News / Asia

Water, Beef and Bodies Contaminated Near Japanese Nuclear Plant

Members of the Japan Self-Defense Force carry the body of a victim found amid the rubble in Noribu, northern Japan, as pressure mounts to expand an evacuation zone around the crippled nuclear plant where radioactive iodine was detected in the groundwater
Members of the Japan Self-Defense Force carry the body of a victim found amid the rubble in Noribu, northern Japan, as pressure mounts to expand an evacuation zone around the crippled nuclear plant where radioactive iodine was detected in the groundwater

Radiation leaking from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has been detected in nearby water, beef and even dead bodies left behind by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant, said radioactive iodine was detected in the groundwater beneath one of the reactors at levels 10,000 times above normal. Japan's Kyodo news agency said this is the first time radiation has been found in groundwater.

Kyodo also reports health officials for the first time have detected radioactive material in beef from Fukushima prefecture that is above the legal limit. Vegetables and milk from farms in the area also have been contaminated, prompting several governments to ban imports from the region.  

Radioactive material has spread as far as the United States, where officials report finding very low amounts of radioactive material in milk from the west coast.

Elevated radiation levels also have been detected in sea water near the plant, and in areas as far as 40 kilometers away, prompting the government to consider expanding a 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the facility.

Authorities say they are unable to collect up to 1,000 dead bodies near the plant because of fears the corpses are too contaminated with radiation.  

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

The confirmed death toll from the natural 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.

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.

Expanding the evacuation zone to 30 kilometers would require moving another 136,000 people - adding to pressures on a government that already has almost 200,000 earthquake victims living in temporary shelters.

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 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 and Reuters.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces a Chaotic World and the Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid