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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid