News / Asia

    Japanese Engineers Prepare Damaged Reactors for Electrical Power

    Teams of government and nuclear specialists at the emergency rescue headquarters analyze data from the leaked radiation from the Fukushima nuclear facilitiesin Fukushima, Japan, March 19, 2011
    Teams of government and nuclear specialists at the emergency rescue headquarters analyze data from the leaked radiation from the Fukushima nuclear facilitiesin Fukushima, Japan, March 19, 2011

    Japanese media reports say engineers at a stricken nuclear plant were preparing late Sunday to send electrical power into two nuclear reactors heavily damaged by a massive earthquake and a tsunami, as the toll of missing and dead from the twin disasters passed 20,000.

    Japanese television said Tokyo Electric Power Company workers were inspecting equipment in reactors number 1 and 2 at the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant, to make sure components were in working order.  The report said engineers wanted to route electricity to the crippled plant's central control room by late Sunday, in a race to cool dangerously overheated spent fuel rods.  TEPCO said it can begin collecting data on conditions in the reactors once power is restored.  

    The company also said pressure in reactors 3 and 4 showed some signs of stabilizing late Sunday.  Additionally, authorities said the number 5 and 6 units -- the least problematic of the six reactors -- were safely under control after newly-restored backup power sources activated water pumps that cooled storage pool temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius.

    Meanwhile, the government says Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan will tour an area 20 kilometers from the plant on Monday.  That announcement came hours after Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the entire facility north of Tokyo will eventually be shut down because it had sustained too much damage to repair.   

    Japanese police said the tally of confirmed dead and missing from the March 11 catastrophes climbed to just under 21,000 by Sunday evening.  Police said that estimate includes forecasts for nearly 15,000 fatalities in Miyagi prefecture, one of four northeastern jurisdictions that bore the brunt of the huge tsunami.

    In a bit of good news Sunday, rescue workers pulled an 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson from a flooded house in the hard-hit city of Ishinomaki.  The pair were evacuated by helicopter and are being treated in a hospital.

    In another development, the Japanese government says elevated radiation levels have been detected in milk and spinach in Fukushima prefecture and in a shipment of fava beans shipped to Taiwan.

    However, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the tested food does not pose an immediate health risk.  He said the government will decide Monday whether to ban sales and export of food products from the area.  

    Government health officials said Saturday that radioactive iodine was found in drinking water from Fukushima prefecture last week, at levels above government safety limits.  Kyodo news, citing Japan's Health Ministry, says the iodine levels then fell.  There was no explanation in the report as to why the information was not released sooner.  The International Atomic Energy Agency says radioactive iodine can pose a short-term health risk if ingested, particularly for children.

    The government also said trace amounts of radioactive substances have been detected in tap water in Tokyo and other areas, but at levels that are not dangerous to human health.

    The risk of radiation poisoning has already forced the evacuation of more than 200,000 people who lived within 20 kilometers of the reactors.  Many are in makeshift shelters, with inadequate food, water and other supplies, in frigid winter weather.

    Japan raised the severity rating of the disaster from 4 to 5 on the 7-point international nuclear event scale.  Level 5 signals an accident with wider consequences, including some release of radioactive material, with a high probability of significant public exposure.


    Steve Herman

    Steve Herman is VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora