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, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid