News / Asia

Radiation Spread From Japanese Nuclear Power Plant Continues

Japan's Self-Defense Force's members and others in protective gear help to transfer workers who stepped into contaminated water on Thursday during their operation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, March 25, 2011
Japan's Self-Defense Force's members and others in protective gear help to transfer workers who stepped into contaminated water on Thursday during their operation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, March 25, 2011

Authorities in Japan are continuing efforts to control the crisis at a damaged nuclear power plant. The Fukushima-1 complex was damaged after a massive earthquake two weeks ago and is still emitting radiation in the atmosphere

On the outside, steam continued to rise Friday from several reactor buildings at the Fukushima-1 nuclear facility in northeastern Japan. Inside, work continued to try to bring automated cooling systems back on line that would help prevent an even potentially worse spread of radiation from the severely damaged complex.

Japan's government has recommended that people living between 20 and 30 kilometers from the facility leave their homes, but no mandatory evacuation is being issued for that zone. Those within 20 kilometers were previously ordered out of the area due to radiation fears.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, the deputy director of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, says it is possible that radioactive matter will continue to travel far away and testing about the extent of the emissions needs to be made.

The continuing emission of radioactive vapor has prompted warnings about drinking tap water as far away as 300 kilometers south of the plant. It has also raised safety concerns internationally about Japanese vegetables, milk and seafood.

Two of three workers laying cables in the turbine building of Reactor-3 slipped into radioactive water and were transferred by ambulance to a specialized hospital Friday. They are to be treated at the National Institute of Radiological Science after suffering radiation burns on their feet the previous day.

Japan's trade minister, Banri Kaieda, blames a "safety lapse" for exposing the men to 100,000 times the normal level of radiation found in water used for reactor cooling.

Kaieda blames a lack of management supervision by Tokyo Electric Power Company for the exposure. He says the utility needs to improve its radiation oversight at the crippled nuclear power facility.

Japan's defense ministry says pure water and pumps supplied by the United States military will be brought to Fukushima-1 to cool the reactors. It would replace the sea water being used that is causing corrosion because of an accumulation of tons of salt.

Scientists say chloride in the salt could also break open the zirconium alloy layer of protection around the fuel rods which prevents volatile radioactive elements from escaping.

Tokyo Electric Power confirms that zirconium-95 in sea water several hundred meters from the Fukushima plant has been detected since Wednesday when testing began there for additional radioactive elements.

A spokesman for the Japanese prime minister's office tells VOA there is no clear evidence that the cladding has been breached.

Since the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami, high radiation levels, fires and explosions at some of the six reactors have slowed efforts to make critical repairs to stabilize the situation.

Japanese government agencies say they are considering raising the assessment of the nuclear crisis to a level six or "serious accident" on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. Currently, the Fukushima accident is rated a level five, which is considered to "have wider consequences."

The official death toll from the March 11 quake and tsunami continues to rise. The national police agency says more than 10,000 fatalities have been confirmed while more about 17,000 people are missing.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid