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Japan earthquake...Hey Benji, you ok?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by DaveD, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. DaveD

    DaveD EVs Kick Gas!

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    benji4 and other Japan members: I hope you are in good health and safe

    I'm very sorry to hear about the earthquake and resultant tsunami that's caused loss of life and property damage there in Japan. I hope that you and your families have survived the ordeal and are safe.

    My thoughts and good wishes are with you, as I'm sure are all of the other TMC.com members.

    Take care, stay safe, and let us know how you're doing when you have a chance to.
     
  2. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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    Been watching the news coverage of the Japanese quake...looks pretty bad with a wide swath of destruction, fires in an oil refinery, possible radiation leak at a nuclear power plant, on and on...

    Hey Benji, we know you're far south of where the quake hit, are you and your family ok?
     
  3. shark2k

    shark2k Member

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    I was thinking the same thing. Hope everything is OK with you Benji!!

    -Shark2k
     
  4. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Our condolences to the people of Japan. Wishing you the best as you deal with this tragedy.
     
  5. benji4

    benji4 Roadster 2.5 #0476

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    Hi everyone, thank you so much for your thoughts and concerns. The quake was seriously scary here in Tokyo, magnitude 5 or 6 I think. I was working when the quake hit and our building got rocked hard, but no damage. All train service and many highways were shut down, and last night there were 1000's of people trying to walk out of the city. I have never seen traffic jams like that either, cars just not even moving at all for hours. Gas and power still out in a lot of areas even in Tokyo although things are starting to come back online now. The damage closer to epicenter is amazing, it will take some time to figure out how bad it is and how many people lost their lives, homes, etc. 30 foot+ tsunamis hit many costal areas and turned them into wastelands. This kind of thing really puts a different perspective on life and what's really important. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers, and hopefully the country and people here will pull together and take care of the countless people who are truly suffering now from this.
     
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Glad to hear you're okay. Best wishes for everyone affected by this disaster.
     
  7. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    I'm glad you're ok, the pictures on the news such as water reaching the fourth floor of a hospital are truly shocking.

    Kind of ironic that this nuclear plant is reported to have suffered a hydrogen explosion when proponents cite this as a good way to produce the gas.

    Also it's sad and ironic that this reactor was two weeks away from retirement. It's also the only type of reactor design that requires control rods to be raised hydraulically rather than dropped under gravity. This is the kind of result. The authorities need to think long and hard about that.
     
  8. tdelta1000

    tdelta1000 Active Member

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    #8 tdelta1000, Mar 12, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
    Hey benji4... the TMC fam is glad to hear that you faired well. Our prayer go out to the nation especially to those who one lost love one.
     
  9. samcarney

    samcarney Sam C

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    same goes for me. best wishes John.
     
  10. benji4

    benji4 Roadster 2.5 #0476

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    Hi everyone, thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. I drove around Tokyo a little bit today and it's almost surreal seeing the streets bascially empty. Usually on weekends people are out shopping, driving around, lots of people coming in to Tokyo from surrounding areas, etc. Nobody feels like doing anything right now really other than watching the news to try and get a grip on what's going on. Other than the fact there are not many people outside, Tokyo itself looks like nothing happened. I don't think there was too much lasting damage here in the Tokyo area to speak of, but things have just kind of shut down. Hopefully people can pull together and get things back to normal as much as possible, but it looks like it will definately take some time.
     
  11. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    On one of my longer stays in Japan, I had a long chat with some folks who had survived the Kobe quake. They pulled through then, they'll pull through now. The Japanese are a resilient people. Gambatte, Benji.
     
  12. mpt

    mpt Electrics are back

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    Benji4 - Glad to hear that TMC's man in Tokyo is ok!

    I've been watching the twiters and a discussion has arisen around the viability of EVs in a disaster. What's your take from the ground?
     
  13. benji4

    benji4 Roadster 2.5 #0476

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    Thanks Doug, I share you sentiments and I'm sure the country will pull through although it's going to be very tough for awhile. People are really trying to pull together, support each other, etc., and I think that the government will do whatever it needs to in order to put funds together to rebuild from this. At least up until no there has been no price gouging, looting, fighting, etc., that one might expect after such a disaster. We'll see how it unfolds over the next days and weeks, and I'm sure it will get worse before it gets better, but it will get better soon hopefully.
     
