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So many people died because when the nine-magnitude Pacific Ocean earthquake struck 80 miles off the coast of Sendai, warnings were issued that a tsunami would hit land in an hour.
But survivors said it struck in nine minutes.
Nuclear experts have thrown doubt on the accuracy of official information issued about the Fukushima nuclear accident, saying that it followed a pattern of secrecy and cover-ups employed in other nuclear accidents. "It's impossible to get any radiation readings," said John Large, an independent nuclear engineer who has worked for the UK government
BBC wires on event
2129: Tepco said water levels inside the containment vessel were not immediately rising to the desired level, possibly because of a leak. Nevertheless, an official told a news conference: "We do not feel that a critical event is imminent."
"Units No. 1 and No. 3 seem to be trending to more stable conditions and increasing safety margins," said Dave Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and director of the Union of Concerned Scientist Nuclear Safety Program (UCS), a US nuclear safety watchdog group, in a conference call with reporters. No. 2, however, remains in an unstable, volatile situation, he said.
the Kyodo news agency reported that Mr Edano had told reporters that although engineers had been able to pump sea water into reactor 2 at Fukushima Daiichi, it remained unstable.
Japan lacks significant domestic sources of energy and must import substantial amounts of crude oil, natural gas, and other energy resources, including uranium for its nuclear power plants. In 1999, the country's dependence on imports for primary energy stood at more than 79%. Oil provided Japan with 52% of its total energy needs, coal 15%, nuclear power 15%, natural gas 13%, hydroelectric power 4%, and renewable sources 1.3%. About half of Japan's energy is used by industry and about one-fourth by transportation, with nearly all the rest used by the residential, agricultural, and service sectors. Japan's energy intensity (energy use per unit of GDP) is among the lowest in the developed world.
Japan generated 1,018 billion kilowatthours (Bkwh) of electricity on 226 gigawatts of capacity in 1999. Of Japan's total generation in 1999, about 59% came from thermal (oil, gas, and coal) plants, 30% from nuclear reactors, 8% from hydroelectric dams, and less than 3% from geothermal, solar, and wind. Due to the country's desire to enhance its energy security, Japan has developed a large nuclear power industry. Despite its relatively high cost, natural gas, mainly imported as LNG, also is likely to experience considerable growth as a fuel for electricity generation. Renewables, chiefly hydropower and geothermal energy, also are expected to grow, and both coal and nuclear are projected to grow in absolute terms (although nuclear power's share of the market is expected to drop). An accelerating decline is projected for oil-fired generation, which is still more significant in Japan than in most other developed countries. In the short-term, Japan's economic slowdown had resulted in a sharp downturn in capital spending by utilities, which has delayed several new power plant projects.