04/05/2011, 00.00
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Fukushima, fears for children. radioactivity monitored in 1400 schools

An emergency program to verify the level of danger in schools and kindergartens. Engineers have begun discharging slightly radioactive water from the damaged plant, to make room in the tanks for most contaminated coolant. The human figures of the catastrophe: 12,321 dead and 15,347 missing.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An emergency plan to check levels of radioactivity in schools and in their outdoor recreation areas began today in the region of Fukushima. More than 1400 schools and kindergartens will be checked in the next two days, to calm the concerns of parents. Authorities claim that there should be no risk to children, provided that they remain outside the 30 km (19 miles) of precaution zone .

Meanwhile, the technicians in the Fukushima Daiichi plant began discharging water with low levels of contamination from plant tanks, to make room for water coolant containing a high level of radiation that is escaping from the damaged plant. About 11,500 tonnes of liquid will be discharged into the sea. The engineers are facing a vicious circle. They have to cool the reactors, and therefore use lots of water, which in turn increases the amount of radioactive water. But if they do not use enough, the reactor temperature rise to dangerous levels.

Yesterday the figures of losses in human lives were released. The confirmed deaths from the earthquake and tsunami are 12,321, of which 80% have been recognized by relatives and friends. 15,347 are missing. Also yesterday, TEPCO shares (Tokyo electricity production company) which operates the Fukushima plant in fell to a historic low. The Stock market is concerned that the company will face rocketing compensation pay-outs because of its dispersal of radioactive water.
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