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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Plutonium in Fukushima soil detected, What the people say about the triple disasters

The triple calamities that hit Japan on 11 March have so far brought 11,232 deaths and 16,361 people missing as of 10:00, 30 March.
Radioactive particles from the trouble Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant had been reported as far as the United States.
Various food products and water had reportedly been contaminated by radioactive forms of iodine and cesium.
The Yomiuri Shimbun reported today that small amounts of Plutonium-238, 239 and 240 were detected in the soil samples taken at five locations inside the crippled plant between 21 and 22 March, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) on Monday.
TEPCO was quick to announce that the levels do not pose a health risk.
But Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Tuesday "This is quite serious since it indicates fuel rods have melted to some degree."
He urged the continuous monitoring in the nearby areas.
The soil samples were analyzed by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency on 23 March. It usually takes seven days to finish plutonium-detection tests.
Iodine-131 was also detected in the samples believed to have been from Fukushima I reactors.
Nagoya University's nuclear chemist Michiaki Furukawa said, "I think the plutonium came from damaged nuclear fuel rods in the reactors, and escaped when water leaked out.
"But it won't affect humans seriously since the amounts detected were very small. Also, since plutonium doesn't vaporize easily, it can't be carried far away by the wind."
Furukuwa added that the plutonium isotopes are dangerous when it is inhaled but they have not been leaked outside of the nuclear plant.
The report also said that when ingested, plutonium can easily be excreted from the body. However, if inhaled, the isotopes of plutonium stay in the lungs and can cause malignancy.
Meanwhile the US steps in to help Japan resolve the nuclear crisis.
The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that both countries have set up four task forces to deal with damaged plant.
Government officials, military and nuclear scientists of Japan and the US together with TEPCO and other nuclear companies will help to contain the problem.
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It seems that people from abroad are more anxious than the people in Japan. Asked how the disasters have affected their future plans, this is what the people in Japan have to say. A report by Ben Davis from The Japan Times.
Kota Totsuka, Actor, 33 (Japanese)

No, it didn't change anything for me. I have been volunteering with the Nippon Foundation, translating news and announcements for foreign people in Tohoku. I'm not scared or worried about the future.
Miwa Ikegami, Medical Student, 33 (Japanese)

I have been worrying about the effects of the disaster on the Japanese economy. I live outside of Tokyo and do not think it is entirely safe yet—I feel that there is some danger still remaining.
Alain Bilodeau, Software, 29 (Canadian)

I arrived in Japan after the quake. I'd been planning my trip for two years, but even when I heard about the quake I didn't want to change my plans. I've been told many people fled Tokyo, but compared to where I'm from it's very busy.
Brooke Winters, Cook, 25 (Canadian)

I was in Fukushima with my friends when the earthquake struck. We had left Sendai just one day earlier—so we were very lucky. Since then, I feel grateful for having life, and try to bring sunshine to every day I have.
Alex Camacho, Teacher, 23 (English)

The earthquake affected my perception of the British media, due to their coverage of the disaster. Many of my foreign friends left almost immediately afterwards, and although I feel very sad, I am continuing my life here.
Yuta Umeki, Student, 16 (Japanese)

I have many friends in Iwate and Tohoku, and I worry for them. They have lost their homes and have little food to eat, so I have been making an effort to turn off lights and only buy what I need. We need to share resources and supplies.
Watch the attached YouTube video.

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