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Japan on 'maximum alert' over nuclear plant


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Japan said Tuesday it was on "maximum alert" over a crippled nuclear plant where radioactive water has halted repair work and plutonium has been found in the soil.


The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast coast and left about 28,000 dead or missing also knocked out reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, which has leaked radiation into the air and sea.


Prime Minister Naoto Kan conceded the situation at the coastal atomic power station remained "unpredictable" and pledged his government would "tackle the problem while in a state of maximum alert".


In a stop-gap measure to contain the crisis at the plant, crews have poured thousands of tons of water onto reactors where fuel rods are thought to have partially melted, and topped up pools for spent fuel rods.


But the run-off of the operation has accumulated in the basements of turbine rooms connected to three reactors and filled up tunnels, making it too risky for workers to go near to repair cooling systems needed to stabilise the plant.




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Mary, The March 28 issue of the New Yorker has a Letter From Japan, Aftershocks, by Evan Osnos (usually posted in China)


It's really detailed on the aftermath. Did you hear we lost an Angleno down at Marina Del Rey, taking pictures of the tsunami surge in our harbor, he got swept out to sea and drowned.


On the other hand there was an Englishman at Kailua-Kona in Hawaii who took video pics of the ocean sweeping over the seawall there and over Alii Drive. We used to have a pied-a-terre at that very spot so it was creepy to see this video.


Our hearts go out to the Japanese victims of this disaster -- that Aftershocks letter can make you weep.

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Why haven't they already done it.. seems we got some of their radioactive iodine this week as have Iceland, Germany and Switzerland (only low level in the atmosphere so nothing to worry about apparently) but the levels must be very high over there if it can travel half way around the world :?:cry:


If thed encase it in concrete will that stop the plutonium leaking into the soil too ?

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