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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid