10 pm Tuesday, March 15
Bags are packed, lamb chops consumed, taxi is reserved for 3:30 am pick up for 6:40 am flight out of Haneda (closer to us than Narita, so this is good). Boys went to bed in their traveling clothes. Bottle of red nearly drained.
The global NY Times website's lede photo right now has a caption that reads "The worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl explosion in 1986 is unfolding in northern Japan at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Three reactors have been critically damaged and one caught fire."
And yet, I am feeling better about things.
According to an individual who heard it firsthand then summarized it in an email for a friend of a friend of a friend of my husband's (think email forwarding, not a game of telephone), according to Sir John Beddington, the UK government's Chief Scientific Advisor:
-The worst-case scenario is meltdown in which nuclear material falls to the floor of the reactors and then explodes. This could lead to radioactive material being thrown about 500m high up into the air for a short period.
-There are no conceivable weather patterns which could lead to hazardous levels of radiation being experienced as far away as Tokyo as a result of such a meltdown, even if all three reactors were to explode at once. The hazard to human health in this case would be within a radius of around 20-30km around the reactors themselves (central Tokyo is 250 km away).
Also, according to AFP (like AP, only French) The French embassy withdrew a news item on its website saying a low level radioactive wind could reach Tokyo in 10 hrs, saying the report was unconfirmed and winds had changed.