» 03/28/2011, 00.00
Fukushima still out of control: months or years to return to normal
Radioactive levels in the sea close to the reactors 5 and 6 grows, while there are problems to reactivate the normal cooling system. A British expert says: "The complexity of the situation is certainly equal to that of Chernobyl."
Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A rate of "Iodine 131" 1,150 times higher than normal was detected in seawater sampled at only 30 meters from reactors 5 and 6 of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, badly damaged by the earthquake of March '11. This was announced by the Japan Nuclear Safety Agency. So far the test had been only carried out in the southern part of the plant, near the reactors 1-4, the most damaged: there the level of "Iodine 131" in the last test was 2 thousand times greater than normal. The technicians in Fukushima who are battling to normalize the situation in the nuclear plant, are faced with increasing problems Some experts speak of a scenario not unlike that of Chernobyl, the worst nuclear disaster recorded so far. Other problems have added to this including the miscalculations radiation levels, and the lack of appropriate tanks to contain large amounts of contaminated water. Technicians are working to remove contaminated water from the plant and reactivate the normal cooling system.
Yesterday, the TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company), the company that manages Fukushima, said that the rate of radioactivity in the reactor 2 was 10 million times higher than normal, and workers were immediately evacuated from the plant. By the end of the day, TEPCO was forced to admit that the figure was 100 times less than initially declared. The government has described the error as "unacceptable." The vice-president of TEPCO, Sakae Muto, said he did not know "how many months or years it will take" for Fukushima to return to normal.
In this scenario the statements of Dr. Robert Gale, hematologist at Imperial College London are worrying. After having visited the site he said the "complexity is certainly equal to Chernobyl in terms of trying to figure out how to contain the situation and how to alleviate the damage to the reactor." He added that the situation at Chernobyl was actually easier, because the reactor was exposed and "it was possible to bombard it " while the Fukushima structure is intact and it is men have to enter it to understand what is happening. "It 's a very difficult situation."
Fukushima, for the first time a group of technicians enter the nuclear reactor
They will install a ventilation system to filter the radiation in the air and repair the cooling system damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO says it will gain control of the situation within a year. Toll rises to 14 thousand.
Damage to Fukushima reactors mounts. Foreigners flee
Reactor No. 4 latest to catch fire. Fears as temperature rises in No 5 and 6. Exhausted workers at risk of radiation briefly ordered to evacuate plant. The Director of the IAEA confirms that Fukushima is not Chernobyl, but the European commissioner speaks of an "apocalypse". Death toll climbs: 4000 and 8000 missing. In the cold, millions of survivors are without electricity or water.
Sea near Fukushima contaminated. Radiation 1,250 times over safety limit
Radioactive iodine leaked from the plant could also damage ground water beneath the reactors. The Japanese Agency for nuclear safety reduces alert level and hopes for a quick re-absorption of radiation by tides. According to Prime Minister Khan, the situation remains unpredictable.
Fukushima: signs of progress, but alarm over contaminated water, food and milk
The technicians at the damaged power station were able to restore electricity in three of the reactors, and are trying to restore the water pumping system. No need to further expand the evacuation area (20 km) around Fukshima, but the emergency is not yet over.
Radiation risk mounts at Fukushima. Church sends volunteers to tsunami hit areas
In the sea near the nuclear plant the concentration of radioactive iodine is 4,385 times higher than normal. Authorities claim there is no danger to health. The UN nuclear agency calls to expand the size of the evacuation area so far fixed at 20 km. In areas of the tsunami displaced people are lacking food, gas and fuel. Catholic Church gives shelter to families, women and children in homes and monasteries.
The tears of Chinese bishops. A portrait of Msgr. Zhuang, bishop of Shantou
A priest of the official Church, recalls the 88 year old bishop that the Vatican wants to replace with an illegitimate bishop, to please the regime. Mons. Zhuang Jianjian became an underground bishop at the behest of the Vatican in 2006. Card. Zen and Msgr. Zhuang, image of the faithful Church, "which provokes an immense sadness and a sense of impotence". The hopes of card. Parolin to console "the past and present sufferings of Chinese Catholics".
CHINA - VATICAN - HONG KONG
Card. Zen on the bishops of Shantou and Mindong
Card. Joseph Zen
The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong confirms the information published in recent days by AsiaNews and reveals details of his conversation with Pope Francis on these topics: "Do not create another Mindszenty case", the primate of Hungary whom the Vatican forced to leave the country, appointing a successor in Budapest, at the will of the communist government of the time.
14/02/2018 SINGAPORE - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.