News / Asia

Leaked Japanese Report Details 'Worst-Case' Nuclear Scenario

The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant's No.4 reactor building is seen after the removal of debris on the upper side of the unit in Fukushima prefecture, January 5, 2012.
The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant's No.4 reactor building is seen after the removal of debris on the upper side of the unit in Fukushima prefecture, January 5, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +

The Japanese government predicted a worst-case scenario at the height of its nuclear crisis last year warning that tens of millions of people, including Tokyo residents, might need to evacuate the region to avoid contamination.

But fearing widespread panic, authorities kept the analysis secret.

The 15-page warning was compiled by experts and presented to then-prime minister Naoto Kan two weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunamis that triggered nuclear-reactor meltdowns at a power plant northeast of Tokyo and forced 80,000 nearby residents to flee. The twin disasters left 20,000 people dead or missing.

After Mr. Kan received the report on March 25, he and other Japanese officials publicly insisted there was no need to prepare for wide-scale evacuations.

The Associated Press quotes Cabinet minister Goshi Hosono as saying the scenario was "based on hypothesis, and even in the event of such a development, we were told that residents would have enough time to evacuate."

The report, leaked recently to the Associated Press, detailed several ways the nuclear crisis could escalate, including reactor explosions, complete core meltdowns and structural failures preventing water pools from cooling spent nuclear fuel.

The authors are quoted as saying "we can not rule out further developments that may lead to an unpredictable situation" at the plant, if the meltdowns spiral out of control and radiation levels spike. In that case, the authors said evacuations should be ordered within a 170-kilometer radius, with voluntary evacuations provided for everyone living within 250 kilometers and beyond.

The largest proposed evacuation area would have included Tokyo and its suburbs, with a population of 35-million residents.

Japanese regulators and politicians have come under heated criticism for how they disseminated information in the hours and days after disaster struck. Officials initially denied that plant reactors had melted down, and have since been accused of minimizing the health risks of radiation exposure.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid