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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs