Friday, March 25, 2011

Members-Only Japan Teleconference

Today, Friday, March 25, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific time, The Commonwealth Club is holding a teleconference with a number of experts to discuss the situation in Japan and its implications for the world and for us here in California. Members of the Club received call-in information in a special e-mail yesterday.

Members can post questions for our teleconference panelists by putting it in the Comments section (click on "Comments" at the top of this blog post, right under the headline above).

Here's the background on the program:

The Tragedy in Japan: Lessons for The U.S. and The World

As Japan continues to grapple with the immediate impact of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, this situation raises long-term issues that affect the U.S. and other countries. What will be the impact of this disaster on the Japanese economy and society, and on the global economy? What are the current and future health effects of the released radiation? How can U.S. nuclear plants, especially in California, be made safe from major earthquakes and tsunamis? What will be the impact of the Japanese experience on plans for development of nuclear power and other forms of energy?


Glen Fukushima, Former President, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Participating from Tokyo.

Dr. Burton Richter, Director Emeritus, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; physicist and expert on nuclear energy. Paricipating from Palo Alto, California.

Dr. Brian Tucker, former Supervising Geologist, California Geological Survey; Founder and President, GeoHazards International, nonprofit organization promoting earthquake and tsunami preparedness globally. Participating from Palo Alto, California.

Michael Zielenziger, Former Tokyo Bureau Chief, Knight Ridder Newspapers; Visiting Scholar, University of California, Berkeley; Author, Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation. Participating from Hong Kong.

Moderator: Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club of California

During the program, you can submit written questions and comments for the speakers one of two ways:

• Here on The Commonwealth Club's blog, post a question in the comments section (click on "Comments" right under the Headline at the top of this blog post);
• If you have a Twitter account, tweet your question, and include #cwclub in the tweet.

We will be selecting questions from the Twitter feed and from the blog comments section for our panelists to answer during the program.


Commonwealth said...

Please post your questions here for our panelists on this special conference call briefing.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about the spent fuel rods which seem as much a problem as fallout from the reactors themselves in Japan. What lessons can we take from the storage problems in Japan and how well do we handle the spent fuel issue here in the U.S.?

Anonymous said...

3 questions:

What does it mean that the reactor core at one unit in the power plant may have been breached? What is the worst case scenario for this?

I read today that global auto output may drop by 30% because parts made in Japan, cannot be shipped. When do you think the effects of this will be felt most in Detroit and do you foresee auto prices rising significantly due to auto part shortages?

How high can radiation levels get to in the water in Tokyo before there’s a significant problem? I read that radiation levels are more than twice the level considered safe for babies. Basically, what length of time at these levels or higher, will people stop drinking the water in Tokyo?

Gloria Duffy said...

Just to say that the moderator, Gloria, is here, and appreciates your questions!

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to imagine the people of America being a civil as the people of Japan seem to have been toward one another throughout this crisis.
Do you see such sociological/behavioral differences between Japan and the U.S. boding worse for Americans in the wake of a similar crisis?

Anonymous said...

How many people in Japan are still without electricity and running water?

Anonymous said...

I read today that at least one Japanese car manufacturer is thinking of transferring more production to the U.S. What does this type of thinking represent in terms of long term economic impact of this on both our countries?

Anonymous said...

Is there any overall lessons about the best
(and perhaps least thought of) immediate survival actions one can take right after an earthquake that have come out of this? Also, any lessons for neighborhood associations?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Tucker's commented on the relatively low death toll from the earthquake and tsunami. Would he also comment on the design strength of the Nuclear plants. The earthquake was much higher than the design basis, but the reactors shut down from the earthquake and emergency cooling started as planned. The tsunami destroyed the fuel supply to the emergency diesel generators and which stopped the cooling water supply.

Anonymous said...

Japan has seemed to have a new Prime Minister every 10 minutes in recent years and prior to this, the current one was not long for the world, as I understand it. Has this helped Japan's government gain respect or is the jury still out on that?

Anonymous said...

My business wants to collect money to donate to help the Japanese. What are some of the most effective organizations that should receive such donations?

Anonymous said...

It is hard to hear Mr. Fukushima.

Anonymous said...

Any comments about what we've learned about the roles of NGOs during this crisis? Any comments about donations to the Red Cross being very down compared to Haiti and Katrina? Do Americans perecieve Japan as rich and not needing as much help as it does?

Anonymous said...

I was told that there were three things wrong with the reactors, 1) the older boiling water design with thinner containment walls, 2) the generators were located in the basement of the building and more susceptible to flooding, and 3) the spent rod storage should have been further away from reactors containment. Are these true? Your comments?

Gloria Duffy said...

Thank you all for your great questions, and for participating!


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