News / Asia

Farm Products Contaminated Near Japanese Nuclear Plant

Evacuees from Futaba, a town near the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture, arrive their new evacuation shelter at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, near Tokyo, Japan, March 19, 2011
Evacuees from Futaba, a town near the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture, arrive their new evacuation shelter at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, near Tokyo, Japan, March 19, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Latest Details
Japanese officials say some progress is being made in their mission to stop radiation leaks, but warn the crisis is still far from resolved.

The officials say fire trucks have been able to focus a near constant stream of water on overheated reactors and nuclear fuel, helping to stabilize the situation.  However, they acknowledge the gains could be temporary

Japan has confirmed radiation contamination of some agricultural products near a nuclear power plant crippled by last week's earthquake and tsunami that is still spewing radiation.

In what is likely to deal a heavy blow to agriculture in the Tohoku region, hard hit by the huge quake and tsunami, the Japanese government is confirming the first reports of radioactive contamination to farm products near a nuclear power plant.

Yukio Edano, the chief Cabinet secretary, says high levels of radiation have been detected in milk in Fukushima prefecture and spinach from Ibaraki prefecture have been found to be contaminated. He tells reporters there is no immediate health risk and the government is considering regulating shipments of farm products from the affected area.

At the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant efforts continue to try to cool overheating reactor cores and water in tanks containing spent fuel rods.



Tokyo Electric Power Company officials say they hope to switch back on pumps Sunday that would automatically begin cooling the radioactive materials. Japan's nuclear safety agency says electrical lines have now been restored to two of the reactors.

In the meantime, firemen using high-powered hoses on fire trucks, have been shuttling in and out of the plant to spray water directly on reactor elements. They are attempting to prevent a further deterioration of the situation, which could lead to a renewed nuclear chain reaction.

That would disperse significantly higher levels of radiation into the atmosphere.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government tells VOA News that for the second day in a row the highest radiation level it registered outside the plant was in the village of Iitate, 40 kilometers northwest of the nuclear facility. The reading there, very slightly elevated from Friday, was 21.80 micro-sieverts per hour at 6 p.m. Saturday. Assuming these levels are staying consistent throughout the day, that means residents there are receiving about the equivalent of a plain film chest X-ray every hour.

Japan's government has imposed a 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the crippled plant. Those living between 20 and 30 kilometers away are supposed to remain indoors and keep their windows shut.

More than 200,000 people living near the 40-year-old nuclear powered generating facility have left their homes, with most of them moving into makeshift shelters farther away from the plant.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday 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.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs