News / Asia

Japan to Enforce Exclusion Zone Near Nuclear Plant

The badly damaged Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Number 1 Daiichi nuclear power plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture, March 31, 2011
The badly damaged Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Number 1 Daiichi nuclear power plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture, March 31, 2011

Japanese officials have decided to legally enforce an exclusion zone within 20 kilometers of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant starting at midnight Thursday.

Japan's Kyodo news agency reports that Prime Minister Naoto Kan will announce the new restrictions during a visit to the region on Thursday.

More than 60,000 people were evacuated from the zone shortly after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima plant.  But Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Wednesday that some residents and others have been venturing back in spite of a government advisory to stay away.

Engineers at the plant have been working since Tuesday to pump more than 10,000 tons of highly radioactive water out of the basement and utility tunnel at one of the six reactors.  Officials said water levels in the tunnel - which had been rising about two centimeters a day - were down about one centimeter as of Wednesday morning.

A French company, Areva, has contracted to build a facility at the plant capable of decontaminating 50 tons per hour of water so it can be recycled to keep the plant's nuclear fuel rods from overheating.  Officials hope to have the facility in operation by the beginning of June.

Officials with the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant's operators, released the first photographs from inside two of the badly damaged reactor buildings on Wednesday.  The pictures were taken by remote-controlled robots sent in to measure radiation levels to determine whether humans can safely go back inside.

The Kyodo news agency quoted a doctor who has examined some of the men struggling to stabilize the plant as saying the men are at risk of depression or death from overwork.  The doctor said the workers, some of whom lost their own family members in the tsunami, are pushing themselves out of a sense of moral responsibility.

Despite the problems, an official at the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday that radiation levels leaking from the plant are coming down steadily.  IAEA expert Denis Flory said unless something unexpected happens, he does not expect total radiation leaking into the environment to increase much beyond current levels.

National police said late Tuesday the confirmed death toll from the earthquake and tsunami has topped 14,000, with more than 13,600 others missing.  It said more than 90 percent of the victims recovered so far died from drowning, and that more than 65 percent of them were over age 60.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid