News / Asia

Second Japanese Nuclear Reactor At Risk of Exploding

Policemen wear gas masks and patrol near the nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture on March 12, 2011 a day after a massive 8.9 magnitude quake and tsunami hit the region.
Policemen wear gas masks and patrol near the nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture on March 12, 2011 a day after a massive 8.9 magnitude quake and tsunami hit the region.

Government officials say as many as 160 people may have been exposed to radiation in Fukushima Prefecture

Japan is struggling to keep nuclear power reactors under control. This comes as massive search and rescue efforts are underway in the northeastern part of the country following Japan's worst ever natural disaster.

Watch video of the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant

The official death toll is now over 1,000 with thousands more people unaccounted for and 300,000 Japanese evacuated from severely damaged communities following Friday earthquake and large tsunami.

Government officials early Sunday said as many as 160 people may have been exposed to radiation here in Fukushima Prefecture. That occurred following an explosion at the crippled number one plant of the Fukusihma nuclear power complex.

It apparently happened as the result of steps taken to try to  prevent the reactor melting after the facility lost power as a result of the quake and tsunami. Plant operators initiated a desperate measure to cool the number one reactor using seawater and boric acid. Government officials say the containment vessel around the reactor's core is intact.

On Sunday, Japan's nuclear safety agency reported an emergency at a second reactor here. And there are domestic media reports that up to six reactors in all here in Fukushima Prefecture have lost their cooling function. Worries of meltdowns of reactors is now overshadowing the search and rescue efforts following the mega-quake and resulting tsunami that has devestated hundreds of kilometers of Japan's pacific northeastern coast.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan Saturday evening addressed Japan expressing hope that as he put it this disaster can somehow be survived. Besides helping the thousands of people injured and made homeless by the quake and tsunami, he said his top priority is the emergency with the damaged nuclear power plants here in Fukushima Pretecture.

Social Media: Disaster in Japan


The Crisis Commons volunteer community has mobilized, and part of the effort is being coordinated by Japanese students at U.S. universities.


The Red Cross has opened a page on causes.com to raise money for the victims of Friday's disaster in Japan.

For more on how you can help, visit http://bit.ly/gD8At1 and Time Out Tokyo.


Google has launched a service for people seeking to reconnect with those in the disaster area.


The State Department tweeted:
RT @TravelGov: U.S. citizens in #Japan can stay informed about current conditions in the region through #STEP: goo.gl/SdXk #tsunami

But the government is facing mounting criticism for delayed and partial information, generating skepticism about whether they are being totally forthcoming about the total extent of the crisis. A 20-kilometer evacuation zone has been established at the number one reactor and a 10 kilometer zone around a second one.

About 170,000 people have been moved out of the danger area. For most survivors however the immediate concern is not about potential radiation exposure. They are just trying to get by with life. More than one million households are expected to have been without water since the quake hit. Food supplies are dwindling, with many countryside communities cut off. They are surrounded by water or roads have been damaged.

The death toll remains unclear. Troops are finding hundreds of bodies along the beaches where tsunamis swept out to sea entire communities in neighboring Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.  Other rescuers in helicopters are lifting people one by one who were stranded atop damaged buildings.

About 50,000 Japanese troops are to get assistance from foreign teams which are converging on northeastern Japan.  More than 50 countries have offered help.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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