Study warns of another nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi — Likely to be directly disturbed by large quakes (Full Paper)

Published: February 14th, 2012 at 4:26 pm ET


Title: EGU Fukushima at increased earthquake risk
Source: European Geosciences Union
Author: Ping Tong (Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan [Tohoku] and Tsinghua
University, Beijing, China [Tsinghua]), Dapeng Zhao (Tohoku), Dinghui
Yang (Tsinghua)
Date: Feb 14, 2012
Emphasis Added

Seismic risk at the Fukushima nuclear plant increased after the magnitude 9 earthquake that hit Japan last March, scientists report. The new study, which uses data from over 6,000 earthquakes, shows the 11 March tremor caused a seismic fault close to the nuclear plant to reactivate. The results are now published in Solid Earth, an open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

The research suggests authorities should strengthen the security of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to withstand large earthquakes that are likely to directly disturb the region. The power plant witnessed one of the worst nuclear disasters in history after it was damaged by the 11 March 2011 magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami. But this tremor occurred about 160 km from the site, and a much closer one could occur in the future at Fukushima.

“There are a few active faults in the nuclear power plant area, and our results show the existence of similar structural anomalies under both the Iwaki and the Fukushima Daiichi areas. Given that a large earthquake occurred in Iwaki not long ago, we think it is possible for a similarly strong earthquake to happen in Fukushima,” says team-leader Dapeng Zhao, geophysics professor at Japan’s Tohoku University.

The 11 April 2011 magnitude 7 Iwaki earthquake was the strongest aftershock of the 11 March earthquake with an inland epicentre. It occurred 60 km southwest of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, or 200 km from the 11 March epicentre.

The research now published in EGU’s Solid Earth shows that the Iwaki earthquake was triggered by fluids moving upwards from the subducting Pacific plate to the crust. The Pacific plate is moving beneath northeast Japan, which increases the temperature and pressure of the minerals in it. This leads to the removal of water from minerals, generating fluids that are less dense than the surrounding rock. These fluids move up to the upper crust and may alter seismic faults.

“Ascending fluids can reduce the friction of part of an active fault and so trigger it to cause a large earthquake. This, together with the stress variations caused by the 11 March event, is what set off the Iwaki tremor,” says Ping Tong, lead author of the paper.

The number of earthquakes in Iwaki increased greatly after the March earthquake. The movements in the Earth’s crust induced by the event caused variations in the seismic pressure or stress of nearby faults. Around Iwaki, Japan’s seismic network recorded over 24,000 tremors from 11 March 2011 to 27 October 2011, up from under 1,300 detected quakes in the nine years before, the scientists report.

The 6,000 of these earthquakes selected for the study were recorded by 132 seismographic stations in Japan from June 2002 to October 2011. The researchers analysed these data to take pictures of the Earth’s interior, using a technique called seismic tomography.

“The method is a powerful tool to map out structural anomalies, such as ascending fluids, in the Earth’s crust and upper mantle using seismic waves. It can be compared to a CT or CAT scan, which relies on X-rays to detect tumours or fractures inside the human body,” explains Zhao.

While the scientists can’t predict when an earthquake in Fukushima Daiichi will occur, they state that the ascending fluids observed in the area indicate that such an event is likely to occur in the near future. They warn that more attention should be paid to the site’s ability to withstand strong earthquakes, and reduce the risk of another nuclear disaster.

The scientists also note that the results may be useful for reviewing seismic safety in other nuclear facilities in Japan, such as nearby Fukushima Daini, Onagawa to the north of Fukushima, and Tōkai to the south.

Map of Japan’s islands indicating the area of study (black box). The purple star marks the epicentre of the 11 March earthquake and the red star the Iwaki epicentre. Fukushima Daiichi is highlighted by a red square. Black triangles indicate active volcanoes. Numbers on the side of the image represent latitude and longitude. Credit: Ping Tong, Dapeng Zhao and Dinghui Yang.

This research is presented in the paper ‘Tomography of the 2011 Iwaki earthquake (M 7.0) and Fukushima nuclear power plant area’ to appear in the EGU open-access journal Solid Earth on 14 February 2012.

