News / Asia

Situation at Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Plant Still Serious

A man walks along the beach in the devastated city of Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, March 25, 2011
A man walks along the beach in the devastated city of Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, March 25, 2011
Martyn Williams

Executives at Tokyo Electric Power delivered a stark assessment of the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant Wednesday, saying that while reactors one through four are stabilizing, they are still not yet under control.

Airborne radiation readings around the plant are continuing to fall, but workers face a tough job in taming reactors one through four. Tokyo Electric Power Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata says that, when that job is done, the future of the reactors is clear.

The four stricken reactors will never come back online, said Katsumata. He would not yet commit to the future of reactors five and six at the plant or the nearby Fukushima Daini plant, where smoke was briefly seen coming from one of the reactors.  And he acknowledged that the utility company might face strong public opposition to restarting any reactors in Fukushima.

As for the future of the company, Katsumata said it is serious. He is now heading Tokyo Electric Power's battle at the plants.

He replaces President Masataka Shimizu, who was hospitalized Tuesday, suffering from dizziness and high blood pressure. The president has not been seen in public since March 13, two days after the problems began.

At the plant, levels of radiation in the nearby sea are rising.

Measurements taken on Tuesday show levels of radioactive Iodine 131 at more than 3,300 times the legal limit in seawater a few hundred meters to the south of the plant. That is the highest it has been since the crisis began.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said a panel of nuclear specialists is advising the government on how to shut down the reactors and prevent more leakage of radiation.

The government is considering all options, said Edano, including the use of a radiation absorbing fabric that could cover the reactor buildings.

Edano said there are still problems with highly radioactive water in buildings and tunnels at the plant and that work to remove it is going slowly because of a lack of places to store it.  The government is considering using a tanker ship as a storage vessel for the water, Edano said.

He added that it is likely to be some time before residents evacuated from 20 kilometers around the plant are able to return to their homes.

Meanwhile, the government announced a new set of safety measures for the country's nuclear power stations.

They directly address some of the shortcomings in Fukushima and require vehicle-mounted power supplies and the deployment of fire trucks to douse reactors and spent-fuel pools, should cooling be lost.


You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid