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The Japanese Nuclear Crisis

On March 11, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake rocked northeastern Japan. An earthquake of this magnitude hasn’t occurred in this region in over 1,200 years and its effects have been felt across the world with tsunamis hitting coastlines from California and New Zealand’s north island. Its effects are also being felt in Japan’s nuclear fleet, as multiple failures and explosions have created the potential for the world’s largest nuclear disaster.

The Japan quake, and the tsunami that it created, knocked out the electricity supply used to run the cooling systems at the Fukushima Power Plant. And, for unclear reasons, backup generators did not engage properly. As a result, several reactors have experienced partial meltdowns that threaten the health and safety of Japanese residents. This morning, a team of Japanese engineers and technicians are risking their lives to prevent a catastrophic full reactor meltdown and radiation leak.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Scientific American is providing extensive coverage of the crisis. Included in today’s articles was a post by David Wogan that compares this crisis to last year’s Gulf oil spill. You can check out that post in Scientific American’s guest blog here.

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