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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers 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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid