Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Plutonium detected in Soil

Japan on high alert over nuke plant

2011-03-29 07:33 Sendai - Japan said on Tuesday the government is on "maximum alert" over a crippled nuclear plant where highly 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 over 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 that the situation at the coastal atomic power station remained "unpredictable" and pledged that his government would "tackle the problem while in a state of maximum alert".

Emergency crews braving the radiation threat have used fire engines and pumps to pour thousands of tons of water onto reactors where fuel rods are assumed to have partially melted, and also topped up pools for spent fuel rods.

But the run-off from the stop-gap operation is now making it too dangerous for workers to go near several of the reactor buildings - already charred by explosions - to repair the cooling systems needed to stabilise the plant.

For now, however, they have no choice but to keep pumping water into the stricken reactors, said top government spokesperson Yukio Edano.



Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said his government is in a state of maximum alert over the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant...   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12889541