Fukushima radiation leak and government response causes anxiety in Japan
An email from a Tokyo resident from last week revealed the level of anxiety some Japanese are feeling regarding the information flow from the government about radiation contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which continued to pump radioactive material into the ocean today.
"You may probably know that it is very serious situation about Fukushima nuclear reactors," Akiko wrote to a friend in Canada. Expressing herself in broken English, she said she worried that there was a complete meltdown on the 22nd of March that "Japanese media never mentioned about this to Japanese."
"They say, rather-safe, or no problem for your health. Many people still living among 30 kms from the reactors, because the government did not close this area to the public.
"Melt down means extremely serious. President of Tokyo Electric has appeared on TV only once on the 13th and never appeared since then.
"This is not only Japanese issue. Japanese government has to be finished as quickly as possible. Air and sea water do not have a border. Why I email you b/c if you know US media person or some other people who can protest against Japanese government, would you please let them know? (But would you please not to tell my real name, just in case.. ) Japanese government can change only from pressure outside of Japan. My parents do not have an idea of moving. I am worried about my mother as she is not so strong, so I am here in Tokyo."
A safety official interviewed by the Associated Press has said that it could take two more months to bring the nuclear power plant under control. Radiation pouring out of Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean has overwhelmed workers efforts to stop it. Workers are trying to inject plastic into an 8 inch crack in a concrete tunnel at the bottom of the second reactor where puddles of radioactive water had been found after workers had sprayed it into the reactor to cool it, the Los Angeles Times reported this morning.
Despite the efforts to seal the crack, Japanese authorities reported that contaminated water was spewing into the ocean through the crack today, which they say may explain radioactivity off the shores which last week officials said was 3,000 times the acceptable level.
The workers tried to fix the problem by using sawdust, shredded paper and a plastic that expanded to 500 times its normal size when wet. They planned to pour concrete on top of the plastic to form a strong seal, but the plastic didn't work either, officials said. Contaminated water continued to stream into the ocean today.
The radiation doses were a high, "but not immediately lethal dose," the Times reported.
Radiation levels in the water are an estimated 1,000 millisieverts per hour, a high but not immediately lethal dose.
Officials have announced new plans for plugging the leak, but their chances of success remain unclear.
Meanwhile, this weekend, two missing workers were found dead at the nuclear power plant. The workers were apparently drowned in the tsunami.