New Tsunami Pictures: Head-on View of Approaching Wave

The Calm before the Tsunami
The Calm before the Tsunami

Photograph by Sadatsugu Tomisawa, AP


In the first of a series of newly released pictures showing a Japanese shoreline before and during the recent tsunami, a beach in Fukushima Prefecture appears calm.


The tsunami, captured here by a researcher working on the coast, struck northeastern Japan after a magnitude 9 earthquake, nearly wiping away entire towns.


A tsunami isn't a tidal wave but a series of waves—or wave train—in which the first isn't necessarily the most dangerous. Seen from on shore, a tsunami may be more like a rapidly rising tide than a series of giant breaking waves.


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Power restored at Fukushima plant


Engineers racing to cool a stricken nuclear plant in Japan have partially restored power to one of the control rooms, as radioactivity in the sea fuelled anxiety over food safety.


An external electricity supply has now been linked up to all six reactors at the Fukushima power station, 11 days after a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the ageing facility.


In another small step towards regaining control of the plant, the lights came back on in the control centre of the number three reactor, making it easier for workers toiling to get the vital cooling systems working again. The number three reactor is a particular concern because it contains a potentially volatile mixture of uranium and plutonium.


The progress on the electrical lines at the plant was a welcome and significant advance after days of setbacks. With the power lines connected, officials hope to start up the overheated plant's crucial cooling system that was knocked out during the March 11th tsunami and earthquake that devastated Japan's northeast coast.


However, the operator, Tokyo Electric Power, warned that workers still need to check all equipment for damage first before switching the cooling system on to all the reactor units - a process that could take days or even weeks.