Tokyo (AFP) May 15, 2011
Japan on Sunday started the first evacuations of homes outside a government exclusion zone after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled one of the country's nuclear power plants.
Some 4,000 residents of Iidate-mura village as well as 1,100 people in Kawamata-cho town, in the quake-hit northeast, began the phased relocations to public housing, hotels and other facilities in nearby cities.
Their communities are outside the 20-kilometre radius from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, officially designated as an area of forced evacuation due to health risks from the radiation seeping from the ageing and damaged plant.
The government told people in communities such as Iidate-mura they had to leave, but authorities are unlikely to punish those who choose to stay.
"I am sure all of you have lived in Iidate-mura all your life and never moved," mayor Norio Kanno told a group of residents preparing to leave their homes.
"Considering the future of our children and young people, as well as the health of our village residents, we have no choice but to go ahead with the village-wide evacuation," he said.
"I will do whatever I can so that you will be able to return home as soon as possible."
The first batch of evacuees were mostly those with small children and pregnant women, who are considered more vulnerable.
Although Iidate-mura and Kawamata-cho are 30 kilometres (20 miles) away from the plant, they have consistently received high amounts of radioactive materials due to wind patterns.
The plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), was heavily damaged by the record 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami, which sparked the world's worst atomic crisis in 25 years.
Emergency crews have also started reassessing the status of reactor one at the six-reactor power plant after discovering that the fuel inside the reactor had apparently melted down, TEPCO said.
Some 3,000 tons of highly radioactive contaminated waste water has been discovered under reactor one, forcing officials to think of ways to properly pump it out and process it, it said.
Ruling-party lawmaker Goshi Hosono, special aide to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, said the government still hoped to keep its pledge to achieve the cold shutdown of four damaged reactors by the end of the year.
He added reactor three has not cooled down as hoped earlier, saying it was more of a worry to him than reactor one, which has been relatively stable at low temperatures.
In a related development, Chubu Electric Power Co. said all reactors at its ageing Hamaoka nuclear power plant entered into a state of "cold shutdown" Sunday.
Seismologists have long warned that a major earthquake is overdue in the Tokai region southwest of Tokyo where the Hamaoka plant is located.
Kan said the plant should stay shut until a higher sea wall is built and other measures are taken to guard it against a major quake and tsunami.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes
Tokyo (AFP) May 14, 2011
A highly radioactive substance was detected in ash from an incinerator at a sewage works in Tokyo in late March following the nation's worst nuclear accident in Fukushima, newspapers reported Saturday. The ash, containing an unidentified substance with a radioactive density of 170,000 Becquerel per kilogramme, was collected from a plant in Koto Ward, eastern Tokyo, the Nikkei and Sankei dail ... read more
Japan's nuclear crisis timetable on track: PM|
Tornado damage raises building questions
Quake-hit Japan pottery town picking up pieces
Radioactive ash found in Tokyo sewage plant: reports
How to control complex networks
Video gaming teens sleep less: study
Mixing fluids efficiently in confined spaces: Let the fingers do the working
Shaking down frozen helium: In a 'supersolid' state, it has liquid-like characteristics
First ocean acidification buoy installed off Alaska
Water for Mongolia
Salinity in Outer Banks wells traced to fossil seawater
Egyptian PM in Ethiopia for Nile talks
Canada PM's Arctic stand 'frosty rhetoric'
States set rules on exploiting Arctic wealth
Antarctic icebergs help the ocean take up carbon dioxide
Change is the order of the day in the Arctic
Drought tolerance in crops: Shutting down the plant's growth inhibition under mild stress
India's top court imposes ban on 'toxic' pesticide
New Strategy Aims to Reduce Agricultural Ammonia
'Liquid smoke' from rice shows potential health benefits
New Zealand inquest told of quake victims' last moments
Local tsunami alert after 6.5 quake off Papua New Guinea
US bid to save Louisiana cities from historic flooding
One-eighth of quake-hit Spanish city damaged
Humanity can and must do more with less
Outside View: Kenya mobile banking network
Burkina Faso ruling party says opposition aiming for coup
Chinese army gives rocket launchers, weapons to Sierra Leone
Ancient rock carvings found in Sudan
New method for engineering human tissue regeneration
Indian brides told to put down their mobile phones
Super-healing researcher follows intuition
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. 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 SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|