The scientific article is available online, from the publication date onwards, at

The discussion paper (not peer-reviewed) and reviewers comments is available at

The team is composed of Ping Tong (Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan [Tohoku] and Tsinghua University, Beijing, China [Tsinghua]), Dapeng Zhao (Tohoku), Dinghui Yang (Tsinghua).

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is Europe’s premier geosciences union

See also: [intlink id=”expert-m70-quake-spent-fuel-pool-4-collapse-new-study-warns-311-nearby-fault-rip-open” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: February 14th, 2012 at 4:26 pm ET


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57 comments to Study warns of another nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi — Likely to be directly disturbed by large quakes (Full Paper)

    • sandman

      What the article you posted says is that there is another gauge that also reports high temperatures, and that the two gauges said the same thing until Tepco tested one of them, which then began displaying very high numbers. The author titled his article "possibility of tepco to have broken the heating gauge on purpose". The evidence might indicate that the testing affected the accuracy of the gauge in question. From that, the author of the post you linked to raises the speculation (without giving any evidence to support it) that Tepco might have deliberately broken the thermometer. From that, you, Whoopie, then say "Tepco purposely broke gauge", as if it were a reported fact. Please, try to ease up on the hysteria, the mad rush to jump to conclusions, the twisting of reports. And who is the author of the post you link to, anyway? How would he know? "Just the facts, ma'am".

      ps – and furthermore, what has this speculation turned alleged fact to do with the earthquake problem?

      • PoorDaddy PoorDaddy

        sand… wrote:
        "From that, you, Whoopie, then say "Tepco purposely broke gauge", as if it were a reported fact."

        You missed the punctuation mark at the end of Whoopie's post….
        "Tepco purposely broke gauge?"

        This…?…generally denotes a question, not a statement of fact, so, "Just the facts, sir".

        For 11 months now, most of us here have been amused, surprised, amazed at the audacity, angry, disgusted, outraged and finally EXPECTING lies from Tepco. At this point, it seems more plausible that they broke the gauge intentionally. So please forgive us if we occasionally jump to a negative conclusion regarding Tepco's actions, inactions and outright lies.

        • sandman

          But you see, jumping to conclusions will not help. Not that in this situation there's actually much that will help, but I can think of nothing that is made better by wrong information.

          • PoorDaddy PoorDaddy

            Not neccessarily wrong information, possibly wrong information….see how easy it is to jump to a conclusion?

        • Whoopie Whoopie

          TY PD It's easy to jump. I'm a case in point.

          • Whoopie Whoopie

            You're traveling through another dimension – a dark, upside down world where people need some slack, ESP with all the news we're getting these days. 🙂

      • StillJill StillJill

        Sandman,…what's your dog in this race? Why are you here?

        • enemoe

          Some of us, and I can't speak for Sandman here, are here to get information that the main stream media is not reporting.

          Personally I am concerned about the situation in Fukushima and would like to keep myself up to date so I can make intelligent decisions about my safety and my family's safety.

          I have an interest in this site presenting news in a non-sensationalist viewpoint. While I understand it is not "journalism" in the traditional sense and some amount of unsubstantiated news will be reported (it has to be since no one really knows what the hell is happening over there), it bothers me when I see comments from people which are clearly speculation, but are not at all presented as such.

          Whenever these comments are pointed out, someone like you, StillJill, jumps out and insinuates that the commenter has an agenda, is a shill, or is just ignorant.

          It really does a disservice to the site, in my opinion.

        • sandman

          My only dog is a very sweet and elderly dauxhund mix, whom I love dearly. I'm here because this is the only place I've seen that keeps track of the ongoing nuclear catastrophy in Japan, and elsewhere. (By the way. ENENEWS ADMIN, thank you very much, again.) Is there another reason to be here? Apart from the camaraderie, of course.

          • PoorDaddy PoorDaddy

            LOL. Mine is a very tired and sweet old Rotty.
            I'm here for exactly the same reasons and if I sounded a little testy in previous posts, please accept my apology. I've noticed for months now just how protective we have all become of each other. This site is truly one of a kind, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My hat's off to Enenews and Enenewsers.

            • sandman

              No apology necessary, but thank you. I appreciate that. I sometimes read back something I've written and think I could maybe have been more gentle in my phrasing, too. I understand that some people can be a bit overwhelmed at the news these days, most of it is horrible. Here's something off topic to cheer everyone up:

              • sandman

                You may have to refresh that link to get it to go through the slideshow.
                And, oops, damnit, I think I did it again, below. Oh well.

                • PoorDaddy PoorDaddy

                  worked fine….thanks. Did you see the thread about shooting Beagles up with radioactive shit? I'm not a big animals rights or a PETA guy, and I'm a hunter, but some stuff just strikes me wrong…..this is one of them.

  • sandman

    Very interesting paper and research. Still, I can't help thinking that this could be posted in the "duh!" file. Who knew, building large clusters of nuclear reactors over fault lines in one of the most seismically active places on the planet (and on the coast!)might not be a good idea. And they just might need to be constructed to withstand large earthquakes! F me.

    • Whoopie Whoopie

      THEY knew!! The whole Nuke Industry knew all along!!! They just "tossed the dice" and came up "snake eyes". Oh man this makes me soooooooooooooooooooooooo angry! Well PREPARE YOURSELVES…and with 3 coruims going down into the ground…FUCK. NO WORDS CAN EXPRESS WHAT I'M FEELING RIGHT NOW.

  • StPaulScout StPaulScout

    Hey Whoopie, prepare yourself for what? Contamination of the worlds air, food and water supplies? General societal break down? Massive death due to radiation poisoning? How are you going to prepare for any of this? Well, besides putting aside a few bottles of your favorite liquor for when your teeth fall out?

    Tell me please, dear Whoopie, how does one prepare for an uncertain future that could easily be catastrophic for all life forms on the planet.

  • Whoopie Whoopie


  • bleep_hits_blades

    Whoopie's speculations were reasonable,I think, given that Tepco is desperate to muddy the waters, confuse the issue, and buy time.

    She made it clear that it was just speculation. She's using the grey matter!

    Keep in mind that things could get VERY hot – politically, legally – for Tepco, the Japanese government, the makers of these reactors, etc. I am no lawyer, but it appears to me that we are looking a misfeasance, malfeasance, criminal reckless endangerment of the people of Japan and the world.

    There are these legal phrases that come to mind, 'knew or should have known' … due diligence… these people in power knew or should have known, had a 'due diligence' duty to know, and to inform the public of the risks. et cetera.

    There have to be more legal phrases, charges, crimes here, and just slapping the perps on the wrist and saying 'bad dog' is a staggeringly inadequate/inappropriate response to this huge CRIME.

    If there are any lawyers who visit this site, I would love to get their opinion on this.

    We are in the realm of high crimes and misdemeanors, even up to treason.

    I find it really odd and creepy that I, basically a little old lady who is not an expert in any of these fields, is practically the only one (to my knowledge) (aside from brave Dr. Chris Busby) who is raising this smokin' hot issue.

    Certainly I cannot be the only one who has had these thoughts.

    • Whoopie Whoopie

      Old lady here too. I'm freaking. Really, a lawyer would sure help in this situation. At least give us a rundown on what the Japanese can do. CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS? I just dont know what the answer is.

      • Whoopie Whoopie

        I'm gonna write Paul Langley about that. Maybe he has some ideas? It's just getting beyond what I EVER imagined would happen. Then again, Paul writes all the time how nothing has been done to help the people of Australia. Worth a shot I guess. 🙁

    • Misitu

      There was an interesting programme on british tv t'other night about the recent history of Japan, entered the industrial age at high speed with the help of a lone scots immigrant, businessman and arms trader, anyone without knowledge of the rapid industrialisation of pre 20 century Japan with access to BBC please check this out, it explains to me much of Japanese social psychology, I will try to get details back here in a few hours. But definitely, rushed into the industrial age and have not looked back, even in the direction of health and safety protocols practised by older, wiser, and more traumatised societies.

      Regards all

    • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

      @ Bleep

      Here is another legal phrase.

      TEPCO cannot be trusted to "act in good faith".


      "Execution" is another great legal term although I think it is not practiced in Japan–unless self inflicted.

    • dharmasyd dharmasyd

      @bleep_h_b..You are definitely not alone, and Chris Busby is not the only one besides you who understands this. I think you may be a bit too modest, while I am a bit too self assured. I am not in a position where I am able to do anything about what I observe—the system tends to make sure those who know are silenced. I think the English system is a little less repressive that our homegrown American one. I think this is why Busby can say more than, for example, Gundersen (and certainly Kaku, who also knows but will not say).

      That's why I'm recommending Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize. If you don't know of this, google it and sign on…

      At any rate, I just want to say, don't feel lonely and don't despair because it looks like noone else understands what you are saying. I send blessings & love!

  • StPaulScout StPaulScout

    Lawsuits? If 2 explodes and takes 1, 3, 4 and what is left of SFP4 with it, there won't be TIME for any lawsuits. No one will be left in Japan except people too poor to get out. Radiation will envelope the northern hemisphere in a matter of days, and within months or a few years envelope the southern hemisphere. Ocean currents will carry this shit EVERYWHERE. Think of it like a huge asteroid, the size of the moon, is gonna smash into earth sometime soon. What are you gonna do? Besides nothing that is. Nope, I'm going fishing with my son, take in a hockey game or two, live it up a bit, might as well, I got nothing to loose…..

  • bleep_hits_blades

    Thanks, Whoopie for posting 'Fuk. falling apart.' Really smart woman, excellent presentation!

    In answer to the question, what can one do to prepare – well she answers some of that and also: one can try to prepare mentally/emotionally.

    I am not thinking in terms of class action law suit. Problem is corrupt courts, corrupt everything. I am thinking more in terms of getting people who are awake and aware, especially some of our 'leading lights,' to be thinking and talking about this.

    If Fuk. really does blow badly, perhaps it will be 'beside the point' at least while we try to cope. But if justice means anything, I think the responsible parties should have to pay, experience the consequences, just like one of us would have to if we knowingly endangered others or recklessly ran down a pedestrian, etc.

    Thanks Whoopie and all of you here who are kind of like my 'family' in a way. My own family – 'in denial.' In a way I can't blame them. Most of them have busy lives, personal challenges,are struggling to keep things going in terms of their jobs, commitments, etc.

    Gotta go now, will be back here when I get done with all this stuff I gotta do.

    • Whoopie Whoopie

      Blades, it just shows you how little I know about what to do. So thank you for your opinion and ideas. It's surely something to ponder as we go forward…as long as we can. TY

      • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

        Yes, we all need to figure out what to do which maybe admin could create a separate thread for such a topic.

        I have a question.

        If Reactor #2 blows up will the whole site truly become a run away train that cannot be stopped? Look at all that has happened and people have gone back in to try to keep a lid on it. God bless those workers. When I saw them on the reactor #4 building over the last few weeks my heart really went out to them and their families.

        Reactor#3 previously blew up and they are still there, trying.

        Pardon my ignorance but I seem to have many gaps in my knowledge as I try to think this through. Is the general concensus on this that if Reactor #2 blows up their will be so much radiation at such a high level over the whole site for such a long period of time that workers will not be able to return to the site? Is that a "yes, that will be exactly what happpens", "a worse case scenario" a "a 50/50 chance" or something else.

        Like most people I could handle this situation if it only meant the worst for me but it is the people I love that I am trying to figure this out for, especially any of them younger than 25. I have a slew of nieces, nephews, children of friends as well as my own child that I am truly afraid for. I'm still young but life has been good to me and if I died tomorrow I would have no regrets other than leaving my child behind with the world in such a precarious state.

        Does anyone think the governments have some sort of "hail mary" plan for this. Some people mentioned blowing up the site so the corium is scattered and cannot get enough mass to create a critical event. Sounds insane but I was just telling my spouse the more you know about the nuclear industry you understand how insane the whole thing is.

  • PattieB PattieB

    The only possible way #2 can explode at this point… is a hydrogen build-up… it'll have a good bit of methane in the mix to help. They DID break the sensor for that gauge! It was the type that heat-sends-voltage to the gauge. The used a powered multimeter supposidly to check continuity… therefor, THEY FRIED IT! ON PURPOSE!

