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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
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 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.
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 US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid