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Radioactive cesium-137 was found in Tokyo ’s tap water for the first time since April as Japan grapples with the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years. The level was below the safety limit set by the government. Cesium-137 registered at 0.14 becquerel per kilogram in Shinjuku ward on July 2 and none was discovered yesterday, compared with 0.21 becquerel on April 22, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health . No cesium-134 or iodine-131 was detected, the agency said on its website. Enlarge image
At first sight, there seems little out of the ordinary on this wet afternoon for the pupils of Oyama primary school. They wave from classroom windows as they rush to finish the day's cleaning chores. Outside, the wind and rain sends the school's pet rabbits into a retreat deep inside their hutches. But buried beneath the surface of the school playing field is evidence that life in this village, about 40 miles from the Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant, is far from normal: a large quantity of radioactive soil, wrapped in tarpaulin. Health concerns for the school's 225 pupils, aged six to 12, centre on the radioactive isotopes released by the plant, whose operator has been criticised for failing to prepare for the 11 March tsunami. In a preliminary report released on Wednesday, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) had underestimated the risk of the tsunami, although they praised the plant workers' post-disaster response.
International nuclear inspectors have criticised the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for failing to prepare for a tsunami of the size that slammed into the facility on 11 March, sparking the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. In a preliminary report issued on Wednesday, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) had underestimated the risk of a giant tsunami. The IAEA urged authorities to closely
28 May 2011 Last updated at 19:24 ET The problems with the Fukushima nuclear plant have raised questions over Tepco's future Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is not fully prepared for heavy rain and winds of a typhoon heading towards the country, officials admit. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), which runs the plant, said some reactor buildings were uncovered, prompting fears the storm may carry radioactive material into the air and sea. Typhoon Songda is expected to hit mainland Japan as early as Monday.
Highly radioactive water is now being detected outside the containment area at Fukushima, experts have warned. Photograph: Tepco/AFP/Getty Images The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site. The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant. Readings from reactor two at the site have been made public by the Japanese authorities and Tepco, the utility that operates it. Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have "lost the race" to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.
29 March 2011 Last updated at 06:20 GMT The BBC's Chris Hogg reports on life inside the nuclear exclusion zone Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said his government is in a state of maximum alert over the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Plutonium has been detected in soil at the facility and highly radioactive water has leaked from a reactor building. Officials say the priority remains injecting water to cool the fuel rods.
27 March 2011 Last updated at 11:07 ET The BBC's Mark Worthington says many people in Japan are becoming increasingly concerned about what is going to happen in the future The operators of a stricken Japanese nuclear plant have apologised for a "mistake" in reporting a radiation spike 10 million times above normal. Tokyo Electric Power Company, which has previously been criticised by officials for its handling of the crisis at the plant, said it got the readings wrong.
By Matt Blake and Richard Shears UPDATED: 08:42 GMT, 24 March 2011 The darkness is broken only by the flashing torchlight of the heroes who stayed behind. These first images of inside the stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant reveal the terrifying conditions under which the brave men work to save their nation from full nuclear meltdown. The Fukushima Fifty - an anonymous band of lower and mid-level managers - have battled around the clock to cool overheating reactors and spent fuel rods since the disaster on March 11.
The dangers facing workers battling to avert disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were underlined on Thursday when three men were exposed to high levels of radiation after stepping in contaminated water. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), admitted that the workers had not measured radioactivity levels before beginning work, and that two, who are being treated for radiation burns, were not wearing protective boots. The two more seriously injured men were diagnosed with possible beta ray burns and were due to be taken to a special unit at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba, east of Tokyo, Japan 's nuclear safety agency said. The injuries are similar to regular burns, but can lead to serious complications over a period of several weeks.