    The problem here is that all that extra water is being distributed to the other buildings via underground corridors. That makes all three coriums get doused with water in the ground… and this increases the heated radioactive water smoke, steam outpouring into atmospheric seen & un-seen gasses, and additional boric acid influx going into the ocean.

    IF they keep this up much longer… holding to this 'cold shutdown' ruse?… the site will become too 'HOT' for even the remote-controled equipment to operate! You can't run that stuff without a camera on it working, to SEE what you are doing. When that happens… the proverbial will hit the fan re: #4's pool. That and what's sitting in reactors 5 & 6 are the biggest danger right now.

    As for on-going issues… #4's reactor core has just had I beleive its 8th fire… it has no lid, the lid won't fit back on it… they tried already! It has many leaks, and so each 'fire' is an active criticality effectively out in the open! THAT is what's jacking the rad counts way up! Plus… every time we see the 'ORB' glowing?… it's PLUTONIUM that's BURNING in that pool of #4… due to not enough boric acid!

    PRIORITY! DEAL with #4, and quit the fucking-around with #2 And get the people the hell out of the CURRENT fallout DEATH zone… IE JAPAN!

    • jec jec

      @pattieB Think I agree on the Reactor 2 –by just watching its events..which can be seen pretty clearly when the re-criticality occurs..smoke/emissions/gases..and of course the TBS/JNN webcam goes dark..well it goes dark for fires at Reactor 4 as well. Most workers are seen around reactor 4. Just being logical..the only reason they are back and forth, cement trucks, Reactor 4 –its because its the most dangerous with all fuel loaded there. Am only a computer I usually look at patterns if involved in a situation. The patterns are there; dont think explosions will occur at Reactor 2 -just a god awful leak of highly contaminated gases into the air/jet stream, and the oceans. Of course ALL the reactors are dumping into the air and oceans.

  • PattieB PattieB

    One of the main things I'm begining to see… confusing 'Criticality' with something blowing up! Criticality is NOT an explosive thing, unless it's happening with Urainum 235, or Plutonium 239! Those to will chain-up in a fast enough way to give you a 'blast' and U-235 can't even do so without help! Reactor rods are mostly U-238, a different element. Criticality ONLY causes geat levels of heat and radioactive out-pourings!

    SO!… it's the P-239 rods in #4's pool… and possibly what's sitting in reactors #5 & #6 that can possibly constitute a 'BOMB' waiting to go off!

    The others… much like reactor #1 did… could separate the water into hydrogen and oxygen… then with a spark, blow-out. The coriums in the ground… add methane to this mixture.

    #3's pool… had 10+ years old Plutonium-239 rods in it, and is why it's destruction was mini-nuke-like. But, its rods had much Plutonium-240 in with it… that element makes a blast fizzle-out mostly.

    Consider the factors folks… #2 is not even high on the dangers board at this point in time. Slow the water influx back down… mind the #1 & #2 pools… and get back to the real problems.

  • CaptD CaptD


    RE: The Corium(s), I think one or more of the corium(s) are plunging (in slow motion) downward into the soil below the complex and are being helped along by Gravity (because of their great Mass), Earth Quakes and they are already interacting with the groundwater as it rises and falls due to rainfall and or snow fall in the higher elevations above Fukushima!
    TEPCO's claim is just that; and the Pro Professionals are just mouthing the Nuclear Industry "line"…

    Nature knows better and the Corium(s) whose location is still unknown are starting and stoping fissioning in what I call "the Fuky Effect."…

    I think nearby water is being heated and is now starting to form radioactive steam which is seeping upward.

    Evacuation is ongoing as we blog, little by little folks are deciding to move from Northern Japan and I believe that those numbers will start growing as the population of Northern Japan becomes aware of the increased levels of radiation they are “enjoying” thanks to BOTH TEPCO AND THE JAPANESE GOV’T approved burning and dumping of radioactive waste!

    Something else to worry about and not often talked about:
    TEPCO and the Nuclear Mafia
    "TEPCO's involvemen­t with anti-socia­l forces and their inability to filter them out of the work-place is a national security issue. It is one reason that increasing­ly in the Diet we are talking de facto nationaliz­ation of the company. Nuclear energy shouldn't be in the hands of the yakuza. They're gamblers and an intelligen­t person doesn't want them to have atomic dice to play with."