  14. benji4

    benji4 Roadster 2.5 #0476

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    I've been thinking a lot about this also -- not much gasoline to be had in Tokyo right now although I did see a few stations open today with very long lines. Everybody is trying to fill up thinking that maybe they won't get much of a chance to in coming days. The stations that are open are limiting purchases to 10 liters. I drove around a bit again today to survey things, and of course with the Roadster and other EVs it doesn't take much power to do so. I can fully charge here for about $5 while a tank of gas costs $65.

    Unfortunately, electricity like gas is now in short supply here and phased rolling blackouts start from tomorrow morning (first business day since the quake and tsunami). The center of Tokyo is spared from this which is certainly a relief, but much of the city and surrounding areas will be shut down 5 hours each day in order to save power. Tokyo Electric who owns the two nuke plants that are in trouble is a company that has seriously been pushing EVs including converting most of their own fleet to iMievs and of course rolling out CHAdeMO charge points all over the place. In addition, they have been planning to make it easier and cheaper for houses to get enough amps to reliably charge EVs (most homes now have 100 amps or less, and upgrading has been expensive).

    I think Tokyo Electric probably will have to take a breather from promoting EVs now and first of all work on getting their capacity back! Most people here now are really afraid of more nuclear energy, so you have to wonder how capacity will be increased when it seems like at least some of the damaged reactors will never be brought back online. Lots more solar, wind, hydro, or whatever it takes to generate enough power would be great, but certainly it is going to take time....
     
  15. mpt

    mpt Electrics are back

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    Every cloud had a silver lining; is this the impatus to kick renewables into high gear or just fall back to more coal & oil plants?
     
  16. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    That is really going to be a tough one. If Japan stops building nuclear plants, is there any practical alternative in the short to mid term to importing gobs of coal and oil?

    The fact that these plants are melting down is IMHO a serious error in engineering the plants - and of regulatory oversight. Surely a large earthquake followed by a large tsunami was known to be inevitable, given the type of fault present off the coast. To have the plants scram and minutes later have the tsunami wipe out the backup diesel generators is a scenario that surely could have been forseen -- and prevented by hardening the backup generators against a tsunami. Even if the plants were built years ago their protection could and should have been upgraded. This is really a huge black eye for the nuclear industry. Hopefully nuclear facilities around the world are now reviewing their safety systems in light of this disaster.
     
  17. AndrewBissell

    AndrewBissell Member

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    I would have seen Japan as an ideal country for implementing baseload geothermal to replace the nuclear reactors. Are there any such plants?
     
  18. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #18 TEG, Mar 13, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
    http://www.geothermal.org/articles/GeoJapan.pdf
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/volcanic-japan-could-be-geothermal-energy-leader-us-expert-1986368.html
    Japan Renews Drive to Tap Geothermal : Greentech Media
     
  19. benji4

    benji4 Roadster 2.5 #0476

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    No, unfortunately in the short and medium term it looks like the plan is to import more fossil fuels as it takes a long time to get other solutions going. Most of what I've seen in the media recently has been about adding solar generating capacity. The 1-megawatt plant here built on the former maglev test track is partially complete, for example:

    California ~ Nevada MAGLEV NEWS: Japan firm creating thin-film solar cells on MAGLEV TRACK

    However, despite concerns about the safety of nuclear energy, Japan is currently in the process of ramping it up. You never see this in the press though. The piece below tells about a number of plants currently under construction and plans for more (even more reactors at Fukushima which I suppose would have to be out of the question now).

    Nuclear Power in Japan | Japanese Nuclear Energy
    As far as engineering is concerned, I think the Fukushima plant was done pretty well, but the location of it right next to the ocean in an earthquake/tsunami zone seems like a problem for sure. The quake caused the reactors to automatically shut down depriving the plant itself of electricity needed for pumps to cool the cores. 12 or 13 backup generators then came online immediately to keep things running, but the tsunami caused them to fail. After that, batteries were supposed to be used but they failed for some reason... and finally, as a last resort, seawater was pumped in. So they actually did have multiple backup plans in place, but obviously things went very, very wrong.

    I'm really hoping that this situation leads to increased investment in alternative energies, because Japan has many amazing companies capable of building some incredible things, but in the short term, unfortunately more oil and coal will be burned.
     
  20. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    I was told unoficaially that this plant was due to be decomissioned and shut down process beginning in two weeks. Poor timing for mother nature.
     

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