News / Asia

Radiation Fears Leave 1,000 Bodies Unclaimed Near Japan Plant

Manami Kon, 4, waits for her parents and younger sister who are still missing after the March 11 massive earthquake and tsunami, in Miyako, northern Japan, March 22, 2011
Manami Kon, 4, waits for her parents and younger sister who are still missing after the March 11 massive earthquake and tsunami, in Miyako, northern Japan, March 22, 2011

Authorities in Japan say they are unable to collect up to 1,000 dead bodies lying within 20-kilometers of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant because of fears the corpses are too contaminated with radiation.

A Kyodo news report Thursday says the victims were killed in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters, and that their bodies were exposed to high levels of radiation after death.

Police sources warn that if the families of the victims cremate the bodies, as is the tradition in Japan, it could release more radioactive materials into the environment.

The confirmed death toll from the twin disasters is above 11,400, with more than 16,500 still missing.

Meantime, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for the world's nations to establish common nuclear safety standards to make sure there is never a repetition of the Japanese nuclear crisis.

Appearing alongside Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in Tokyo Thursday, Sarkozy said there is no viable alternative to nuclear power at this time, but that improved safety standards must be negotiated by the end of this year.

Kan said his priority at the moment is to stabilize the situation at the nuclear plant, which has been spewing various forms of radiation since its cooling systems were knocked out.

The leaders spoke as radiation levels continue to rise in the ocean near Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, raising fears of an undetected radiation leak into the sea.

Officials at Japan's nuclear safety agency said radiation in the latest sampling from the ocean near the Fukushima plant's discharge pipes was at 4,385 times the legal limit.

Japanese authorities are considering expanding the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant, after the International Atomic Energy Agency detected levels of radiation at twice the standard for evacuation in a village 40 kilometers away.

Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters the radiation level still was not considered threatening unless it persists over a period of time. In that case, he said, the government will have no choice but to consider a wider evacuation.

About 70,000 people have already been evacuated from the 20-kilometer radius around the plant. Expanding the zone to 30 kilometers would require moving another 136,000, adding to pressures on a government that already has almost 200,000 earthquake victims living in temporary shelters.

A nuclear agency spokesman said most of the residents of IItate have already left, but about 100 refuse to leave their homes.

Radioactive materials have also contaminated vegetables and milk from farms around the Fukushima plant, prompting several foreign governments, including the United States, to ban imports from the region.

U.S. officials say very low levels of radiation also have been detected in milk samples on the U.S. west coast.

Operators of the plant reported some progress in pumping highly contaminated water out of the basements and adjacent utility tunnels at three of the plant's six reactors. The water must be removed before workers can complete repairs to the pumps that run the plant's vital cooling systems.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid