One of them last night (Iran time) was a significant 6.2, probably upwards of $50 Million in damage. There have at least 10 earthquakes clustered in this area, and a couple more nearby. Given the focus on the Iranian nuclear program, and the vulnerability of many of their sites to seismic damage, this is worth keeping an eye on.
A shallow 6.8 quake (Updated: 6.5) occurred just offshore from Japan, about 125km/78 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi NPS. A small tsunami, one meter or less, should have just hit the shoreline (about 4pm EDT, 5am Japan time). Damage should be light, however, the acceleration forces on the contaminated water storage tank “shantytown” was in the neighborhood of .05g, which might cause problems with the piping and connections, as well as sloshing around and causing damage that way. Probably nothing major unless something broke that shouldn’t have – which, given the history of the site, is not comforting.
WP082014 (Typhoon Neoguri) is headed towards southern islands of Japan. On the current tracks, should be a category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale when it makes landfall and will be powerful enough to cause some damage. Something to keep an eye on by Sunday/Monday for Okinawa, and potentially up the islands towards Kyushu by Tuesday/Wednesday. For those of you worried about Fukushima, it’s out of the main damage swath for now, but the decaying system could still dump a lot of rain.
While folks in the US are obsessed with Arthur, a storm is spinning up in the Pacific that may be “interesting” to watch over the next week. WP08 (remember how the codes work?) is spinning up south of Guam, and should mature into a Typhoon over the next few days:
See that big red dot by the GFS forecast track (blue line)? That is the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Or, rather, what’s left of it after the tsunami. My big concern with the site hasn’t been another earthquake (although that is certainly possible), it is the much more likely scenario of a Typhoon sweeping through and making the existing mess much worse. It is doubtful the hundreds of hastily constructed storage tanks containing contaminated water would hold up to a serious storm – and the rain would wash even more of the contamination already permeating the site into the sea (which is a mixed deal – at least it would dilute it some, if there is not a massive loss of tank integrity). How bad is the problem? Take a look at this image from March; that’s a bunch of tanks . . .
I suspect the other Fukushima shoe hasn’t dropped yet. There has been some pretty apocalyptical stuff floating around the intertubes about Fukushima. Most is overblown, pretty ridiculous nonsense. But this is a serious situation, and a massive spill would have regional implications.