The ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan is causing political effects around the world, particularly in Europe, with several countries putting on hold plans to build new reactors or let existing ones run longer.
For Japan, perched on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," a major earthquake is no great surprise. The country's building codes and earthquake alert systems are among the most sophisticated in the world and have no doubt saved thousands of lives.
Scientists were shaken out of bed this morning to respond to the devastating earthquake that struck Japan. Their next priority was to analyze as many monitoring systems as possible to form a picture of how the quake occurred and its potential effects on the rest of the planet.