Thursday, April 18, 2024

Tokyo braces for radiation

Japan Nuke Plant Blasts
Tokyo braces for radiation
Japan faced a potential catastrophe yesterday after a quake-crippled nuclear power plant exploded and sent low levels of radiation floating toward Tokyo, prompting some people to flee the capital and others to stock up on essential supplies.
Radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi plant has reached harmful levels, the government says.
The warning comes after the plant was rocked by a third blast which appears to have damaged one of the reactors’ containment systems for the first time.
If it is breached, there are fears of more serious radioactive leaks.
The crisis has been prompted by last Friday’s 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami in north-eastern Japan.
Yesterday morning, reactor 2 became the third to explode in four days at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, reported BBC.
A fire also briefly broke out at the plant’s reactor 4, and is believed to have caused radioactive leaks.
Reactor 4 had been shut down before the quake for maintenance, but its spent nuclear fuel rods are still stored on the site.
Radiation levels in the Japanese capital — 250km away — were reported to be higher than normal, but officials said there were no health dangers.
Tokyo residents have been stocking up on supplies, with some stores selling out of items such as food, water, face masks and candles.
Housewife Mariko Kawase, 34, told AFP news agency: “I am shopping now because we may not be able to go out due to the radiation.”
Koji Yamazaki, professor at Hokkaido University graduate school of environmental science, said “Radioactive material will reach Tokyo but it is not harmful to human bodies because it will be dissipated by the time it gets to Tokyo.”
“If the wind gets stronger, it means the material flies faster but it will be even more dispersed in the air.”
NO-FLY ZONE
In a televised address, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said: “There is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out.”
He said that those living within between 20km and 30km of the plant were at risk and should not leave their homes.
Residents within 20km have already been advised to evacuate, and the premier said anyone left in that exclusion zone must leave, reported Reuters.
“Now we are talking about levels that can impact human health,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.
He told residents: “Please do not go outside. Please stay indoors. Please close windows and make your homes airtight.
“Don’t turn on ventilators. Please hang your laundry indoors.”
Japan also announced a 30-km no-fly zone around the reactors to prevent planes spreading the radiation further afield.
Radiation levels around Fukushima for one hour’s exposure rose to eight times the legal limit for exposure in one year, said the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco).
The International Atomic Energy Agency said after yesterday’s blast that radiation dosages of up to 400 millisieverts per hour had been recorded at the site.
Exposure to over 100 millisieverts a year is a level which can lead to cancer, according to the World Nuclear Association.
On Monday, a hydrogen blast at the Fukushima plant’s reactor 3 was felt 40km away. It followed a blast at reactor 1 on Saturday.
All explosions have followed cooling system breakdowns. Engineers are trying to prevent meltdowns by flooding the chambers of the nuclear reactors with seawater.
Japan’s nuclear safety agency said it suspects yesterday’s blast may have damaged reactor 2’s suppression chamber.
The BBC’s Chris Hogg in Tokyo says that would make it a more serious incident than the previous explosions, which were thought just to have damaged the buildings housing the reactors.
“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON”
Japanese media have become more critical of Kan’s handling of the disaster and criticized the government and nuclear plant operator Tepco for its failure to provide enough information on the incident.
Kan himself lambasted the operator for taking so long to inform his office about one of the blasts, demanding to know “what the hell is going on?” Kyodo reported.
Kyodo said Kan had ordered Tepco not to pull employees out of the plant.
“The TV reported an explosion. But nothing was said to the premier’s office for about an hour,” a Kyodo reporter quoted Kan telling power company executives.
Lam Ching-wan, a chemical pathologist at the University of Hong Kong, said the blasts could expose the population to longer-term exposure to radiation, which can raise the risk of thyroid and bone cancers and leukemia. Children and fetuses are especially vulnerable, he said.
“Very acute radiation, like that which happened in Chernobyl and to the Japanese workers at the nuclear power station, is unlikely for the population,” he said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, talking of levels of radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s No 4 reactor, said: “There is definitely a possibility that this could affect people’s bodies.”
Jennex said the crisis in Japan, the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack, was worse that the Three Mile Island disaster of 1979.
“But you’re nowhere near a Chernobyl … Chernobyl there was no impediment to release, it just blew everything out into the atmosphere,” he said. “You’ve still got a big chunk of the containment there holding most of it in.”
Authorities had previously been trying to prevent meltdowns in the complex’s nuclear reactors by flooding the chambers with sea water to cool the reactors down.
A sudden drop in cooling water levels when a pump ran out of fuel had fully exposed the fuel rods for a time, an official said. Tepco had resumed pumping sea water into the reactor early yesterday.
US warships and planes helping with relief efforts moved away from the coast temporarily because of low-level radiation. The Seventh Fleet described the move as precautionary.
South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines said they would test Japanese food imports for radiation.

