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, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid