions.

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The Takeaway

Fukushima and the Fallout

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The situation at the Fukushima Power Plant in Japan continues to worsen. U.S. Media is reporting that water levels are dropping in more than one of the six reactors at the plant, leaving nuclear fuel rods exposed. The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission has warned that Japanese regulators may be downplaying the risk of radiation levels at the plant; and the commission has advised that Americans evacuate the area within 30 miles of Fukushima.

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The Takeaway

The Japanese Government's Response to Disaster

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given a much more dire analysis of the nuclear threat bearing down on Japan than Japanese officials. Gregory Jaczko told Congress yesterday that the damage to at least one reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant was more serious than Tokyo has described, and suggested Americans in that country stay at least 50 miles away — well above the Japanese evacuation area of 12 miles from the plant.

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The Takeaway

Voices from Japan: 'It's Very Cold'

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The BBC's Rachel Harvey reports from tsunami-hit Ofunato, Japan, where survivors are picking through rubble, looking for anything that might be of value. Meanwhile, the cold weather is taking its toll on victims of the tsunami. Although many survivors have gone elsewhere to stay with friends or relatives, for those remaining, "it is a day to day struggle just to get enough to eat and drink and to stay warm," says Harvey.

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The Takeaway

Cat Bonds: Making a Buck Off Disaster

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday on The Takeaway, Wall Street and Finance reporter for The New York Times, Louise Story mentioned the existence of something called a "cat bond."  How do catastrophe bonds work? Essentially, these bonds are packages of insurance risks and it's a complex market, says Louise Story. As weather events get worse and more risky, the insurance companies are wiling to pass along this risk to the investors. However, when the market get too big and the risks get too high, will we see something akin to the mortgage market bust?

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The Takeaway

Faceless 50: When Workers Face Extraordinary Responsibilities

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The world’s eyes are on the "Faceless 50" workers at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as they struggle to keep potential radiation leaks under control. Though the workers' identities are unknown, their incredibly stressful task has captured our imaginations. The United States also has people working in fields where the willingness to risk your life in a catastrophe is part of the deal. Is it worth it? And who gets left behind to fight the good fight? 

For the past several days, the world’s eyes have been on the workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Although for now they are nameless and faceless, they’ve captured our imaginations and made us think: what does it take to do that job?   
We decided to take a look at the people here in the United States working in fields where risking your life in a large-scale catastrophe is part of the deal. 
With us is Andrew Kadak, who joined us two days ago as an expert in nuclear engineering and science, but ALSO worked at a nuclear power plant in Massachusetts and served as its CEO for many years. Hi, Andrew. 
Also joining us is Davitt McAteer, Vice President of Sponsored Programs at Wheeling Jesuit University. He’s had a long career in mining safety and health, and is currently heading the investigation of Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in W. Virginia. Welcome Davitt. 

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WNYC News

'Almost No Risk' of Japan Nuclear Material Reaching New York, Expert Says

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Though many stores in New York have sold out their stock of iodine tablets, an expert said there is little chance radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan will reach New York. 

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WNYC News

Cuomo Reiterates Concerns about Indian Point Nuclear Plant

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WNYC

Governor Andrew Cuomo said he's concerned over a report that one of the nuclear reactors at the Indian Point power plant along the Hudson River is on an earthquake fault line, and is checking into the matter.

Cuomo said it was a "surprise" to him that a federal study, first reported on MSNBC, finds Indian Point may be the nuclear plant most susceptible to possible damage from a massive earthquake in the nation.

One of the reactors is built very near an earthquake fault line.

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Features

Sushi Restaurants Drum Up Money for Japanese Disaster Relief

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WNYC

Manhattan's SushiSamba has raised $8,000 from selling its "Japan Relief Roll." Sushi Azabu is donating proceeds from an upcoming dinner to the Japanese Red Cross. Sushi Zen is collecting money in a donation box in its window.

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It's A Free Country ®

Nuclear Regulator: 'Extremely High' Radiation Levels at Japanese Reactor

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

At a hearing on Capitol Hill, Energy Secretary Steven Chu reaffirmed the Obama administration's support for U.S. nuclear energy development in the shadow of Japan's radiation fears.

"That position has not been changed," Chu said when pushed by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) about whether President Obama still supports new domestic nuclear energy development. "That's a yes."

"That's what I wanted you to say," Barton said.

