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The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in Japan worsened considerably in the past 24 hours. Japanese officials have indicated that partial meltdowns have taken place in reactors No. 2 and No.3, and the damaged fuel rods are spewing highly radioactive steam into the atmosphere through breaches in their inner containment vessels, which are made of steel encased in concrete. The remaining skeleton crew battling the meltdowns at the Fukushima complex was temporarily evacuated from the site due to the high radiation levels, which also forced authorities to postpone an attempt to bombard the damaged plants with water and boric acid dropped from helicopters. Concerns also continued to mount for 80 tons of spent fuel rods that are stored in a pool directly under the roof of reactor No. 4’s square outer building. There is no containment vessel encasing the spent fuel, which was seen to catch fire two days ago. The current weather pattern over Fukushima appears to be blowing most of the radioactive steam out over the ocean to the east. However, meteorologists are predicting that this pattern will shift over the weekend, possibly pushing the steam to the southwest in the direction of Tokyo, which is approximately 170 miles to the south of the Fukushima complex. Japanese authorities have ordered everyone within a 20 mile radius of the nuclear complex to evacuate. They have called upon residents who live between 20 and 30 miles from the crippled power station to stay in the home and seal all windows. Officials say they have stockpiled thousands of iodine tablets for distribution if the situation worsens. The government of Japan reportedly has asked the U.S. military to assist with the damage-control operation at Fukushima. Meanwhile, the emperor of Japan made a rare appearance on Japanese television asking the nation to “remain calm.” The Fukushima disaster has prompted frantic reviews of nuclear power facilities throughout Europe. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany announced yesterday that seven of the oldest nuclear power plants in Germany will be shut down immediately and checked for safety. The effects of the catastrophe continue to weigh heavily on the Japanese economy. The Japanese stock market has lost about 14 percent of its value since the earthquake and tsunami hit last Friday. Major Japanese manufacturers have been forced to suspend production due to a severe shortage of electricity. With most of the island nation’s nuclear power grid offline, the government has initiated brownouts to conserve power. Nuclear energy is Japan’s largest source of power, supplying more […]
In Japan, the word Sendai means “1000 generations.” According to local lore, the feudal warlord Date Masamune chose this name for the coastal city in northeastern Japan because he expected his clan to rule for centuries to come. We don’t know if Masamune’s descendants still walk the streets of the largest city in Japan’s northeast region. If they do, they probably are walking alongside the rest of greater Sendai’s two million residents today as they begin to flee the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. Sendai was all but erased from the maps by the Allied bombing of Japan during World War II. At the end of the war, the residents of Sendai emerged from the rubble and rebuilt their city with wide avenues and a relaxed atmosphere that made it a popular destination for northern travelers on Japan’s main island. Six decades later, Sendai now faces another existential threat. The city that Allied bombers almost finished off is at the mercy of the forces of nature, relentless and indifferent to the fate of the Masamune clan. An 8.9-magnitude earthquake sent a 40-foot-high wall of water smashing into the northeast coast of Japan on Friday, setting off a catastrophic chain reaction at the Fukushima complex. Fukushima Daiichi is Japan’s largest nuclear power station, containing six reactors. In the wake of the tsunami, generators powering Fukushima’s cooling system failed in three of the reactors, setting off hydrogen explosions in two of the containment structures housing the reactors. Plant workers deployed firefighting equipment to pour seawater into the crippled reactors in a desperate effort to keep red-hot reactor fuel rods covered with coolant. A storage basin for spent fuel rods caught fire, spewing high levels of radiation into the air. Today, the crew working to contain the disaster at Fukushima has been scaled back from 800 to 50, a handful of courageous souls who must surely know that they are on a suicide mission. Two of the reactors may be in a state of meltdown, their exposed, superheated fuel rods melting and fusing into the most dangerous puddles on Earth. If a breach has occurred in one of the concrete and steel reactor-core vessels, experts say the battle to avert a catastrophic disaster at Fukushima Daiichi may already be lost. It borders on cruel to point out that Japan’s decision to place six nuclear reactors directly on top of one of the world’s most active geological fault lines—just a few feet from an ocean that can feed massive tsunamis—was an unsurpassed act of hubris. […]
The evacuation expands as 50 remaining plant workers struggle to put out a fire in a basin containing spent fuel rods from reactor No. 4.
