Japan by the numbers
I have spent much of the day filtering the news. Let me save you some time and give you the numbers i think are most useful. From big to low.
1 trillion yen (or $12 billion) the cost of the 6 Fukushima reactors – likely now worthless
$21 to 38 billion estimated insured losses from this disaster nation wide (updated April 12)
2.5 Million number of households in Japan without electricity (4% of the country)
452,000 Japanese homeless (April 30 update)
210,000 is the number of people who have been evacuated from the region around the 2 Fukushima reactor complex.
100,000 number of rescue and emergency workers dispatched to quake effected areas
7,300 dead from the quake and tsunami and 11,000 missing (April 30 update)
125 number of after shocks since Friday
90 the number people hospitalized for radiation poisoning
10 cm the amount the earth moved off its axis because of the quake.
9.0 level of the recent Sendai Japanese earthquake, upgraded from 8.9
7.9 the design basis for the Fukushima – the scale of the quake that was the limit of what was supposed to happen and what the reactor was designed to withstand
6 number of reactors still out of control due to loss of coolant problems
5 number of after shocks of magnitude 6.0 or higher in japan since friday
4 the level of accident on the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency disaster scale on a scale of 7. Three Mile Island was a 5, Chernobyl was a 7. This is almost certainly low. [April 30 update - this was raised to a level 7 in April]
2.4m the amount the main island of Japan shifted as a function of the quake
The thing which the news is just beginning to cover is that the latest reactor in trouble is Fukushima plant 1 block 3, which is a MOX plant. MOX plants use fuel made from blending military plutonium with uranium. This is what the Guardian is saying about MOX
“Plutonium MOX fuel increases the risk of nuclear accident due the neutronic effects of plutonium on the reactor,” Burnie told the Guardian. “In the event of an accident – in particular loss of coolant – the reactor core is more difficult to control due to both neutronics and higher risk of fuel cladding failure.
“In the event of the fuel melting and the release of plutonium fuel into the environment, the health hazards are greater, including higher levels of latent cancer.”
This reactor is suffering from a loss of coolant and may have already had a partial fuel melt.