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Asia

Workers evacuated from Fukushima plant

Despite progress made, the Fukushima plant has had to be evacuated as smoke rises from reactors. Meanwhile there are fears of radiation reaching Tokyo.

Smoke is seen rising from reactors 3 and 4 as the Fukushima plant crew are evacuated

Smoke is seen rising from reactors 3 and 4 as the Fukushima plant crew are evacuated

Workers have been evacuated from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, as smoke emerges from reactors 3 and 4. An official from the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has told reporters the source of the smoke is unknown.

Meanwhile engineers are still desperately trying to restart the plant’s cooling systems. In reactor 2, which is also giving off steam, temperatures are near boiling. While they have had major setbacks due to multiple explosions, fires, power outages and spikes in radiation, the crew has made progress pumping in seawater and hooking up an electricity cable to one of the reactors. And on Tuesday, lighting was restored to the control room of reactor 3.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., managed to get the lights on in unit 3 on Tuesday

Tokyo Electric Power Co., managed to get the lights on in unit 3 on Tuesday

Assessing the situation

Regarding the evacuation of the crew, Japanese government spokesman said, "it is difficult to see what is going on inside the reactor. We are analysing the situation and taking measurements of radiation to find out what caused the smoke."

Fears of radiation in the area, especially in the ocean have also risen. While the government continues to take samples, most recent ones indicate levels over 100 times the maximum levels.

No tap water for babies

High levels of radiation have been measured in tap water and certain vegetables in the Fukushima prefecture, and fears have spread to Tokyo regarding radioactive water and food. A ban has been implemented on milk and vegetables from four areas around Fukushima. In latest statements, officials are warning people in Tokyo not to allow babies under the age of one to drink tap water.

A 69-year-old vegetable merchant, Shouichi Ishikawa, says what many people in northeastern Japan are saying: "It's only a small portion of their products, but the government put all products from Ibaraki into the ban. We won't have anything to eat with such a regulation."

The first explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant happened on Saturday, March 12, after the earthquake and tsunami

The first explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant happened on Saturday, March 12, after the earthquake and tsunami

Further fears concerning the wind direction are growing, as the changing wind direction could carry higher levels of radiation to Tokyo, located 240 kilometres away from the dilapidated nuclear Fukushima plant.

Author: Sarah Berning (Afp, dpa)
Editor: Sherpem Sherpa 

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