Japan Says Nuclear Crisis Not Worsening as Radiation Levels Rise
March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s government said the nuclear crisis at a quake-damaged power plant isn’t getting worse as radiation levels rise in sea water used to cool over-heating fuel rods.Radiation Surges at Japan Nuclear Plant, Halting Work at Reactor
"There’s no doubt we have been able to prevent the situation at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant from getting worse," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said in Tokyo today. "The situation doesn’t permit us to loosen our grip."
Radioactive nuclides including cesium-136 and yttrium-91 were found in water at the turbine building of No. 1 reactor, the nuclear agency said in a statement on its website. Two workers suffered radiation burns to their legs on March 24 after stepping in water at the No. 3 unit, which indicated a possible leakage from the reactor core.
Iodine levels measured in sea water close to the plant on March 25 were 1,251 times the legal limit, Nishiyama said. Those levels are not harmful to health.
The company is using pumps to inject fresh water into the No. 1 and No. 2 reactor cores. Using sea water causes corrosion and crystallizes salt that hampers the flow of cooling water. Salt can also encrust the reactor core, impairing efforts to cool the fuel rods.
March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Radiation in water at Japan’s stricken nuclear plant reached potentially lethal levels, forcing repairs to stop at one of the reactors as the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl entered its third week.Food Contamination May Rise as Japan Fights Radiation Crisis
The water in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 2 reactor’s turbine building was measured at more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said today. That’s higher than the dose that would cause vomiting, hair loss and diarrhea, according to the World Nuclear Association. Repeated exposure may lift fatal cancer incidence by 5 percentage points.
Radiation leaks have contaminated vegetables in regions around the plant and sparked scares over tap water in Tokyo, 227 kilometers (140 miles) southwest of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. Dai-Ichi power station.
Radiation in water was found in only one out of three Tokyo water purification plants based on sample taken today, the Tokyo metropolitan government said. Two out of three facilities detected radioactive levels yesterday.
“They clearly have not succeeded in re-establishing anything like a normal cooling function,” said Peter Bradford, a former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “It looks as though that’s still some time off, given the fact that they’ve had to slow down because of the high radiation levels on site.”
March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Radioactive contamination in food is likely to worsen as Japan enters a third straight week of battling the biggest nuclear-energy crisis since Chernobyl.
“The number of radiation-affected foods will likely increase as each prefecture is testing its produce,” Taku Ohhara, an official at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, said in a phone interview today. As of 11 p.m. yesterday, some 99 products, including milk and vegetables, were found to be contaminated in Tokyo and five prefectures to its north and east, according to the health ministry’s statement on its website.
Shoppers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney are shunning Japanese food products in supermarkets amid concern about radiation.
Radiation on some vegetables produced in Fukushima and Chiba prefectures was higher than legal standards, Japan’s Health Ministry said yesterday, according to Kyodo News. Chiba detected above-maximum radiation on 11 vegetables including red- leaf lettuce, Kyodo reported today.