News / Asia

IAEA: High Radiation Levels Detected Outside Japan Evacuation Zones

An aerial view of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, March 29, 2011
An aerial view of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, March 29, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
William Ide

The United Nations' top nuclear official says the situation at Japan's troubled nuclear power plant continues to be very serious as Japanese authorities struggle to bring the situation under control. The U.N.'s nuclear energy body - the International Atomic Energy Agency - says radiation levels in a village outside Japan's nuclear evacuation zone are twice the levels believed safe for habitation.


International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano says Japanese authorities are facing a number of difficulties as they try to bring the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant under control.

"My understanding is that the situation continues to be very serious and the effort to overcome this crisis is increasing. At the same time, they encounter difficulties, like the existence of water or high levels of radiation," he said.

Japan nuclear evacuation zone

For three weeks, Japan has struggled to bring the situation at the radiation-leaking plant under control. Setbacks mounted on Wednesday as sea water nearby the plant tested at its highest levels yet. Japan's nuclear safety agency says radioactive iodine was detected at more than 3,000 times allowable levels in the ocean about 300 meters from the plant.

VOA's Steve Norman spoke with Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, about the radiation leakage at Fukushima and whether the news media coverage helps to inform or does it unnecessarily frighten people.  She says only people such as plant workers directly exposed to radiation leakage will likely have any significant contamination.


The potential effects of radiation on humans

The IAEA also revealed Wednesday that radiation levels in Iitate, a village located about 40-kilometers northwest of the plant and outside the evacuation zone, were above those believed to be safe for habitation. The nuclear monitoring agency has told the Japanese government about its findings and said authorities in Japan are looking into the assessment.

The environmental activist group Greenpeace has urged Japanese authorities to expand the evacuation zone from 20 to 30 kilometers, as their independent radiation readings also showed higher than safe levels. Top government spokesman Yukio Edano said the government was prepared to study the organization's data.

Japan's government has imposed a 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the plant, and recommended that residents up to 30 kilometers away remain indoors.

IAEA Director General Amano, however adds that it was not all bad news. "There has been also some progress. I really hope the efforts by the emergency workers would lead to the stabilisation of the reactors and this accident and crisis situation," he said.

Leaking radiation from the Fukushima  plant - the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986 - has not only raised concerns about whether areas around the site were safe for habitation but the safety of milk, produce and tap water as far away as Tokyo - which is more then 200 kilometers south of the plant.

Late Wednesday, a small but noisy group of protesters gathered in Tokyo outside the headquarters of the Tokyo Electric Power Company to voice their opposition to nuclear energy.

Thirty-four-year-old Chika Ito was among the protesters. "I had never really thought about it before but, because of the crisis, it has got me thinking of how frightening nuclear energy is," he said.

On Wednesday Japanese authorities announced a new set of safety measures for the country's 55 nuclear power plants. A panel of nuclear specialists has been organized to find ways to shut down the plant and prevent the further spread of radiation.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid