As Japan suffered the worst earthquake in the country's recorded history, tsunami waves fanned out across the Pacific Ocean at the speed of a jetliner
The type of accident occurring now in Japan derives from a loss of off-site AC power and then a subsequent failure of emergency power on-site. Engineers there are racing to restore AC power to prevent a core meltdown
After the Japan earthquake, seismic stations, deep-ocean buoys and tidal gauges delivered a wealth of data for accurate tsunami forecasts in Hawaii, California and the rest of the Pacific Rim, but public preparedness can be even more important
One of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi reactors contains a blend of uranium and plutonium fuel that may soon find use in the U.S. Does it pose more risks than standard uranium fuel?
Confused by the fast-changing pace of events? Here are the key points to know
For starters, retrofits could make U.S. reactors safer--and maybe even make nuclear power more palatable
Leaks, burst cooling pipes, faulty controls, misplaced fuel rods and engineers' warnings about design flaws have done little to slow down approvals for continued operation of the nation's aging nuclear plants
A series of major earthquakes have struck beneath the Pacific Ocean in less than a year and a half. Could the U.S. west coast be next?
Scientific American's David Biello judges Fukushima to have reached Chernobyl proportions. Steve Mirsky reports
Day-to-Day Satellite Photos Reveal the Unfolding Crisis at the Nuclear Power Plant in Japan [Slide Show]
Aerial views of the damage at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant from March 12 to March 17 show signs of the chaotic sequence of events ranging from explosions to fires
As Japan attempts to cool overheating nuclear fuel with seawater, experts worry that the damaged spent-fuel pools pose the greatest threat
Radioactive fallout seems like the obvious culprit behind the negative medical consequences that arose after the explosion at Chernobyl, but it's hard to measure even the dosage those contaminated received, let alone link it to medical problems
Any future discussion of nuclear power will have to take a hard look at regulation and safety, in particular the practice of storing spent nuclear fuel rods on-site
Exposed fuel pools and low-pressure readings at the Fukushima Daiichi plant suggest growing hazard levels there, raising serious concerns about the course of the crisis
Elevated radiation levels have been detected at and around the stricken nuclear power station in Japan, but the Chernobyl accident remains far more catastrophic
Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant normally relied on purified water to whisk away heat from its reactors, until the destruction wrought by the March 11 tsunami called for extreme measures
The speed of the Pacific Plate, the distance Japan's main island was displaced, and other facts and figures about the March 11 earthquake help to put this event into perspective
Drugmakers are claiming to be running out of the thyroid cancer preventative, but depending on age and other circumstances, its usefulness is limited
As worries grow over radiation leaks at Fukushima, is it possible to gauge the immediate and lasting health effects of radiation exposure? Here's the science behind radiation sickness and other threats facing Japan
Nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi station in Japan are critically endangered but have not reached full meltdown status. Our nuclear primer explains what that means and how the situation compares with past nuclear accidents
Even as increased levels of radiation are likely to be picked up in the U.S., experts suggest little health risk to those outside the immediate area near the damaged Fukushima nuclear facility
Threats of explosions and dangerously high radiation doses are just some of the risks facing workers trying to avert complete meltdowns at multiple reactors in Japan
Hydrogen and steam explosions pose ongoing risks at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, where three such events have already occurred in the past five days
Maps and on-the-ground views reveal the aftermath and its extent
The design, which features reinforcements at the base of a large stilted building to help prevent damage from powerful tsunamis, aims to provide a new city hall and vertical-escape shelter for 1,500 people
CHERNOBYL, Ukraine—The face mask and three radiation monitors I'm wearing here are grim reminders that I'm at the site of the worst nuclear accident in history.
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine, Scientific American frequent contributor Charles Q. Choi traveled to the site and snapped these haunting images
Around 3 P.M. local time on Friday, there was a massive earthquake about 100 miles off the east coast of northern Honshu Island, Japan. Initially calculated to be a magnitude 8.9, it has since been upgraded to at least a magnitude 9.0, which means that this earthquake released around 8,000 times more energy than the magnitude 6.3 shock that rocked Christchurch last month.
Amid conflicting evacuation recommendations, radiation experts say that exposures to date have been relatively low outside the power plant and that people in the U.S. will not face any danger
It’s only a matter of time—in fact, they’ve already started cropping up—before reality-challenged individuals begin pontificating about what God could have possibly been so hot-and-bothered about to trigger last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
To safely enclose and robotically dismantle the 25-year-old makeshift confinement sarcophagus at Chernobyl, contractors are now erecting a massive steel structure weighing more than 29,000 metric tons
The full impact of the nuclear emergency in Japan will depend on how bad it gets
As we watch in the images rolling in from Japan we are yet again reminded of the sudden destructive potential of mother Earth. The number of fatalities is currently in the hundreds; the number displaced from their homes is in the tens of thousands. The tsunami generated by this magnitude 8.9 earthquake sent a wall of water sweeping across Japan, and across the Pacific. It was more than 30 feet high in places and reached six miles inland carrying cars, homes and everything else with it. Although the earthquake was 230 miles northeast of Tokyo, this was the worst shaking that people have felt in a city used to earthquakes. Explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have leaked radioactive material into the surrounding area, and we will undoubtedly hear of other catastrophic impacts over the next few days.
Will seismologists ever be able to reliably predict the exact location, time and magnitude of earthquakes like the one that just devastated Japan and sent tsunamis racing across the Pacific Ocean?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released this video showing the spread of the tsunami generated by a magnitude 8.9 quake off Sendai, Japan, on March 11.
Japan's devastating earthquake caused cooling problems at one of the nation's nuclear reactors, and authorities scrambled to prevent a meltdown
The extent of the damage at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear facility is still unknown, but comparisons to Chernobyl were inevitable as soon as fuel rods became exposed and an explosion rocked the site.
It is frightening to watch what’s going on with Japan’s nuclear plant at Fukushima. It is also worrying to watch the fear racing around the world as a result of those events, fear that in some cases is far in excess of what’s going on, or even the worst case scenarios of what might happen.
Our partners at Nature have a correspondent in Japan. On their blog The Great Beyond they post regular dispatches, which we reproduce below and will update as new articles come in.
At a press briefing, physicist Ken Bergeron explained the type of accident occurring at Fukushima. Steve Mirsky reports
What causes tremors? What makes them stop? Can they be predicted? Are our buildings as safe as they can be?
Earthquake detection systems can sound the alarm in the moments before a big tremor strikes—time enough to save lives
On Friday, March 11, Japan was rocked by an earthquake. People were displaced, a nuclear reactor was in trouble, and the world watched as a tsunami flooded Japan, threatened the islands of the Pacific, and ultimately hit the western coasts of North and South America.
This post is a slightly edited version of my December 29, 2004, post written in reaction to media reports about a "sixth sense" in animals, that supposedly allows them to avoid a tsunami by climbing to higher ground.
For the second time in under a year, a large-scale energy disaster is unfolding before our eyes. Two different industries. Two different crises. Can we apply any lessons from the Gulf oil spill, and what can we expect for the nuclear industry moving forward?
The radiation crisis in Japan worsens for two reasons: one that we’ve heard about, one that we haven’t but which may in the end do far more harm.
A top U.S. nuclear regulator has now given a dire assessment of Japan's nuclear crisis, saying that radiation from uncovered spent fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi plant could force emergency workers to abandon their fight to prevent meltdowns there
Conditions are changing rapidly at the Fukushima power plant, where at least two of its six nuclear reactors have partially melted down. The editors of Scientific American are following the developments, and part of the effort involves following various Twitter users.
Few experts thought the seismic zone off Sendai, Japan, was capable of such violence.