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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid