Fukushima Timeline Part 1 1950s to May 2011 | Anydex

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Introduction

This is a timeline of the continuing Fukushima Nuclear Crisis. This part covers some history and a day-by-day account of the first 2 months of the crisis, pasting together all of the disparate sources. The editor believes that the crisis is not going to kill millions of people, but it is affecting most Japanese as even Tokyo is getting alarming if not yet definitely harmful levels of radioactive contamination, and hundreds of thousands have evacuated and lost their jobs and homes even if the official number of deaths attributed to radiation is zero, and the worst possible extrapolation including deceptive "acute lukemia" diagnoses and suicides is not worse than the small hundreds compared to the tens of thousands who drowned in the tsunami.

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Start Timeline

14:46 JST = 05:46 UTC, subtract 9 hours

Date: Year 1952

In 1952, General Electric staked its claim on the nuclear future with this promotional film to calm nuclearfears. It fortold that nuclear power would be useful for power stations (with a PWR diagram, they would eventually settle on BWR) locomotives, ships and even aircraft, and illustrated atomic transmutation as badly behaved citizens in a town of nuclear atoms. GE didn't start its reactor business until 1955.

A is For Atom: 1952 GE Promo Film


Date: Year 1955

The General Dynamics prop powered NB-36 tested flying around with a nuclear power plant which would power jets. See Nuclear Bombers In 1961, there were articles about a jet powered B-52 class NX-2. On landing, the reactor would be removed and put in to a pool, while the crew would go into a specially shielded vehicle to drive away from the bomber. B-52s worked just fine to get all around the planet with in-flight refueling with KC-135 tankers, and still do today.

Date: Year 1961

K-19 Submarine Nuclear accident

from Wikipedia

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This section does not cite any references or sources.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2009)

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Nikolai Vladimirovich Zateyev, commander of the submarine at the time of the nuclear accident

On 4 July 1961, under the command of Captain First Rank Nikolai Vladimirovich Zateyev, K-19 was conducting exercises in the North Atlantic close to Southern Greenland when it developed a major leak in its reactor coolant system, causing the water pressure in the aft reactor to drop to zero and causing failure of the coolant pumps. A separate accident had disabled the long-range radio system, so they could not contact Moscow. The reactor temperature rose uncontrollably, reaching 800 °C (1,470 °F) — almost the melting point of the fuel rods — and the chain reactions continued despite the control rods being inserted via a SCRAM mechanism. The reactor continued to heat up as coolant is still required during shutdown until the reactions decrease. Despite Zateyev's and others' earlier requests, no backup cooling system had been installed.

As a cooling back-up system had not been installed, Zateyev made a drastic decision; a team of seven engineering officers and crew worked for extended periods in high-radiation areas to implement a new coolant system by cutting off an air vent valve and welding a water-supplying pipe into it. Since the ship carried chemical suits, instead of radiation suits (not available at the time and developed after accidents like this), they were certain to be lethally contaminated,[citation needed] but the repair team was unaware of the degree of risk, believing the suits they wore would protect them from contamination. The released radioactive steam, containing fission products, was drawn into the ventilation system and spread to other sections of the ship. The cooling water pumped from the reactor section worked well.

The incident contaminated the crew, parts of the ship, and some of the ballistic missiles carried on board; the entire crew received substantial doses of radiation, and all seven men in the repair crew died of radiation exposure within a week, and twenty more within the next few years. The captain decided to head south to meet diesel submarines expected to be there, instead of continuing on the mission's planned route. Worries about a potential crew mutiny prompted Zateyev to have all small arms thrown overboard except for five pistols distributed to his most trusted officers. A diesel submarine, S-270, picked up K-19's low-power distress transmissions and joined up with it.

Date: December 1966

Construction starts (source: movie)

Date: Year 1985

1985 Film released
From: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTshYXmN1AY (1985 27min) In 1966, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) started construction of this nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. This movie explained the mechanism of nuclear electric power generation, and the procedure of construction of the power plant. Many Japanese people visited the movie theater to watch this movie at that time. This movie was digitized by the support of Saitama Culture Promotion Grant. This movie was kindly provided by Science Film Museum for free (http://www.kagakueizo.org/english/). I have personally obtained permission of the head of the museum, to upload this video . If someone can translate this film to any language, please feel free to do so. We truly appreciate your cooperation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZfhlu_Wy6c&feature=player_embedded#at=32
Part 1:

Paint scheme is gray lower, white upper reactor buildings with red/white towers

Part 2

translation of comments: 05:20 The state of radioactive waste disposal. 6:40 men's clothing into the? washing radiation controlled area. Check 7:50 into the region during the radiation controlled area. thermoluminescence dosimeter mounting. 09:40 check when leaving the controlled area. 10:45 radiation monitoring equipment 01:10 fuel pellet, a description of? the fuel assembly. 02:10 inserted in a nuclear reactor fuel assemblies. 02:45 Pull the control rod critical. 3:40 feeding steam to the turbine started generating power.

Date: Year 1976

3 GE nuclear engineers resigned over nuclear plant safety

http://www.reuters.com/article/video/idUSTRE72A0SS20110322?videoId=197802178 Reuters video: GE engineer reflects on Fukushima concerns (2:51) Mar 23 - More than 35 years ago a GE engineer resigned over concern about the safety of the nuclear reactor used in the Fukushima plant in Japan. Deborah Lutterbeck reports. Dale bridenbough quit. Unit 1 built by GE for tepco when he visited. Worried when all power was lost. Headline: GE Nuclear .... Too dangerous they say... feb 3, 1976

http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/03/16/idINIndia-55640020110316 ANALYSIS - Japan crisis a blow to GE, reactor design an issue GE engineer reflects on Fukushima concerns (2:51) Mar 23 - More than 35 years ago a GE engineer resigned over concern about the safety of the nuclear reactor used in the Fukushima plant in Japan. Deborah Lutterbeck reports GE wholly built one of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant that has been in a state of crisis since being hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami last week, and it built two others jointly with Toshiba Corp. Toshiba built two on its own and Hitachi Ltd built one The design of the GE-built reactor, and particularly the Mark I containment unit that is supposedly designed to ensure that radioactive material did not escape, has drawn criticism. One unusual characteristic of the Fukushima facility involves the spent fuel pools -- where fuel rods are held to cool down after they are moved from the reactor but before they are sent to long-term storage. At the Fukushima site, the fuel pools stand over the the reactors, which means there is a possibility they can spill radioactive material onto the reactors if there is a major accident, one expert said....."It's the only reactor built in that way that I know of. It was a poor decision and we are living with the results of that poor decision. It's a really odd design." Former GE engineer David Bridenbaugh, who resigned 35 years ago over concerns that the containment system was not strong enough, this week told reporters it had "not been designed to withstand the loads" of a large-scale accident. ...earthquake and tsunami went beyond the risks engineers had anticipated. The GE-Hitachi nuclear joint venture generates about $1 billion in annual revenue through maintenance on existing plants and fuel sales. GE has not built a new nuclear power plant in more than a decade --

Date: Year 2002

Date: September 2002

Tepco admitted covering up data about cracks in critical circulation pipes. In their analysis of the cover-up, The Citizen's Nuclear Information Centre writes: "The records that were covered up had to do with cracks in parts of the reactor known as recirculation pipes. These pipes are there to siphon off heat from the reactor. If these pipes were to fracture, it would result in a serious accident in which coolant leaks out.

Date: Year 2007

Date: July 2007

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant was shut down for 21 months afre the July 2007 6.6 earthquake which shook the plant beyond design basis (never mind the 9.0 earthquake that hit fukushima)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant is a large, modern (housing the world's first ABWR) nuclear power plant on a 4.2-square-kilometer (1,038 acres) site[1] including land in the towns of Kashiwazaki and Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture, Japan on the coast of the Sea of Japan, from where it gets cooling water. The plant is owned and operated by The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

It is the largest nuclear generating station in the world by net electrical power rating. It was approximately 15 miles from the epicenter of the second strongest earthquake to ever occur at a nuclear plant, the Mw 6.6 July 2007 Ch?etsu offshore earthquake. This shook the plant beyond design basis and initiated an extended shutdown for inspection, which indicated that greater earthquake-proofing was needed before operation could be resumed.

