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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid