News / Asia

Japan Trying to Contain Potential Nuclear Crisis Following Massive Earthquake

Fukushima Daiichi power plant's Unit 1
Fukushima Daiichi power plant's Unit 1
Martyn Williams

Japan moved quickly Saturday to contained a crisis at two nuclear power plants damaged when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the country's northeast coast.  Government officials declared a state of emergency and launched a massive, military-led rescue operation.

Japanese officials say the 8.9 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami knocked out power and caused cooling systems to fail at two plants in Fukushima, about 240 kilometers north of Tokyo.

Officials at first believed there was a possibility that nuclear fuel rods at one of the plants may have begun melting.  Later, officials said radioactive pressure was successfully relieved by opening valves and allowing the release of radioactive steam.

Raw Video: Evacuations Near Nuclear Plant in Fukushima, Japan

But Japanese television broadcast images showing what appeared to be extensive damage to the outer structure of the building that houses the reactor.  The paneling on the steel-framed building appeared to blow off in an explosion and smoke could be seen billowing from the structure.  Japanese news media reported at least four people injured.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano commented on the incident at a Tokyo news conference.

Edano said the government was investigating what happened at the plant.  He urged people to evacuate at least 10 kilometers away from the plant, a distance that was later doubled to 20 kilometers.

Radioactive material has been found outside one reactor, where officials say they are trying to determine if a meltdown has occurred.

 

The situation at the nuclear plants comes as the government launched a large-scale military-led rescue operation to help victims of Friday's massive quake and tsunami.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he is sending 50,000 troops to aid rescue and recovery efforts.  He said 190 military planes and 25 ships have also been sent to the devastated areas.

More than 50 countries have offered Japan help and some has already begun arriving. A team from South Korea touched down in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon. The U.S. military, which maintains several bases in Japan, is also taking part in the rescue effort.

Japan sits on the so-called "Ring of Fire," an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid