Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Radiation scare at Japan nuclear plant
by Staff Writers
Kitakami, Japan (AFP) March 27, 2011

Radiation-exposed Japan workers to be discharged
Osaka (AFP) March 27, 2011 - Three workers who stepped in radioactive water inside a crippled Japanese nuclear plant will be discharged from medical care with no sign of serious injuries, officials said Sunday. The trio, in their 20s and 30s, will leave a National Institute of Radiological Sciences facility in Chiba east of Tokyo on Monday and be monitored by local clinics, an official at the institute told AFP. The men stepped in a puddle of radioactive water while working to restore power at the reactor three unit of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which was badly damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Two of them were not wearing protective rubber boots and received an estimated dose of 2,000 to 6,000 millisieverts of radiation below the ankles. Normally about half of people who receive a 5,000 millisieverts dose across the entire body would be expected to die within a month. But in this case exposure was localised and officials said the two men did not develop radiation burns on their feet and required no special treatment. "Tests have shown evidence of internal radiation. But the readings are not high enough to affect human health," the official said, adding that their conditions were not expected to deteriorate. The third man wore protective shoes and avoided direct contact with the radioactive water.

Dangerous levels of radiation detected in water thought to be leaking from a stricken Japanese reactor dealt a new setback Sunday to efforts to avert a nuclear disaster.

Radiation in puddles near reactor two at the Fukushima plant was more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, forcing the evacuation of workers toiling to restore the cooling systems, operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said.

"It is an extremely high figure," nuclear safety agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said, adding there was a "high possibility" that the contaminated water had leaked from the reactor.

A single dose of 1,000 millisieverts can cause temporary radiation sickness, including nausea and vomiting. An exposure of 100 millisieverts per year is considered the lowest level at which an increase in cancer risk is evident.

TEPCO said the concentration of radioactive substances in the water was 100,000 times higher than would usually be found in water in a reactor core, correcting an earlier assessment which said it was 10 million times higher, Kyodo News reported.

Workers were trying to pinpoint the exact source of the radioactive water leak, but there are concerns that fuel rod vessels or their valves and pipes are damaged.

A key concern is how to safely pump away the highly radioactive water, but chief government spokesman Yukio Edano admitted progress at the site was slow.

"It will take some time in order to remove the water while ensuring the safety of workers," Edano told a press conference.

There was also a warning from Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, that the emergency could go on for weeks, if not months, given the damage to the plant, The New York Times reported.

An update on the agency's website said the situation at the Fukushima plant "remains very serious."

Last week three workers received medical treatment after stepping in radioactive water during efforts to install cables and restore critical reactor cooling systems.

The incident heaped more pressure on the plant operator because two were hospitalised after wearing inadequate safety gear.

But officials said Sunday the three would be discharged from medical care with no sign of serious injuries, apparently because they suffered only localised exposure to their feet.

The March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and huge tsunami left more than 27,000 people dead or missing, wiping out entire towns.

The wave knocked out cooling systems for the six reactors at the Fukushima plant, leading to suspected partial meltdowns in three of them. Hydrogen explosions and fires have also ripped through the facility.

Fire engines have hosed huge amounts of seawater onto the plant to try to keep the fuel rods inside reactor cores and pools from being exposed to the air, and prevent a full meltdown.

Olivier Isnard, an expert with the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, said the reading of 1,000 millisieverts in the water at the plant was "proof that the reactor core partially melted."

Several hundred metres (yards) offshore, levels of radioactive iodine some 1,850 times the legal limit were reported Sunday, up from 1,250 times on Saturday, but officials ruled out an immediate threat to marine life and seafood safety.

Around 500 technicians, firefighters and soldiers are battling day and night to contain Japan's worst ever atomic accident.

The nuclear safety agency on Sunday said workers hoped to start using electric pumps instead of fire trucks for cooling operations at reactor number one.

High-voltage electric cables have been reconnected to the reactors and power has been partially restored to enable lighting in some reactor control rooms.

Worried about the possible corrosive effect of salt in the crippled plant, engineers have started pumping fresh water into some of the reactors.

Radioactive vapour seeping from the plant has contaminated tap water and farm produce in the region, leading to shipment halts in Japan as well as the United States, European Union, China and a host of other nations.

A Kyodo survey showed 58.2 percent of respondents disapproved of the government's handling of the nuclear crisis.


Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Light Technology Reduces Painful Side Effects Of Radiation and Chemotherapy
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 28, 2011
A NASA technology originally developed for plant growth experiments on space shuttle missions has successfully reduced the painful side effects resulting from chemotherapy and radiation treatment in bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients. In a two-year clinical trial, cancer patients undergoing bone marrow or stem cell transplants were given a far red/near infrared Light Emitting Di ... read more

84 Teams To Compete In NASA Great Moonbuggy Race

A New View Of Moon

Super Full Moon

LRO Delivers Treasure Trove Of Data

Next Mars Rover Gets A Test Taste Of Mars Conditions

Alternatives Have Begun In Bid To Hear From Spirit

Opportunity Completes Study Of Ruiz Garcia Rock

Time Is Now For Human Mission To Mars

NASA Makes Selection For Integrated Communications Services

NASA computer servers vulnerable to attack: audit

Beginning Of Era Of Manned Spaceflight

Class Of 4000 Children: Trained Like Astronauts, Finishing Their Mission

What Future for Chang'e-2

China setting up new rocket production base

China's Tiangong-1 To Be Launched By Modified Long March II-F Rocket

China Expects To Launch Fifth Lunar Probe Chang'e-5 In 2017

Data Streaming In From ISS To OSU Lab

Roscosmos Sets April 5 For Soyuz TMA-21 Launch

Astronaut Cady Coleman Shares Her Love of the Flute from Space

Launch Of New ISS mission Slated For April 5

Another Ariane 5 Completes Its Initial Build-Up At The Spaceport

Two Ariane 5 And One Soyuz Flights Are Now Being Prepared

ILS Protests Unfair Subsidies To Arianespace

SES And ILS Announce Launch Of SES-6 On ILS Proton In 2013

Report Identifies Priorities For Planetary Science 2013-2022

Planetary Society Statement On Planetary Science Decadal Survey For 2013-2022

Meteorite Tells Of How Planets Are Born In A Swirl Of Dust

Planet Formation In Action

Seeing In Stereo: Engineers Invent Lens For 3-D Microscope

Fukushima contamination 'well beyond' 30k zone: France

NY Times begins charging online readers

Radiation scare at Japan nuclear plant

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement