Archive for Fukushima
Japanese agricultural officials have warned that more than 500 cattle slaughtered for Japanese supermarkets have been infected by radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster several months ago. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was severely damaged in the tsunami of March this year, which devastated the Japanese coastline after an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale struck off the nation’s coast. Beef has now joined a wide variety of foodstuffs that have tested positive for radioactive cesium including spinach, tea, milk and fish. Officials blame the cattle meat contamination on hay left outside during the nuclear fallout. This hay has been found as far away from the plant as 85 miles implying the fallout was wider than initially thought. Attention now turns to the Japanese government who have been unwilling to extend the ban on food exports from just a 12 miles radius of the plant. The reason behind this decision was to reduce the amount of people put out of work and also the amount of compensation claims levelled against Tokyo Electric Power, the operating company of Fukushima. With the amount of contamination reports on the rise though, the government have now banned meat shipments from the entire of the Fukushima prefecture, an area of 5700 square miles. Farmers from the area still claim they are being kept out of the loop and have had no information from the government on how to tackle the problem.
www.bbc.co.uk 21st April 2011
Due to the continued instability of the Fukushima nuclear plant, the Japanese government has brought into effect a 20km exclusion zone around the site. Although an evacuation zone has been in effect since the 9.0 earthquake hit the Japanese coast on the 11th March, it has now been made officially illegal to enter. There will, however, be a brief window for the 80,000 former residents to collect belongings. There are also believed to be as many as 60 families still living in the exclusion zone, although nobody seems to be sure where. If they do not leave, they could face the penalty of around £730 or 30 days detainment by the police. Most of the evacuees are currently living in temporary shelter in local sports halls and gymnasiums. With Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Fukushima plant operator, saying that they aim to bring the plant to a cool shutdown state within 9 months, these stranded citizens may have a long wait to return home.
www.guardian.co.uk 4th April 2011
In an unprecedented breach of safety and environmental standards, the operating company of the damaged Japanese nuclear plant at Fukushima has announced its intention to release 11,500 tonnes of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. The decision was made in order to make storage space for more highly radioactive water that has been used in the cooling of the nuclear reactor. The Japanese government has justified its permission for the action as a lesser of two evils, despite waters near the plant already measuring radiation levels 4,000 times the legal standard. By releasing the water, officials believe that workers can concentrate on repairing far more severe leaks. The total amount of radioactive water being dumped is 100 times the legal limit and the process may begin as early as tomorrow (Tuesday). The plant operator, Tokyo Electric, has a history of safety failures that were revealed following the 9.0 scale earthquake in March.