Japan fighting losing battle


Iitate village lies northwest of
the Fukushima Dai-ichi facility, beyond the 19-mile zone in which Japan has
urged people to evacuate.

“The first assessment
indicates that one of the IAEA operational criteria for evacuation is exceeded
in Iitate village,” IAEA official Denis Flory told a news conference.

Japan set up a 12.5-mile evacuation
zone around the plant and maintained that people living further away were safe
for about two weeks.

However, as the crisis worsened,
officials started advising people living up to 19 miles away to consider
leaving voluntarily.

Flory also said that Singapore had
told the U.N. nuclear watchdog that some cabbages imported from Japan had
radiation levels up to nine times the levels recommended for international

Radiation has seeped into the soil
and seawater near the stricken nuclear facility and made its way into produce,
raw milk and even tap water as far as Tokyo, 140 miles to the south.

Nuclear safety officials said
seawater 300 yards outside the plant contained 3,355 times the legal limit for
the amount of radioactive iodine — the highest rate yet and a sign that more
contaminated water was making its way into the ocean.

TEPCO has also publically
acknowledged that that at least four of the plant’s six reactors will have to
be scrapped.

In an effort to reduce the spread
of radioactive particles, TEPCO is spraying resin on the ground around the

 “The idea is to glue them to the
ground,” Nishiyama, the safety official,said.

The government also is considering
covering some reactors with cloth tenting, TEPCO said.

Japan’s trade ministry said nuclear
plants would be required by mid-April to deploy back-up mobile power generators
and fire trucks able to pump water, while beefing up training programs and


Tokyo Electric Power Co., (TEPCO) Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, center, and others bow be-fore a news conference at the company’s head office in Tokyo.
Photo: msnbc.com

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