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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Fukushima Crisis Continues...

March 23rd, 2011 5:05am CST BREAKING
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The Fukushima Dai-Ichi facility has evacuated again as plumes of black smoke are pouring from the building that houses troubled reactor #3 itself. Radiation has reached Iceland and is expected in France soon. Japanese food products have been banned from export to the U.S. Fear continues to dominate the world’s reaction in spite of expert pronouncements that it's not the level of disaster it could have been.
Image © copyright 2011 WSJ - SOURCE

The number of dead and missing in Japan has now exceeded 24,000

From AP via USA Today
 "Officials with Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that workers from the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have been temporarily evacuated. Operators of the power station have been desperately trying to cool the reactors and spent fuel pools at the plant after it was damaged by this month's tsunami, which knocked out power to the cooling systems"

From Reuters:
"Black smoke seen rising on Wednesday from the No. 3 reactor of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant was from the building that houses the reactor itself, Hidehiko Nishiyama, the deputy-director general of Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said on Wednesday." 

The latest from the IAEA:
"Reactor cooling systems at Unit 3 are severely hampered. There is suspected damage to the reactor’s fuel, and the condition of its spent fuel pool is uncertain." 

From the Herald Sun:
"Radiation levels of 500 millisieverts were detected at reactor No. 2 and the vessel in reactor No. 1 recorded a rise in temperature today, briefly topping 400 degrees Celsius (752 degrees Fahrenheit).
Also today, two workers at the site were taken to hospital after they were injured. TEPCO said the workers were not exposed to radiation 
Meanwhile, radiation from Japan's troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant reached Europe, with minuscule amounts being detected in Iceland. 
Officials in Iceland have detected radioactive particles believed to have come from Fukushima, the Daily Mail reported.

The British government said there were no reports yet of radiation reaching the country, though France predicted tiny amounts are due to arrive in hours.

Levels in Tokyo rose ten-fold in the days after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake stuck, with
tiny traces already detected in California and Washington in the US.
It comes as the International Atomic Energy Agency crticised Japan over a lack of data on the temperatures of the spent fuel pools of reactors 1, 3 and 4 at Fukushima and claims the plant was storing more uranium than it was designed to hold."
"The health ministry said radioactivity drastically exceeding legal limits had been found in 11 kinds of vegetable grown in Fukushima.

Radioactive caesium at 82,000 becquerels - 164 times the legal limit - was detected in one type of leaf vegetable, it said.

The ministry said that if people eat 100 grams (four ounces) a day of the vegetable for about 10 days, they would ingest half the amount of radiation typically received from the natural environment in a year.

"Even if these foods are temporarily eaten, there is no health hazard," said top government spokesman Yukio Edano, following reports that some products may have already entered the market.

"But unfortunately, as the situation is expected to last for the long term, we are asking that shipments stop at an early stage, and it is desirable to avoid intake of the foods as much as possible."

Even if the short-term risk is limited for now, scientists pointing to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster warn that some radioactive particles concentrate as they travel up the food chain stay in the environment for decades."
From the Financial Mirror:
"Japanese authorities advised against allowing infants to drink tap water in Tokyo due to raised radiation levels and the United States became the first nation to block some food imports from Japan .
The crisis at the tsunami-smashed nuclear power plant, 250 km north of the Japanese capital, appeared far from over with workers attempting to gain control ordered to leave the site after black smoke began rising from one of its six reactors.
The plant was crippled by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Some 23,000 people have been left dead or missing. 

Tokyo authorities said water at a purification plant for the capital of 13 mln people had 210 becquerels of radioactive iodine -- more than twice the safety level for infants.
"This is without doubt, an effect of the Fukushima Daiichi plant," a Tokyo metropolitan government official said, referring to the nuclear power station."

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