Japan’s Quake And Nuclear Risks

Japan’s monster quake and nuclear concerns. We discuss the damage and lessons.

Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook

Residents evacuated from areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear facilities damaged in Friday's massive earthquake, are checked for radiation contamination, Sunday, Japan. (AP/Wally Santana)

Japan builds for natural disasters and it has built its national character on taking disaster in stride, pulling together, and building over.

But on Friday came that super-sized quake, not to mention aftershocks that would have flattened most countries, to the tsunami, and now, a runaway nuclear crisis.

Another reactor exploded this morning, frantic efforts to keep the nuclear fuel from melting down.

They haven’t even had a chance to count the dead or start the great rebuild and this story is still not over.

This hour, On Point: The Japanese people and their indescribable challenge.

– Jane Clayson


Jim Walsh, expert in international security and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program.

David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times.

Coco Masters, former Tokyo correspondent for Time Magazine.

Costas Synolakis, professor of geophysics and the Director of the Tsunami Research Center at the University of Southern California.

Alex Marion, vice president for nuclear operations at the Nuclear Energy Institute.


The photo on the left of Natori, Japan was taken April 4, 2010. The photo on right was taken Saturday, March 12, 2011, one day after the earthquake struck the Oshika Peninsula. (AP/GeoEye)

More photos from Japan here and here

Earthquakes in Context:

Japan, 3/11/11: death toll unfolding, 8.9 Magnitude

Tangshan, China, 7/27/76: Est. 655,000 deaths, 7.5 Magnitude

Sumatra, 12/26/04: 227,898 deaths, 9.1 Magnitude

Haiti, 1/12/10:  222,570 deaths, 7.0 Magnitude

Pakistan, 10/8/05: 86,000 deaths, 7.6 Magnitude

Chimbote, Peru, 5/31/70: 70,000 deaths, 7.9 Magnitude

(Source: USGS)

This map depicts Japan’s exposed population by area hit by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on Friday (Source: USGS)

See more detailed coverage and statistics from USGS


Google Crisis Response Webpage provides disaster resources and on the ground updates

People watch the aftermath of tsunami tidal waves covering a port at Kesennuma in northern Japan, Friday. (AP/Keichi Nakane, The Yomiuri Shimbun)

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