Thursday, March 24, 2011

Japan Continues Efforts To Contain Nuclear Emergency As Radioactive Elements Enter Food and Water Supplies

On top of trying to provide assistance to the hundreds of thousands of people who were displaced from the quake and are without homes, the Japanese government is dealing with the ongoing evacuation around Fukushima's nuclear power plants and trying to contain the spread of radioactive materials through the food supply.

Traces of radioactive iodine have been found in Tokyo's water supply, which has led to an increase in consumption of bottled water.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government said radioactive iodine levels in Tokyo's tap water fell to within the government's threshold for consumption by infants Thursday after rising above the permissible level earlier in the week, but there are lingering concerns among many Japanese about the safety of the water.

Coca-Cola (Japan) Co. has been operating all of its seven mineral-water plants in Japan at full capacity since the March 11 earthquake, a company spokeswoman said Thursday.

There has been some disruption of output at one of its plants north of Tokyo, due to Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s decision to implement power outages in its service regions, in order to prevent more widespread power outages. However, "we are trying to respond to increasing demand as much as possible," she said.

Suntory Holdings Ltd.'s four domestic mineral-water plants are also running at a full capacity. Suntory also bottles and distributes PepsiCo Inc. products in Japan.
Water and other basics remain in short supply and manufacturers are dealing with power shortages that hamper manufacturing processes.

Meanwhile, a new video has emerged showing an aerial survey of the Fukushima complex as the tsunami surges were receding. It is believed that a 14m wave hit Fukushima, and you can see wrecked equipment and piping and structures closest to the ocean, while the containment buildings appear at first glance to be intact.

Three workers at Fukushima were being treated for radiation exposure, and has led to another evacuation of personnel trying to regain control over the four damaged reactors in the complex. The workers were injured while working on reactor 3:
The injured workers were contaminated with up to 180 millisieverts of radiation, close to the recommended limit, after working in water while laying a power cable. An exposure of 100 milli-sieverts a year is considered the lowest level at which any increase in cancer risk is evident. Two of the workers were taken to hospital , the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

''We're trying to prevent further deterioration as well as restore the power,'' Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, said. ''We cannot let our guard down.''

Electricity is needed to help circulate cooling water and keep the nuclear fuel rods from overheating and end the world's largest nuclear crisis in 25 years. Tepco will stop workers from conducting similar work that led to the accident, the company's vice-president, Sakae Moto, said.

And concerns about nuclear power safety stretches well beyond Japan. Nature has put together a map showing locations of all nuclear power facilities by type, and overlays for other key data - including population density nearby, etc.

No comments: