News / Asia

Japan Still Struggling to Control Crippled Nuclear Plant

Police herd marchers along the curb as the streets are
not blocked off for the demonstration in Tokyo, Japan, April 16, 2011
Police herd marchers along the curb as the streets are not blocked off for the demonstration in Tokyo, Japan, April 16, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Small and peaceful anti-nuclear protests continue to be staged in Japan. The demonstrations are being held as troubles continue at and around the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant in the northeastern part of the country. It has been leaking radiation into the air and sea since it was severely damaged by a magnitude 9.0 quake and resulting tsunami more than a month ago.

The operator of the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima has begun dropping into the Pacific Ocean sandbags filled with an absorbent to try to reduce the danger from radiation. The bags are filled with zeolite, better known as the active material sprinkled in cat litter boxes to absorb odors. In this case, zeolite is meant to take up cesium that has been detected at high levels along the Fukushima coast.

On shore, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as TEPCO, is still struggling, more than a month after the Fukushima-1 plant was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami, to restore automatic cooling facilities for several reactors.

In Tokyo on Saturday, several hundred demonstrators peacefully marched past a TEPCO building. Some were dressed as vegetables, others were adorned with or carried produce.

The protesters chant "vegetables are more important than nuclear power. We don't need nuclear plants, we don't need radiation."

One of the participants, Naomi Saito from neighboring Saitama prefecture, lamented the small number of people who have taken to the streets in protest since March 11.  But Saito said she understands why that is the case in a resource-poor country heavily reliant on atomic energy where more than 50 nuclear plants have been built in the past 45 years.

"We're all in a very dangerous situation because of atomic [power]. But other Japanese think nuclear [power] is very important, so I feel very sad," said Saito.

Japan's government on Saturday ordered 13 nuclear plant operators to inspect and reinforce outside power links to avoid earthquake-triggered outages similar to one on March 11 in Fukushima.

The urgency of that directive was highlighted when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake jolted eastern Japan on Saturday.

Radiation leaking from the Fukushima plant has forced tens of thousands of people in the prefecture to flee their homes. It has also contaminated crops and fishing waters, and regenerated global concern about the safety of nuclear power plants.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid