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Updated: March 21, 2011 05:42 IST

Japan seeks to allay radiation fears

P. S. Suryanarayana
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A dog is scanned with a Geiger counter at a shelter in Koriyama in Fukushima prefecture on Sunday.
AFP A dog is scanned with a Geiger counter at a shelter in Koriyama in Fukushima prefecture on Sunday.

No risk to human health, says Premier; Fukushima plant might be demolished

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Sunday said “there is no risk to human health” from radioactive rain in the vicinity of the quake-and-tsunami-hit civil nuclear plant in Fukushima. Mr. Kan gave the assurance amid official hints that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, already devastated by the March 11 temblor and tsunami might indeed be demolished altogether.

The appeal from Mr. Kan's office to the people in the affected areas, a copy of which was received by The Hindu from the Japanese Foreign Ministry, reads as follows: “There is no risk to human health, even if it rains. Please rest assured.

Higher-than-normal levels of radiation could be detected in rain, but it would contain only a small amount of radioactive substances which do not affect health at all.

The levels wouldn't go beyond the average of natural radiation dose.”

Suggesting that the people could take some precautionary measures at the time of such rainfall, Mr. Kan told them: “Even if you don't take these measures, it doesn't impose any threat on your health.”

In line with such assurances, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano hinted, at a press conference in Tokyo, that the Fukushima Daiichi atomic energy plant might be demolished because it was not clear whether the devastated reactors could be reactivated in course of time. However, there could be no definitive statement on this issue at this stage.

On another front, officials also sought to allay concerns over the risk of heightened radiation in the event of steps being taken to ease the pressure inside the containment facility of the worst-affected reactor. Plans were afoot to release “gases” from it into the atmosphere.

Air release

An official of the Tokyo Electric Power Company said, in televised remarks, that “the current situation does not necessitate an immediate air release. So we will not do so right away.” Earlier, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency had suggested the possibility of risking the release of some radioactive substances into the atmosphere in a bid to prevent a greater catastrophe at the containment facility.

Amid these developments, efforts to cool the stricken reactors by spraying on them huge quantities of water by whatever means continued, and officials claimed a drop in the overall radiation levels around the multi-reactor complex.

Earlier, Japanese spokesman Hidenobu Sobashima had told The Hindu from Tokyo that no radiation-related fatalities had occurred as of then.

On the food-radiation scare in Japan, the International Atomic Energy Agency, clarifying its earlier statement, said the Japanese authorities had only “requested an investigation into the possible stop of sales of food products from the Fukushima Prefecture.” The IAEA earlier said Japan had stopped such sales.

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We have been told by authorities that radiation effects are cumulative. In light of that irrefutable fact, the Japanese reassurances that the rain or the food or the reactors pose no health threat may be true. Today. What will happen after two weeks of cumulative exposure to the radioactive rain, food, and water? Are the reactors still releasing radioactivity and radioactive particles? Doesn't that mean that today's 'safe' readings will undoubtedly be higher tomorrow? And again higher the next day? And even higher the day after that?

from:  Thomas Johannsen
Posted on: Mar 21, 2011 at 14:09 IST

Why does the Japanese govt make the civilian people scapegoats of radiation from the nuclear reactor? It is forty years old. Seal it just like The Russian govt did to Chernobyl.The engineers of Japan could not do anything to avert disaster form explosion form nuclear plant even now. So think in humanitarian ways.

from:  Balachandra prabhu .A
Posted on: Mar 21, 2011 at 08:37 IST
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