by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) June 19, 2014
Two Japanese satellites will be launched from Russia late Thursday to monitor environmental damage near the crippled nuclear plants in Fukushima and Chernobyl, officials said.
The Ukrainian-designed Dnepr rocket carrying 33 satellites, including the two, will lift off at 1911 GMT from a space centre in the Urals region.
The University of Tokyo developed the two satellites -- the Hodoyoshi-3 and Hodoyoshi-4 -- on a relatively slim budget of 300 million yen (about $2.9 million) each.
"The satellites have a number of missions and monitoring the two nuclear plants is part of them," said project leader Shinichi Nakasuka, a professor at the Japanese state-run university.
Under the plan, the two satellites will take photos of the two nuclear power plants and their surroundings regularly receive data, including radiation levels, from instruments near the two plants.
"I hope that the data will help Japan and Ukraine correctly acknowledge the impact on the environment near the two plants," Nakasuka said.
The two satellites will also monitor river levels globally, and "22 countries such as Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Bangladesh will receive the data as part of efforts to avoid damage from major floods", he added.
The launch, which had been planned for last year, fell behind schedule, but Nakasuka said the delay was not caused by the political situation in Ukraine.
The world's worst civilian nuclear accident took place in Ukraine in 1986, at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Thirty people were killed in an explosion and a further 2,500 died of related illnesses.
In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan's northeastern region and sent nuclear reactors in Fukushima into meltdown.
Full decommissioning of the plant at Fukushima is expected to take several decades. An area around the plant remains out of bounds, and experts warn that some settlements may have to be abandoned because of high levels of radiation.
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news 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 All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|