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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More