The plant was completely shut down for 21 months following the earthquake. On May 9, 2009, one unit (Unit 7) was restarted, after seismic upgrades. Units 6, 1, and 5 have since been restarted as well.

Date: Year 2007 August 2007

Journalist takes a tour of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, a bigger, newer BWR and films inside reactor operation floor

Inside a Japanese nuclear power station
VIDEO

Video walks through largest BWR by power output built in 1990s.
View of green "Toshiba" refueling platform and giant overhead crane similar to Fukushima. Window appears to be similar to that punched out at Unit 2. Note vent ducts which were destroyed in hydrogen explosions, and size on concrete beams which were blown out in Unit 3.
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Date: Year 2008

TEPCO ESTIMATED 9 AND 16 METER TSUNAMI IN 2008 BUT USED 2002 5.7 FIGURE

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T111002003221.htm
No explosion at No. 2 reactor / TEPCO: Only 3 hydrogen blasts occurred at Fukushima N-plant The Yomiuri Shimbun

In the spring of 2008, TEPCO estimated that a 15.7-meter tsunami could hit the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the future, which was about the size of the March 11 tsunami.

The utility came up with another estimate in December that year, modeled on the Jogan tsunami that hit northern Japan in 869. This estimate was 9.2 meters.

Date: Year 2009

http://bos.sagepub.com/content/67/5/9.full
Deconstructing the zero-risk mindset: The lessons and future responsibilities for a post-Fukushima nuclear Japan Tatsujiro Suzuki

In June 2009, when a working group met to discuss earthquake and tsunami risks, Yukinobu Okamura, a government researcher, said, “I cannot accept this report because it does not mention it [Jogan earthquake and tsunami] at all, [even though] it hit the Tohoku area in 869 with huge impact” (Joint Working Group on Earthquake/Tsunami, 2009, emphasis added). The researcher was complaining that the new report by the advisory committee—of which he was a member—did not thoroughly consider the Jogan tsunami. Further, Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a former member of an advisory committee for the Nuclear Safety Commission—which advises the prime minister, oversees NISA’s activities, and establishes basic safety guidelines—also expressed similar warnings in a paper published in Science in 1997: “For nuclear power plants, a disaster caused by an earthquake can be especially dangerous because it could cause multiple failures at the same time, unlike a normal accident” (Ishibashi, 1997: 723, emphasis added).

Date: Sept 8l, 2010

 

Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen discusses radiation releases from ...

Sep 8, 2010 - Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen discusses radiation releases from the TMI Accident. Italiano. URL: Three Mile Island Alert.
www.fairewinds.com/.../nuclear-engineer-arnie-gundersen-discusses-radiation-releases-tmi-accident -

Gunderson will later slam Japanese on minimizing disaster and speculate on prompt-critical chain reaction explosion on Russia Today.

Date: March 11, 2011 Friday Day 1

See Main article

Date: March 12, 2011 Saturday Day 2

Highlights Sources
http://houseoffoust.com/group/?p=3424 Niigata Prefecture Took Lead To Help During The Disaster While the central government was flailing during the first days of the disaster, Niigata prefecture jumped to action. A 10km long traffic jam had clogged the main road west out of Fukushima towards Niigata as residents fled the nuclear disaster. The prefecture government had become aware of the mass exodus the previous afternoon. Their 14 member team began setting up locations where evacuees could rest, consult with officials and be tested for radiation. TEPCO press release

divvy (547 posts) Thu Mar-17-11 05:45 3-12-11 #1 It very well could be the worst nuclear disaster ever... it would be impossible to prevent the fuel failure of a plant after a design basis earthquake and a tsunami loss of all offside power and all of the emergency generators, if that is what has happened. There is not likely enough batteries to last more than 4-8 hours... and little pumping capacity even then. This would be the first time that multiple reactors (3) would be lost at one site. Both TMI and Chernobyl only involved the loss of 1 unit at a site. The big unknown in my mind is what is the status of the spent fuel pools. I haven't heard whether these are PWRs or BWRs... That would say a lot about he spent fuel pool configuration. If the spent fuel pools are not cooled and an adequate water coverage maintained, the danger is off the map
The hydrogen explosion that has destroyed one containment building could very well be from "melting" fuel cladding,.. offsite power... No emergency generators... No containment... Expanding evacuation zone... I'm worried! .. they lack the ability to take the reactor(s) to shutdown. Low pressure injection has probably been lost. .. report that they were injecting sea water into the containment means that normal emergency systems have failed and the situation is pretty desperate. The other 2 plants? Fuel pools?

The fuel pools are probably OK, because they could keep them full with a fire truck tanker... As long as radiation levels onsite stay reasonably low. I don't think any plants, but the most recent designs, would do well after control rooms become uninhabitable. The collapsed reactor building probably eliminated most, if not all, remaining capabilities of that stricken reactor. If it was a sub, you would get out and sink it. Not good...

When I was a young, rookie engineer, a mentor told me about the hidden terror in the fuel pool. He said to me that if a crane operator latched onto a fuel bundle and hit the UP button (there are interlocks to prevent that), by the time the top of the bundle reached the surface, everyone on the refuel floor would be dead... nobody would make it off the floor. There are hundreds of bundles in the pool. I don't know if this story is true, but I never had any reason to doubt it. Hydrogen burning will accellerate the loss of water in the pool. The pool liner and structure can't handle fuel meltdowns. Once the 1/4" or so stainless steel liner is breached, the pool will never hold water again. Hydrogen explosions could be devastating in spreading radioactove material, a hazard worse than just radiation "shine." It may look a lot like explosions to the lay person. I would rather see a core meltdown than an empty fuel pool. I think we are looking at something similar to Chernobyl. Hopefully, less devastating in loss of life... but something that may be even harder to control. I am not sure how long we have to turn this around... maybe a couple days... maybe not. I'm not smart enough to caculate the answer, but there are people that are. Chang, the amount of radioactive materials in these pools is many multiples of what was in Chernobyl. As the water level lowers, you are going to have steam "explosions", hydrogen burning and explosions... there are calculations to calculate Keff for each bundle to insure that no bundle can go critical, even in localized areas... how good do you think those calculations are now, Chang. I don't know how bad it will be, but I am not so certain that it won't be aweful. Will the whole pool meltdown? No, but it doesn't have to to still be very bad. Once the pool is filled and cooled, the water needs to be cleaned up. It is probable very acidic right now... very corrosive.
The worst case I see is the fuel overheating and melting its way into the earth. It would contaminate groundwater and air. Once they decide this is inevitable, they should be using drilling equipment equipped with liquid nitrogen to freeze the ground around the meltdown sites (the way they do to construct tunnels in soft soil), combined with lots of concrete, to entomb the site as Chernobyl was. Atmospheric contamination is bad, but will disperse quickly.
What you don't have here is a nuclear explosion like Chernobyl, which spread fission products over thousands of square miles, contaminating crops and livestock. If the cores burn their way down to the center of the earth, so be it. I think our focus then is on ring fencing the underground contamination, using drilling and concrete.

Date: March 13 Sunday

Day 3: Unit 3 cooling fails, melts down, hydrogen is building up, Unit 4 pool heading towards boiling, "no meltdown"

No time:
Times:

http://allthingsnuclear.org/post/3842650618/sunday-update-on-fukushima-reactorsTokyo Electric reported that after multiple cooling system failures, the water level in the Unit 3 reactor vessel dropped 3 meters (nearly 10 feet), uncovering approximately 90 percent of the fuel in the reactor core. Authorities were able to inject cooling water with a fire pump after reducing the containment pressure by a controlled venting of radioactive gas. As they did with Unit 1, they began pumping sea water into Unit 3, which is highly corrosive and may preclude any future use of the reactor even if a crisis is averted.However, Tokyo Electric has reported that the water level in the Unit 3 reactor still remains more than 2 meters (6 feet) below the top of the fuel, exposing about half the fuel to air, and they believe that water may be leaking from the reactor vessel. When the fuel is exposed to air it eventually overheats and suffers damage.

  • A report written at 2:07 p.m. also stated there was a strong possibility that hydrogen had accumulated in the No. 3 reactor building. The documents indicate hydrogen was being produced because the fuel rods were exposed to air after the earthquake and tsunami destroyed the cooling system. However, TEPCO did not report these findings to NISA or local governments. http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201106250160.html

    Date: March 14 Monday

    Day 4
    • Unit 3 blows sky high
    • Unit 2 cooling fails 1:25PM
    • Unit 2 blows as third explosion
    • Unit 4 fire

    • tepco asks to abandon plant
    • Navy crews exposed to radiation in air
  • Time:3/14-02:39PM Event: Unit 4 fire NHK reports that the fire at the No. 4 reactor will carry the radiation up to 18 miles away. Anyone within 18 miles of the plant should brush themselves down thoroughly - hair, clothes, skin - before going inside. Once inside, wash thoroughly. Shut the windows and turn off air conditioning.
  • Time 3/14-3:00PM = 15:00: A major part of the fuel in reactor 3 drops to the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel.[17] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Fukushima_I_nuclear_accidents#13_March
  • time: 04:44PM Panic has been sweeping Tokyo after a rise in radioactive levels around the Fukushima nuclear plant to the north of the city, causing some residents to leave the capital and others to stock up on food and supplies. Several embassies advised staff and citizens to leave affected areas, tourists cut short holidays and multinational companies either urged staff to leave or said they were considering plans to move outside the city http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8382436/Japan-earthquake-and-tsunami-as-it-happened-March-14.html
  • Event: Media is pulling out of fukushima area because of nuclear fears http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8382436/Japan-earthquake-and-tsunami-as-it-happened-March-14.html Glenn Beck on How a Nuclear Power Plant Works With M and Ms "if everything works the way it should, this can sit there forever [pressure cooker] and burn forever and it won't be problem ... could anything go wrong? [worst thing is 200,000 if all of the people stayed there and none of the containments work]

    ·         Japan Nuclear Watch: New Explosion at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 6:49PM shows a dark plume rising hundreds of feet in the air, a bad sign if there is significant radiation involved

    ·         after multiple cooling system failures, the water level in the Unit 3 reactor vessel dropped 3 meters (nearly 10 feet), uncovering approximately 90 percent of the fuel in the reactor core. Authorities were able to inject cooling water with a fire pump after reducing the containment pressure by a controlled venting of radioactive gas. As they did with Unit 1, they began pumping sea water into Unit 3 … the water level in the Unit 3 reactor still remains more than 2 meters (6 feet) below the top of the fuel, exposing about half the fuel to air, and they believe that water may be leaking from the reactor vessel. Tokyo Electric is reporting there are three persons injured and seven person missing. [Update: they've reportedly been found] BBC says there may be 11 persons missing. At this point, we don’t have any indication of the damage done to Unit 3 reactor, but utility/govt officials are claiming the reactor vessel was not damaged. As for the building housing the reactor, before/after images captured by Jim White indicate this latest explosion blew the roof and walls off the reactor building. See below.

    ·         The plant operators have been struggling with the loss of the cooling system and a resulting rise in pressure in the reactor. They have been injecting sea water, using fire pumps, to sustain at least some cooling and may have attempted another controlled release to relieve the rising pressure. new explosion appears to have caused substantially more external damage to the outer building than the first explosion. The NYT also reports the same thing.

    ·         new explosion appears to have caused substantially more external damage to the outer building than the first explosion. The NYT also reports the same thing.

    Date: March 15, 2011 Tuesday

    Day 5: Kan says no TEPCO pullout / Reactor 2 melts down, explodes damaging supression level / Reactor 4 fuel rod fire and explosion


    from: http://fukushima-diary.com/2011/10/bn-heli-rad-survey/
    The map on the bottom is made by Mr.Hayakawa,from Gumna uni,who is a specialist of volcanic ash.

    Map shows tan plume 4:00-12:00 cruising by Tokyo
    Map shows red plume creating dark red northwest patch 18:00-25:00 after midnight
    http://bos.sagepub.com/content/67/5/27.full
    It appears that the wind was blowing in a northwesterly direction when the largest on-shore releases occurred. These releases apparently occurred on March 15.7

    March 15, four days after the accident, an additional 354,000 people living between 20 and 30 kilometers of the plant were advised to stay indoors to reduce exposure to radiation (Japanese government,

    Timeline:

    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3164723.htm Well it was the starkest language that we've heard yet from the government. What emerged that we didn't know was that there had also been an explosion and a fire in reactor 4 at Fukushima. Number 4 had an explosion as well and then a fire which is what was revealed in that press conference. Yes, number 4 was not in operation at the time of the earthquake. There were no active fuel rods in there but there is spent fuel. Now the fire apparently started through a similar hydrogen explosion that we saw in number 1 and 3 and that the chief cabinet secretary said that they have assumed that some radioactive substances are being released as a result of that explosion and fire at number 4. "Explosion at No 4 Fukushima reactor" http://sherriequestioningall.blogspot.com/2011/03/pictures-of-reactor-4-and-3-upclose.html Pictures of Reactors 4 and 3 upclose after explosions - I captured off Live Japan News Shows shattered Reactor 4 building. SPENT FUEL STORAGE POND ON FIRE AT REACTOR 4
    Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log Updates of 7 April 2011 Tue Mar-15-11 05:27 AM Response to Reply #8 13. Fire confirmed Japan Earthquake Update (15 March 2011, 06:15 CET) Japanese authorities informed the IAEA that there has been an explosion at the Unit 2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The explosion occurred at around 06:20 on 15 March local Japan time. Japanese authorities also today informed the IAEA at 04:50 CET that the spent fuel storage pond at the Unit 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is on fire and radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere. Dose rates of up to 400 millisievert per hour have been reported at the site. The Japanese authorities are saying that there is a possibility that the fire was caused by a hydrogen explosion.

    divvy (547 posts) Tue Mar-15-11 07:13 PM explosions are not good Reports of explosions are not good... No kidding. The zircolloy reaction of clad melting gives off a lot of hydrogen, which can accumulate in the top of the reactor vessel. Such a bubble of explosive gasses is very dangerous. Large scale fuel failure is probably happening at multiple plants. My guess is that the explosions are from hydrogen vented from the vessel. That is a sign of fuel clad "melting." Core melting doesn't necessarily mean that the worst case scenario will result... It didn't at TMI. As long as they can prevent reactor vessel failure, the impact on the general public can be minimized. I know the GE Mark I plant had design provisions for pumping seawater into the reactor... I don't know if the other plant designs did. I haven't heard what resources are being brought in to help plant personnel. They need help... Not just advice! What is being done to restore power to these stricken plants? ... And when will they have it? No plant, even one originally in cold shutdown, can operate indefinitely without AC power. I guess I am frustrated to hear of casualties... People can't go into primary containment under these circumstances. Venting should be to primary containment, which could then be vented through a standby gas treatment system in the RX building, if there is AC power to run it. That could be where the hydrogen explosion occurred. The system has a heater that wouldn't be good with an explosive mix of hydrogen. PWRs actually have glow plugs or some type of heaters to burn hydrogen inside their much larger containments. BWRs don't have these systems. The Mark I containment could not accommodate open flames... too small.

    ·  Last Defense at Troubled Reactors: 50 Japanese Workers By KEITH BRADSHER and HIROKO TABUCHI Published: March 15, 2011

    Date: March 16 Wednesday

    Highlights:
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