Fukushima Nuclear Crisis “very serious”—IAEA
Japan food radiation “serious situation”—WHO
Engineers at Fukushima NPP have restored power to all six reactors, but have managed to start the cooling pump at only one reactor.
IAEA says the situation remains very serious, despite the progress. “There have been some positive developments in the last 24 hours but overall the situation remains very serious,” said a senior IAEA official.
Meanwhile, some of the engineers were evacuated from the plant after a gray plume of steam and smoke escaped from the Reactor 3. The incident was followed by a large plume of steam and smoke rising from Reactor 2.
“The crisis has still not been resolved and the situation at Fukushima [nuclear power plant] remains very serious,” Yukiya Amano, the IAEA boss has announced.
I have no doubt that this crisis will be effectively overcome.” He added.
Residents living near the plant have been told not to drink tap water because high levels of radioactive iodine has been detected.
Radioactive contamination detected in the water exceeds three times the legal safety limit, according to local reports.
“The World Health Organization said it had no evidence of contaminated food reaching other countries. However, China, Taiwan and South Korea have announced plans to toughen checks of Japanese imports.” BBC reported.
However, a spokesman for the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) regional office for the Western Pacific told Reuters that the situation “it’s a serious situation.”
“It’s a lot more serious than anybody thought in the early days when we thought that this kind of problem can be limited to 20 to 30 kilometers … It’s safe to suppose that some contaminated produce got out of the contamination zone.”
The health officials in Tokyo earlier reported that abnormal levels of iodine were found in edible chrysanthemum flowers.
Rising Death Toll
The official death toll in the mega quake and tsunami twin disasters has now climbed to about 8,500, with up to 13,000 reported as missing.
The Humanitarian Crisis
Up to half a million people have been left homeless as a result of the Tohoku Megaquake and the ensuing deadly tsunami. Most of the surving victims are in thousands of emergency shelters, where there are still severe shortages of water, food, heating fuel, warm clothes and other basic essentials.
Up to a million homes are reportedly without water.