  • PattieB PattieB

    WRONG!… the location of the coriums is well known.. a sounding and recording was done already! They know that #1's is IN the water table already, #3's is down 250 meters and sitting in sandstone and acting like a nature-cased reactor… due to it's core criticality event being force-pointed down into the earth! #2's left the building, months back… but due to having better cooling… water flowing over it, and out the busted torus… it's exit was slower. Yes.. some debris was left behind in the hole.. they did a drilled-core sample of it… that vid was posted. They count on confusion of the facts between what reactor has done what?… at this point! Months back had vid of #2's corium as left building… now, claim cold shut-down to avoid evacuations, and get the idiot out of office!

    It's all tied to polotics, and $$$ and screw the public!

    • sandman

      Who exactly is "they"?

      • ueda_jiro ueda_jiro

        Sandman, if you read the two posts above yours then the answer to your question should become self evident.

        If you wish I can become your personal hand holder on this forum, as it seems to me you have trouble interpreting posts.

        • aigeezer aigeezer

          I imagine "they" is a moving target. It probably starts mainly with Tepco tech people, but I imagine all developments are shared quickly with many governments in many countries and the nuke industry as a whole – everyone but the media and general public.

        • sandman

          Well, ain't you a sweetie! Knock yourself out, darlin, if it will make you happy. I must confess that my eyes do tend to glaze over when people start frothing at the mouth and typing in all caps, so it's entirely possible I missed some relevant information in the rantings. Unlikely, but possible.

          • sandman

            I'm sorry, that was rude. I apologize to anyone I may have offended. And Ueda_jiro, I know you are doing the best you can.

  • ueda_jiro ueda_jiro

    Mi take on it is those that control the flow of information, in the belief that its in the good of civilisation and the way of life as we know it.

  • PattieB PattieB

    What Tepco owners, the Yakuza, and the Japan gov. types are doing… is saving their Oh-So-Comfortable lifestyles! It has NOTHING to do with what's good for civilization as we know it! WE, the common people… are EXPENDABLE!

    1: The folks doing most of the work there?… non-nuke skilled folks who owed a 'DEBIT' to the Yakuza!
    2: The other segment of workers are a sub-culture of Japan, and don't live in houses, read or write, and so their deaths go un-reported!
    3: The high-tech types are fed-up with all the BS political make-work! They, even after offered MILLIONS of YEN!?… are QUITTING! They of course, are then FIRED! That's so they can make the press disregard anything they might say once they are off the site.
    4: There are more than 600 people who have worked there… that are now DEAD and in concrete coffins… never to be returned to family, or even be reported as having BEEN THERE!
    5: The constant out-pouring into the atmosphere, and ocean… radiation from the ground, as well as the busted plant buildings… is enough to exterminate everyone on this entire PLANET! And it's getting WORSE by the week!
    This shows what the 'Main Events' have kicked out… but doesn't count the day-to-day since then.

    Having read that? Here's the facts on Plutonium.

    You decide if what they are about is in YOUR best interest!

    • stopnp stopnp

      Dont forget the U.S. We sold them the damn things after all : ) Our media blackout is pretty great too. Except when Anne Coulter made me aware of how good radiation is for me. Hurl…

  • ageezerofgiza

    If it's so dangerous in the evacuation zone at #Fukushima, why aren't all those stray dogs dead from radiation poisoning?

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    To come back ontopic: it would be great if those scientists could give any advice HOW to better protect these piles of rubble aka Fuku against major earthquakes.

    • dharmasyd dharmasyd

      @maaa..In another thread you asked me if I would eat poison. I responded to you, asked where you got the idea I would eat poison. I saw nothing in my thread which would lead to such a conclusion. I asked you to tell me what I had said that would lead you to think this. You did not answer. I wish you would. It was in the "Governor, Who do you think should be held criminally responsible…" article of today, 2/14. Please answer. I'd appreciate it.

    • dharmasyd dharmasyd

      Very good question B & B.