Nature News and Columbia University have joined forces to make a Google Earth map showing the world populations at risk from nuclear fallout. The interactive map combines data on population and the locations and sizes of reactors, plotting risk graphically in the form of circles. Small, green circles represent relatively low risk, based on population size near the nuclear plants; mid-sized yellow circles represent greater risk, with large red circles representing the greatest risk.
Japan's ongoing nuclear crisis escalated on Wednesday, as authorities acknowledged that a second reactor at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have been compromised. All but 50 workers have been evacuated from the complex as radiation levels surged and emergency workers struggle to deal with a fire at yet another reactor.
The good news, which is not really "good" news much at all, is that Japan's Fukushima nuclear reactors didn't all fully melt down in the last 12 hours. That may sound cynical, but if you were following the fast developments in last night's news, a total nuclear catastrophe really did seem imminent. It's still unclear, though, how much radiation is leaking into the air, and another mid-size (6.1 magnitude) earthquake did strike southwest of Tokyo overnight. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasuries are soaring! Here's the latest news.
This is a map of Japanese nuclear power plants that was featured on Monday's episode of Fox News' Your World With Neil Cavuto This is The International Atomic Energy Agency's list of Japanese nuclear plants. You might notice that "Shibuyaeggman" appears on the Fox News map, but not on the IAEA list. Probably because it is actually a nightclub. Media Matters' Simon Maloy explains:
After an early-morning explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station damaged one reactor's steel containment vessel and spurred the removal of emergency workers, officials expanded the evacuation zone and braced for "much larger emissions of radioactive materials." How bad are we talking? "It's way past Three Mile Island already," physicist Frank von Hippel tells The New York Times.
It's Tuesday morning in Japan now, and the country's damaged nuclear reactors still face the prospect of melting down. The desperate move to cool overheated fuel rods with seawater has run into some problems. The death toll is above 10,000. As if this weren't enough, estimates are already trickling in for the country's staggering reconstruction costs. If you have the masochistic need to read any further, here's a roundup of the latest news.