Update 3: Radiation has now officially been detected in Dallas and Chicago. The New York Post via Bloomberg has reported that several passengers arriving from Tokyo have set off security detectors due to radiation.
Update 2: IAEA is reporting that reactors 1, 2, 3 and 4 have suffered severe damage. News is circulating that 20 emergency workers are contaminated.
Update 1: Message from a NAF Atsugi Military Base located near Tokyo- "President Obama has authorized a military evacuation order for all US citizens wanting to leave the country." The video says it all including condition of reactors.
We're now a full 7 days into this catastrophe of "colossal" proportions, and so far despite their best efforts to contain the problems, the situation continues to spiral out of control exponentially. Unquestionably the most telling news of all is from a CNN iReporter, who is on the ground tracking the situation from roughly 45 miles due west of Fukushima with a Geiger Counter; the results are very worrisome. We can only hope he left the area immediately.
Unfortunately, with very dangerous levels of radiation which can kill in 16 seconds now being reported at the Fukushima plant, even particle dilution caused by shifting wind currents can't simply make radiation any less dangerous. Thus, the last ditch effort to use a water canon has failed due to the high levels of radiation.
With those two reports in mind, one must wonder why a Japanese official would even dare to say, "Based on scientific evidence there is absolutely no reason to leave Tokyo." We suppose he graduated from the same "Money over People" school as CNBC's Kudlow.
As previously mentioned in another post, the public continues to receive waves of conflicting information, so the prudent advice to err on the side of caution, has once again proven to be the best course of action. Even the US is having a difficult time deciphering various conflicting reports. Therefore, the US urging its citizens to leave Japan entirely seems the most prudent action to take. Forget the mandatory 50 mile evacuation; they are advising to simply leave Japan due to other mounting problems unrelated to the nuclear emergency, such as infrastructure breakdown and lack of drinking water. Lest you forget - running out of toilet paper can also be a serious problem in a densely populated city such as Tokyo. Many ATM's in the city are out of cash and leading to further panic.
One thing is becoming clearer, however. More experts, from Sweden to Germany, are agreeing that radiation could reach the West Coasts of Canada, the US and Mexico. The New York Times has a useful interactive weather map tracking and forecasting the radioactive plumes. Also previously posted but worth noting is the radiation map for the US. Fortunately, the experts report that the levels should pose no danger to your health, yet. Then again, since radioactive particles are cumulative, is there any amount that is really safe?
Not to be overlooked are the financial repercussions of this fallout. First, as if Japan's economy won't suffer enough from this disaster, last night's FX markets saw the Yen go stratospheric, making all time highs and seeing it's largest trading partner go down in flames. The USDJPY hit the unprecedented 76 level. If Japan was counting on exports to the US to be the White Knight in shining armor, they can now count that out. "Calling all Martians! Bring money to earth!"
The timing of this earth changing event could not have come at a better time for the Federal Reserve, as the attention has been shifted away from the disaster occurring right here in this country. Total US debt has hit $14.237 Trillion, just a few billion away from the ceiling. But
But if there is anything positive to come out of this economically, it is in the sales of Potassium Iodide, which is now officially sold out in the US. Further, the US is rumored to have taken control of all Ki. Time will tell if your $16 investment a few days ago could turn into a new car. Now that deserves a fist pump.
More updates soon.