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  • » 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."
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    See also

    05/05/2011 JAPAN
    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.

    16/03/2011 JAPAN
    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.

    26/03/2011 JAPAN
    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.

    21/03/2011 JAPAN
    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.

    31/03/2011 JAPAN
    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.

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