Here is a brief list of relief organizations and information services that are mobilizing to help the people of Japan: The U.S. State Department is urging U.S. citizens to contact friends and family as soon as possible. They can also e-mail the State Department at JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov. Those seeking information on security in or travel to Japan can call 1-888-407-4747 or 1-202-501-4444. Google is assisting in helping victims touch base with friends and loved ones. Its People Finder allows users to look for victims or post information about people. It works in five languages. World Vision is rushing personnel into the affected areas and providing food, water, medical supplies and shelter for victims. It also plans to establish one or more “child-friendly spaces” for kids “affected by disasters to resume normal childhood activities and experience structure and security that are often lost following emergency situations.” Follow World Vision’s blog for updates, and visit its website or text “4japan” to 20222 to send a $10 donation to the group. It will show up on your next mobile phone bill. The American Red Cross is accepting donations: text “redcross” to 90999, and you can make a $10 donation to the organization. The Salvation Army is issuing updates via its blog, its Twitter feed andFacebook page. It also is accepting donations via text message. Those interested in contributing $10 to the group can text “japan” or “quake” to 80888. AmeriCares, which is also accepting donations, said it is mobilizing resources and sending an emergency response manager to the region. Save the Children is sending an emergency team to assist its staff in Japan.Donations to the group’s Children’s Emergency Fund will help preserve the welfare of young ones, who “are always the most vulnerable in a disaster,” Eiichi Sadamatsu in central Tokyo said in a statement. Globalgiving.com has established a Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. GlobalGiving will disburse funds to organizations providing aid and relief to victims. Organizations also providing aid are Save the Children and the International Medical Corps. The Corps is coordinating with local authorities and partners to determine the most pressing needs. It also is providing technical expertise and assisting with logistics. To contribute to the Corps’ efforts, visit its website or text “med” to 80888 to send the group a $10 donation. The American Humane Association has set up a relief fund for rescuing animals. Donations help provide shelter and care.
A third reactor at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant lost its cooling capabilities today. Technicians are desperately pumping seawater into the containment vessels of the crippled reactors in a last-ditch effort to avoid a full meltdown. The risky emergency measures at the plant already have resulted in hydrogen explosions in two of the containment structures, releasing radioactivity. A 20 km zone around the Fukushima facility has been evacuated, displacing approximately 250,000 residents of an area with a population of 2 million. The problem was detected in the plant’s No. 2 reactor today afternoon after an explosion rocked the building containing the plant’s No. 3 reactor, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters. “We think that the hydrogen explosion in (the building housing) reactor No. 3 caused the cooling system of reactor No. 2 to stop working,” Edano said. Water levels were falling and pressure was building up inside the No. 2 reactor, he said, and officials were working on a plan to release gas and also inject seawater into that reactor. Workers have been injecting seawater in a last-ditch effort to cool down fuel rods and prevent a full meltdown at two other reactors at the plant—No. 1 and No. 3—after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami Friday knocked out the reactors’ cooling systems. Japanese officials have said they believe there may be a partial meltdown in the No. 3 and No. 1 nuclear reactors. Authorities have not yet been able to confirm a meltdown, because it is too hot inside the affected reactors to check. There are six reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, located in northeastern Japan about 65 km (40 miles) south of Sendai.
Michelin North America has confirmed plans to invest $50 million to upgrade equipment and expand production at the company’s BFGoodrich Tire manufacturing facility in Woodburn, IN. The project will create about 35 new jobs at the plant, which employs almost 1,600. The Journal Gazette reported in December that company officials were considering the plant for an upgrade. At that time, a union official said he believed the company was already in the midst of a $77 million investment in the Woodburn plant. Michelin officials selected the Woodburn plant after conducting a competitive process among several company plants for the upgrade investment.
Japan warned there could be a small radiation leak from a nuclear reactor whose cooling system was knocked by Friday’s massive earthquake, but thousands of residents in the area had been moved out of harm’s way, the Vancouver Sun reports. Underscoring grave concerns about the Fukushima plant some 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. air force had delivered coolant to avert a rise in the temperature of the facility’s nuclear rods. Pressure building in the plant was set to be released soon, a move that could result in a radiation leak, officials said. Some 3,000 people who live within a 3 km radius of the plant had been evacuated, Kyodo news agency said. “It’s possible that radioactive material in the reactor vessel could leak outside but the amount is expected to be small and the wind blowing towards the sea will be considered,” Chief Cabinet Yukio Edano told a news conference. “Residents are safe after those within a 3 km radius were evacuated and those within a 10 km radius are staying indoors, so we want people to be calm,” he added. Tokyo Electric Power Co said pressure had built up inside a reactor at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant after the cooling system was knocked out by the earthquake, the largest on record in Japan. Pressure had risen to 1.5 times the designed capacity, the Japan Nuclear Safety agency said. Media also said the radiation level was rising in the turbine building.
SC Gov. Nikki Haley, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Greenville Area Development Corporation have announced that Automation Engineering Corporation will expand its existing operations in Greenville County. The $6.1 million investment is expected to generate 78 new jobs over the next five years. “We are pleased to move forward with our plans to grow in Greenville. This expansion will allow us to grow our market share while continuing to offer top-notch service to our existing customers. Greenville has provided an excellent home for our business over the years, and we appreciate all the support we have received from state and local officials,” said Gary Foster, general manager and president of Automation Engineering Corporation. Automation Engineering Corporation will expand the company’s facility located 110 Smith Road in Greenville. The expansion will include research, development, design and manufacture of capital equipment to produce tubular products for the oil industry, a new market for the company. The company already serves companies globally in the automotive, healthcare, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and metals markets, as well as other segments of the broader energy industry. The company’s current facility is 60,000 square feet, and the company expects to add space to the building over the next five years. “Automation Engineering Corporation’s $6 million investment, expansion and additional jobs are great news, and we’re going to celebrate because, when businesses we already have can expand, it means we’re doing everything right for business development in our great state,” said Gov. Haley. “Automation Engineering Corporation has been a member of South Carolina’s business community for nearly three decades. This announcement offers another indication that South Carolina’s business-friendly climate continues to help foster growth among our existing companies,” said Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce. “We’re pleased that Automation Engineering recognizes the many advantages that Greenville County offers their company for continued growth and success,” said Jo Hackl, chairwoman of the Greenville Area Development Corporation Board. “Their decision to expand operations and to add dozens of quality-paying jobs here is an important affirmation of this area’s focus on developing our advanced manufacturing and engineering clusters. As an innovation-driven organization with blue-chip clients and global opportunities in numerous industries, Automation Engineering is a prized member of the Upstate business community.”
Brick City Development Corp., Newark, NJ’s economic development catalyst, has announced it has completed the sale of a 105,000-square-foot South Ward Industrial Park site to Bartlett Dairy. Bartlett will bring more than 400 jobs to the city over the next 5 years. “Creating jobs is one our top priorities,” said Lyneir Richardson, CEO, Brick City Development Corporation. “The core of our work is focused on building a sustainable economy in Newark. This includes job creation, job retention, and leveraging private and public investment to attract businesses that strengthen the economic base of the city,” Said Richardson. Bartlett Dairy is a major food and dairy distributor with operations in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York with sales in 2009 of $141 million. “Distributors rely on efficient access to transportation in order to prosper. Newark offers advantages over other sites in the region including access to the largest Port in the Northeast, three airports, an extensive highway system, affordable real estate, 50,000 person university community, and a ready workforce,” said Richardson. Lyneir Richardson has overall responsibility for business attraction and real estate development. Richardson’s primary focus is to actualize the development in the pipeline. Bartlett Dairy is just one of the many projects BCDC is bringing to fruition. Bartlett Dairy will proceed with the relocation in phases. The initial phase is the relocation of their operation in Clifton, NJ and 175 jobs, which will be completed by June. Over the next 2-3 years, Bartlett intends to relocate to Newark more than 150 jobs from their other facilities in New Jersey and Jamaica, New York. Bartlett expects to create an additional 100 new jobs through growth over the next five years. As part of the acquisition, Bartlett has agreed to a first-source hiring under which it will give priority to Newark residents for all openings. In addition to Newark residents at large, Bartlett will target job openings to participants in Mayor Cory Booker’s prisoner reentry program. “This is a great example of the type of partnerships we are attempting to create, which help to foster better relationships between employers and the community,” said Ingrid Johnson, Chair of Reentry Initiatives for Newark. Bartlett Dairy is a major food and dairy distributor with operations in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York with sales in 2009 of $141 million. Crain’s recently ranked Bartlett as the 5th largest minority-owned company in the metropolitan region. Bartlett is the exclusive, tri-state distributor to over 550 Starbucks stores. Bartlett is also the largest fresh milk distributor in the Northeast for […]
Jackson Laboratory has announced it will build a new $130-million research facility in Sarasota County, BradentonTimes.com reports. The project, to be known as The Jackson Laboratory–Florida, will be housed in a 120,000-square-foot facility in Sarasota County and will also occupy laboratories and offices within the University of South Florida Health complex in Tampa. The project is expected to create at least 204 jobs. “Bringing Jackson Labs to Sarasota County will help us meet our biggest priorities over the next several years,” Nora Patterson, chairwoman of the Sarasota County Commission, said in a statement. “The institute will help diversify our economy while creating hundreds of jobs, making this a landmark investment in the future of Sarasota County.” As part of the project, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and other community agencies will spearhead the creation of a major biomedical village, including research, clinical medicine, education, and residential and retail activity, that will grow up around the new Jackson facility, according to a news release. “Our facility in Sarasota County, coupled with operations on the USF Health campus, will build the collaborations essential to breakthrough discoveries, clinical medicine and educational outreach,” Charles Hewett, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Jackson Laboratory, said. “These collaborations will enrich the entire region.” USF President Judy Genshaft said USF will make laboratories, offices and research support facilities available to Jackson at nominal cost. “We are pleased to share our facilities with the Jackson Laboratory,” she said. “This arrangement promotes even closer scientific collaborations, and it lowers the cost to the public.” For months Jackson Lab has been meeting with officials in Sarasota and Hillsborough counties as those two regions were competing for the proposed genetics research lab in partnership with USF. Jackson Lab originally considered Collier County for its research facility.