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Japan plans new tsunami wall at nuclear plant

Japan police end nuclear art stunt
Tokyo (AFP) May 2, 2011 - An anonymous painter in Japan at the weekend added an image of the stricken Fukushima atomic plant to a public mural about the horrors of a nuclear explosion by the late abstract master Taro Okamoto.

The clandestine add-on image -- painted in a style mimicking that of Okamoto's "Myth of Tomorrow" on display at a busy Tokyo train station -- created a stir on Twitter before police took it down Sunday evening.

The small wooden panel -- which shows black smoke billowing from reactor buildings resembling those at Fukushima -- was attached to the wall without causing damage to the original 30-metre (100-foot) long wall painting.

Okamoto, who was born 100 years ago and died in 1996, is one of Japan's best-known modern artists. Strongly influenced by Pablo Picasso, he is known for his abstract paintings and sculptures, including his "Tower of the Sun" erected for the Osaka Expo in 1970.

"Myth of Tomorrow", created in Mexico in 1968-69, went missing for years but was rediscovered in 2003, returned to Japan and finally installed at a pedestrian overpass at the capital's busy Shibuya railway station in 2008.

The non-profit organisation that is the guardian of the painting was quoted as saying by local media: "It is an outrageous prank and we are troubled."

An official with the group said "it is problematic to create a link when many people are suffering" between the horror of an atomic bomb explosion and the crisis at the tsunami-hit nuclear plant, the Tokyo Shimbun reported.

Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 destroyed the cooling systems of the Fukushima plant, causing explosions and fires. The plant has since leaked radioactive substances into the air, ground and sea.

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) May 2, 2011
The operator of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant will build a wall to defend it against future tsunamis, reports said Monday, as public confidence slipped in the government's handling of the disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) also plans to triple from about 1,000 to 3,000 the number of staff nuclear workers and subcontractors handling the crisis to reduce each individual's radiation exposure.

Emergency crew have been battling for eight weeks to stabilise the six-reactor plant which was damaged by the March 11 quake and tsunami, and which has since been hit by explosions, leaking radiation.

Confidence has slipped among voters in the handling of the wider disaster by the centre-left government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, according to a nationwide telephone poll by the mass-circulation Asahi Shimbun daily.

The survey showed 55 percent of respondents expressed reservations about how the government was dealing with the crisis, while 27 percent were hopeful about the efforts, according to the poll of more than 3,000 people on April 23-24.

In order to guard the plant against future quakes and tsunamis, TEPCO plans to build a wall about two metres (six feet) high and 500 metres long, made of rocks contained by wire mesh, said reports citing TEPCO officials.

The wall would be built at a height of about 10 metres above sea level and be designed to resist a wave generated by an 8-magnitude quake -- smaller than the monster wave triggered by the 9-magnitude quake in March.

TEPCO will also set up air ventilation machines with filters at the reactor one turbine building in order to pave the way for workers to re-enter the site where radiation is now too high, reports said.

The operator also said it plans to hire more staff with training in the nuclear industry to share the burden, and the radiation exposure, of the roughly 1,000 workers currently tackling the crisis.

Japan raised the maximum exposure level for male nuclear emergency workers to 250 millisieverts a year, up from 100 millisieverts previously, amid the current atomic crisis, the world's worst since Chernobyl 25 years ago.




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Second woman exposed to radiation at Japan plant
Tokyo (AFP) May 1, 2011
A second female worker has been exposed to radiation exceeding the legal limit at a nuclear power plant crippled by the March 11 quake and tsunami in Japan, its operator said Sunday. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the medical support worker in her 40s had been exposed to 7.49 millisieverts of radiation over three months, against the legal limit of five millisieverts. "She has no health pr ... read more

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