The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Aftermath

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The Eastern Japan quake was caused by a 9.0 magnitude undersea earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan at 2.46 p.m on the 11th March 2011 (Friday). The epicenter was 72 kilometers east of the Peninsula of Tohoku at a depth of 32km. The earthquake triggered large destructive Tsunami waves of more than 10 meters that struck Japan quickly and travelled up to 10 km inland. Small Tsunami waves reached other countries as well like Hawaii after few hours. This tragedy has left more than 11,000 people dead with more than 15,000 people missing. The Earthquake and Tsunami have caused extensive structural damage in Japan. More than 100,000 buildings are reported damaged or destroyed, including damage to roads, railways, fires in many areas with a dam collapse. More than 4 million household in Northeastern Japan are left without electricity and 1.5 million without water, with electrical generators taken down. It does not end here. The Earthquake and Tsunami caused a nuclear explosion at the nuclear plants of Fukushima. There are a total of 6 nuclear reactors with 3 of the reactors suffered explosions, due to hydrogen gas that had build up within their outer containment buildings after cooling system failure. Nuclear reactors are used to generate electric energy. Nuclear Power is produced by controlled (non-explosive) reactors. They convert the thermal energy released from nuclear fission. When uranium and plutonium are enriched, it undergoes nuclear fission. It releases kinetic energy and gamma radiation. This whole process is called a nuclear chain reaction. The reactor core generates heat as the kinetic energy is converted to thermal energy. Gamma rays are produced during fission and absorbed by the reactor, where thermal energy is converted to heat. Heat produced by the radioactive decay of fission production remains in the reactor, sometime even if it shut down.

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