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It's A Free Country ®

Gauging the Nuclear Risk to Japan

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The bottom line is, 57 cancer deaths are anticipated for every 100,000 [people exposed.] Very low doses of radiation would not produce radiation sickness; it would produce a very tiny elevated risk of cancer death, but that low probability multiplied by the 13 million people who live in Tokyo does represent a statistical prediction that some cancer deaths would occur.

Matthew McKinzie, a senior scientist at the Natural Resource Defense Council's (NRDC) nuclear program, on the Brian Lehrer Show.

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The Takeaway

Experiencing Disaster on Internet Time

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Last Friday, while Japan was being shattered by the largest earthquake in its history, I was asleep in my Brooklyn bed, oblivious to the tragedy occurring on the opposite side of the globe.

When I woke up the next morning and turned the spigots on my many digital pipelines — email, Facebook, Twitter — the first thing I saw, even before I read the news itself, was a flood of reassuring messages from friends and family in Japan: "shaken, but safe"; "terrified, but all present and accounted for."

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The Takeaway

Watch What You Tweet

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and start reviling Glenn Beck or Gilbert Gottfried or the shallow UCLA girl on YouTube. Better minds than mine have already articulated why it's wrong to pile insult on top of deep, tragic injury.

Instead, I want to appeal to my countrymen to rise above these nasty comments. Let me begin with Alec Sulkin, a scriptwriter for "Family Guy" who tweeted the following: “If you wanna feel better about this earthquake in Japan, google “Pearl Harbor death toll.” Let's turn that around and imagine someone had written this ten years ago, "If you want to feel better about 9/11, google "My Lai Massacre." Sure, the first amendment protects that kind of speech, but doesn't your conscience prevent you from saying it?

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The Takeaway

After the Disaster in Japan, When Comments Go Too Far

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

While Japan is dealing with a rising death toll, massive destruction and a nuclear crisis in the wake of a devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, some prominent media personalities, athletes and celebrities in the United States have found themselves apologizing for making insensitive comments about the tragedy. Jeff Yang, pop culture columnist, discusses the cultural implications of such remarks.

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The Takeaway

Fukushima's Faceless 50

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The nuclear crisis has escalated in Japan. There have been partial meltdowns in three nuclear reactors, breaches in the protective containment walls of two of them, and a fire in another. U.S. warships have changed course because of the dangers of rising radiation, and the Japanese Army decided it was too dangerous to fly helicopters over the plants. But 50 workers remain at the heart of the plant, literally risking their lives to avert a catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Keith Bradsher is The New York Times Hong Kong bureau chief. He says that we don't know much about these heroic workers.

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WNYC News

GE Design at Japan Nuclear Facility Found at Many Plants in U.S.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

As Japan struggles to contain the damage at the smoldering Fukushima nuclear complex, questions are being raised about nuclear power plants with the same design in the U.S.

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The Takeaway

Voices from Japan: 'We Lost Everything'

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A country in shock. Five days after the tsunami and quake hit Japan, survivors are hanging on. One tsunami victim tells NHK-TV, "everything is turned upside down. After the tsunami, our house was gone. We lost everything. I was desperate to save my grandchildren. Here in the shelter, everyone is helping each other."

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The Takeaway

Yoko Ono on Disaster and Hope in Japan

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yoko Ono Lennon experienced the devastation of WWII on Japan. Since then, she's moved to the United States and worked as an artist and musician. She speaks strongly about pain, love, and her reverence for planet Earth. In the wake of Japan's quake and tsunami, she has been thinking of her home country and contributing to the Red Cross. She encourages others to do the same, or to participate in the rebuilding of Japan in a more hands-on way if they can. Amidst the pain and the destruction, she is hopeful that her country can rebuild.

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The Takeaway

Japan Earthquake: An Eyewitness Account

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Our friends at LAPM's LA>FWD posted these videos of Mio Kanehara, a 22-year-old aspiring singer in Tokyo, talking about her experience during the recent earthquake off the coast of Japan. Check them out after the jump.

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It's A Free Country ®

Former GE VP: Japan Comparable to Three Mile Island

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"We're talking of numbers on the order of what you would receive getting a cat scan or getting other diagnostic x-rays done over the course of your lifetime, so you have those done without fear, I believe that there's no fear in an increase of radiation here."

-Former GE VP Margaret Harding, on the scale of Japan's nuclear crisis

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