 

Courtesy of The Daily Star

Related News

bKash communications chief Mahfuz Sadique dies at 40

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Mahfuz Sadique, chief communications officer of mobile financial services firm bKash, passed away in Bangladesh capital Dhaka Friday morning. He was 40. Mahfuz died around 9:00am while undergoing treatment at a hospital in the capital, bKash said in a statement. Mahfuz, who began his career as a journalist at New Age, ... Read more

Prices for potatoes increase by 229% from the previous year

Prices for potatoes varied from Tk16 to Tk22 per kg at this time last year. News Desk : dhakamirror.com Despite the presence of both new and old potatoes in the market, potato prices have soared by 229% compared to late December last year. According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the selling price for ... Read more

LGED engineer dead, UNO among 3 injured in Panchagarh car crash

News Desk : dhakamirror.com An engineer of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) was killed and three other government officials were injured when the vehicle of a UNO hit a roadside tree in Panchagarh Sadar upazila early today. The deceased was identified as Abu Sayed, 33, upazila engineer of LGED from Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon. ... Read more

UNHCR calls for rescue of Rohingyas stranded in Andaman Sea

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has made an urgent appeal to all countries in the region, particularly those in the area surrounding the Andaman Sea, to swiftly deploy their full search and rescue capacities in response to reported vessels in distress with hundreds of Rohingya at risk of perishing. ... Read more

Over 200 RMG workers injured in Comilla while evacuating factory during earthquake

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Over two hundred garment workers in Cumilla’s Chauddagram have been injured while trying to evacuate the factory building of Amir Shirt Garment Limited during today’s earthquake. A 5.5 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10km jolted Dhaka, and parts of the country at 9:35am today (2 December). The epicentre of the ... Read more

Daughter hacked father to death in Chattogram

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A father was hacked to death by his own daughter during an altercation over a trivial matter at Lohagara upazila in Chattogram on Friday (1 December). The deceased was identified as Abdur Rahman, 50, of Putibila Sarai village under the upazila. Police have detained the daughter, Humaira Begum, 23, soon after ... Read more

HSC results: Dhaka has most GPA-5 achievers, while Barishal has highest pass rate

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Dhaka had the highest number of GPA-5 recipients in the HSC exams, while Barishal Education Board had the highest pass rate among nine educational boards. Education Minister Dipu Moni announced today that the overall pass rate in the nine general boards is 75.90 percent. In terms of pass rates, Barishal ranked ... Read more

PSC postpones 45th BCS written tests

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to postpone the written tests for the 45th Bangladesh Civil Service examination, which was scheduled to be held on 27 November. The announcement came through a notification signed by Ananda Kumar Biswas, the exam controller of PSC, issued on Friday. PSC held a ... Read more

After stabbing younger sister to death woman ‘kills herself’ in Hazaribagh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A woman reportedly killed herself after stabbing her younger sister to death in the capital’s Hazaribagh area today. Police said the incident took place in the Kalunagar area at around 12am on Monday (13 November). The deceased have been identified as Jasmine Akhtar, 44, and her younger sister Nasreen Akhtar, 30. ... Read more

Oman stops issuing new visas to citizens of Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Sultanate of Oman has suspended the issuance of visas across all categories for Bangladeshi nationals, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said on Tuesday. The decision was effective from Tuesday, reported Oman-based English newspaper the Times of Oman referring to the Royal Oman Police. The report said that the ROP confirmed ... Read more

Dhaka girl Nupur takes over as chairman of Unilever for a day

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Seventeen-year-old Nupur from Dhaka, had the opportunity to take over Unilever’s chairman position for one day on Thursday. There, she symbolically carried out the roles and responsibilities of Zaved Akhtar, the chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh, said a press release. Nupur being an active youth club member, works for ... Read more

Hospitals must follow guidelines, orders HC

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The High Court on Thursday asked the government to take steps to make it compulsory to follow the relevant guidelines for the prevention of performing unnecessary caesarean section surgery at government and private hospitals and clinics. The court has also directed the government to widely circulate the guidelines within six months. ... Read more

Woman delivers birth to five babies at DMCH

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A woman has given birth to five premature babies. The quintuplets were born at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at 10am on Thursday to Mansura Begum, 22, the wife of CNG driver Md Mamun from Bandardia village in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district. One of the newborns, however, died shortly ... Read more

Tk8.44 cr fine imposed to Kazi Farms, 3.44 crore to Suguna Food

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Competition Commission has fined Kazi Farms Group and Saguna Food and Feeds on charges of market manipulation causing abnormal rise in broiler chicken prices. BCC officials said that the companies must deposit the fine amount to the BCC within 10 working days. If they fail to deposit the fine ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit national museum

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited national museum in Dhaka on Sunday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited national museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list on ... Read more

Fare for Bangladesh-India trains to increase from November 10

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Ticket prices of three inter-country trains on Bangladesh-India routes are going to be hiked from November 10. The fares are going to increase due to high exchange rate of US dollar and rising travel tax, according to the Bangladesh Railway officials. The trains are – Maitree Express on Dhaka-Kolkata, Bandhan Express ... Read more

Man, nephew killed by lightning

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A man and his nephew were struck by lightning in Satarbari village of Longair union under Gafargaon upazila of Mymensingh yesterday. The deceased were identified as Sohel Mondol, 40, a trader of pharmaceutical drugs, and his nephew Razib Mondol, 35 a rice trader in the village. Quoting locals, Raju Ahmed, officer-in-charge ... Read more

TV sales decline despite World Cup: Is streaming to blame?

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 captures the attention of sports enthusiasts across the world and an intriguing trend is emerging in Bangladesh’s television market. While events of this magnitude have traditionally led to an increase in TV sales, recent figures from September show a 30% decline compared to the same ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit Paharpur archaeological museum

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited Paharpur archaeological museum in Naogaon on Friday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited Paharpur archaeological museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative ... Read more

Child among three dead as mud walls collapsed in rain in Gazipur

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Three people including an eight-year-old child died in separate incidents of mud walls collapsing during heavy rain in Sadar and Kaliakoir upazilas of Gazipur. The deceased are Faridul Islam, 8, son of Matiur Rahmon of Konabari Baimile under Sadar upazila, and Imarat Hossain, 65, and his wife Achia Begum, 56, of ... Read more