News / Asia

Japan Finds Radioactive Water Leaking into Ocean

Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is seen from a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel off Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, in this photo taken on March 31 and released by Japan Defense Ministry April 1, 2011
Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is seen from a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel off Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, in this photo taken on March 31 and released by Japan Defense Ministry April 1, 2011

Nuclear safety officials say a newly discovered crack in Japan's damaged nuclear plant could be the source of radioactive water that is leaking into the ocean.

Nuclear safety spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama told reporters Saturday that the water could be leaking into the Pacific Ocean from a 20-centimeter crack in a maintenance pit on the edge of the Fukushima nuclear site. He said there could be other similar cracks and "we must find them as quickly as possible."

Tokyo Electric Power Company is starting to pour concrete into the pit in an attempt to seal the crack.

Earlier in the day, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan set foot in the tsunami-devastated region for the first time, meeting workers in the nuclear exclusion zone and talking to residents made homeless by the March 11 disaster. Kan stopped in the fishing village of Rikuzentakata, where the town hall is one of the few buildings that was not leveled by the tsunami. He met with the town's mayor, whose wife was swept away in the disaster and is still missing.

At a school-turned-evacuation center, Kan told evacuees that the government "fully supports you until the end" of the recovery process. But some displaced residents criticized Kan for taking three weeks to personally visit the devastated region. He had flown over the decimated area shortly after the wave hit.

The Japanese leader also visited a village serving as the headquarters for emergency teams trying to cool reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Nairobi Friday that the situation at the plant "remains very serious."  Workers have been struggling to bring the damaged plant under control.  Ban said the U.N. is ready to work "very closely" with Japan in overcoming the nuclear crisis as well as in its reconstruction efforts.  He also called on the international community to reassess and strengthen nuclear safety guidelines and disaster response frameworks.

The U.N.'s atomic energy agency has warned that high concentrations of radioactive particles have spread outside the 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the nuclear plant.  The agency reported Friday that in one village, Litate, some 40 kilometers from the plant, radiation levels are decreasing after spiking at levels substantially above the level at which they normally recommend evacuations.

Japan's says it will be a "reasonably long" period of time before those evacuated from the nuclear-threat zone would be allowed back to their homes.  Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano confirmed reports that the groundwater around the plant is contaminated with radiation many times higher than normal, and that testing on cattle had turned up a low-level sample of radioactive-contaminated beef.

Thousands of Japanese and American military personnel joined together Friday in a final three-day sweep to search for those still missing from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.  More than 11,000 people are confirmed dead, with more than 16,500 still missing.  But the search teams will stay out of the evacuation zone around the damaged plant.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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