News / Asia

Partial Meltdown Suspected at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

Shyudou Kaneyama is tested for possible nuclear radiation at an evacuation center in Fukushima, north of Japan. Kaneyama was evacuated from his home in Namie, located about 16 km from the crippled nuclear plant. March 28, 2011
Shyudou Kaneyama is tested for possible nuclear radiation at an evacuation center in Fukushima, north of Japan. Kaneyama was evacuated from his home in Namie, located about 16 km from the crippled nuclear plant. March 28, 2011
Martyn Williams

Japanese officials suspect a partial meltdown of fuel rods is to blame for high levels of radioactive contamination in water inside the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

On Monday, work began on removing the water and the plant operator said contamination was again detected in nearby seawater.

For several days, Tokyo Electric Power has known a pool of water inside a turbine building adjoining reactor-2 is highly radioactive. The water is 100,000 times more toxic than water typically found in a reactor core, but how it got that way has been a mystery.

On Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the government thinks it has the answer.

Mr. Edano says the government believes the water came into contact with partially melted fuel rods and then leaked out of the plant's water system to collect in the basement of a building.

Preparations to remove the water, which exists in varying degrees of radioactivity in three buildings, are underway.

Those preparations became more urgent on Monday when workers discovered the highly radioactive water in a tunnel outside the complex buildings.

Its presence in the tunnel raises the chance that some could seep into the sea, which is only meters away.

While it remains, it limits the amount of time workers can spend inside the building before getting exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.

The plant operator is also hoping to avoid the water leaking into the sea, where it could cause further pollution.

Levels of radioactive Iodine-131 in seawater to the south of the plant are more than 1,000 times normal, in the past few days.

On Monday, Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, provided an update.

Nishiyama says the latest data shows Iodine-131 at 1,150 times the legal limit has been detected one-and-a-half kilometers to the north of the plant.

He says there is no public health risk, at this time.

In the 20 kilometer evacuation zone around the power station, atmospheric radiation levels continued their slow decline on Monday.

Some residents have ventured back into the zone to visit their houses and pick up belongings. The government is appealing to people to keep away, and warns the area remains a risk to human health.

Meanwhile, the area continues to be shaken by aftershocks. A magnitude 6.5 quake jolted hard-hit Miyagi prefecture early Monday morning.



You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid