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Tianjin [天津市], a modern city of 15 million [New York has only 8 million] and major port in northern China on Bohai Bay about 90 miles southeast of Beijing, exploded near midnight, on 12 August 2015. The city hosts nearly 300 of the Fortune 500 companies.
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The force of the blasts, according to the China Earthquake Administration, was the equivalent of two earthquakes, with multiple aftershocks. The first blast registered 2.3 on the Richter Scale; the second was seven times the force of the first at 2.9 on the Richter Scale. The blasts were so massive they were recorded by a Japanese weather space-satellite.
We have now received reports -- unconfirmed -- that the blast included a nuclear detonation, indicated by REM readings approaching 500. [Maximum human tolerance for radiation is 5 REMs per year.] The force of the blast seemed unreasonable had it been tied solely to a chemical explosion, even given the chemicals involved and the volume stored at the site. The heat of the blast also seemed extraordinary, given that it either evaporated or melted steel, leaving molten steel puddles around the hulks of cars on the delivery docks.
|Molten steel from Tianjin vehicles|
The melting point of steel is 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit -- which exceeds the constant heat of a chemical explosion.
On the other hand, even a small nuclear explosion [e.g., suitcase nuke] would create an enduring fireball of 6,000 degrees Kelvin, or 10,340 degrees Fahrenheit, more than enough to melt steel and create the puddles of molten steel we see in post-blast photos.
Notably, the blast site was cordoned off by the PLA and no news coverage was permitted after the uncontrolled access immediately after the blast.
Another massive explosion at a Chinese chemical plant in Runxing was reported on 22 August 2015, calculated at 3 tons of TNT recorded in Shandung Province, followed by a second explosion recorded at the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT. Poisonous chemicals reported in the explosive mix included adiponitrile.
[We'll update as new reports arrive]
forced shutdown of China's Tianhe-1, the worlds fastest supercomputer, which consumes 9,000 square feet, and manages China's space programs.
Also shut down was the Tianjin assembly plant for China's super-sized space rockets, which were to be launched at Wenchang, the new space center. The rockets would deliver all the components for the construction of China's first space station, due to be built in 2022.
The Peoples Republic of China [PRC], never recognized as a Bastion of Free Speech, has silenced social media users who have criticized coverage of this disaster. "Posts condemning 'disgraceful' local TV coverage have been removed from Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like micro-blogging platform as have posts suggesting that local authorities restricted international media reporting on the incident."
The owner of the 400,000+ square foot container storage warehouse and storage complex which exploded is Ruihai Logistics, established in 2011, handles one million tons of hazardous chemical cargoes annually, including inflammable, corrosive substances, oxidizing agents, and toxic chemicals. It has been cited for failing "packaging checks". Most are stored in shipping containers -- many of which have exploded or are continuing to burn. Some of the chemicals generate flammable gas when wet, an unanticipated consequence of firemen hosing down the fires - which instead of putting them out, exacerbated the explosions. At least one Ruihai executive [its Manager] has been detained by police.
Among the many chemicals stored, processed, and shipped by Ruihai Logistics, were sodium cyanide, toluene diisocyanate, sodium nitrate, potassium nitrate, and calcium carbide. Also on site were storage tanks of compressed and liquified natural gas.
We doubt the PRC will allow the full extent of this disaster to be disclosed - any more than the US government would allow details of a similar US disaster in the press.
For your reference
|Ruihai Storage Complex before the blast|
This photo, of course, does not include the huge warehouses and stacked shipping containers holding the toxic and explosive chemicals; but, you get the idea, right?
What we've dared not touch on is the possibility that our friends in Russia may have become uneasy with China's expansion in the Pacific, what with their building islands to serve as military staging areas.
Those instant islands have become a sore spot for Asian countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and of course, Australia, all of which still remember the discomfort of World War II.
building miles long floating platforms which could accommodate airstrips, docks, helipads, barracks, or even "comprehensive security bases", movable to make targeting more difficult.
Our Chinese friends, however, assure us that these platforms' principal purpose will be commercial; shopping malls, ski slopes, or, just tourist destinations. Pay no attention to those radar domes; they'll just be tracking the tourist ships bringing hordes of tourist shoppers coming in for buying sprees on ..... the empty decks of these platforms.
Nothing to see here; move along, keep moving.