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NEWS
June 10, 2012 | By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
TOKYO - A panel investigating Japan's nuclear disaster said Saturday the ex-prime minister and his aides caused confusion at the height of last year's crisis by heavily interfering in the damaged and leaking plant's operation. Shuya Nomura, a member of the parliamentary panel, said Naoto Kan's aides made numerous calls to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, often asking basic questions and distracting workers, causing more confusion. They did not follow the official line of communication - through the regulator, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency - under the country's nuclear disaster management law, he said.
NEWS
April 5, 2011 | Associated Press
TOKYO - Workers began pumping more than 3 million gallons of contaminated water from Japan's tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant into the Pacific yesterday, freeing storage space for even more highly radioactive water that has hampered efforts to stabilize the reactors. It will take about two days to pump most of the less-radioactive water out of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, whose cooling systems were knocked out by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Radioactivity is quickly diluted in the ocean, and government officials said the dumping should not affect the safety of seafood in the area.
NEWS
March 18, 2011 | By Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press
TOKYO - Behind Japan's escalating nuclear crisis sits a scandal-ridden energy industry in a comfy relationship with government regulators often willing to overlook safety lapses. Leaks of radioactive steam and workers contaminated with radiation are just part of the disturbing catalog of accidents that have occurred over the years and been belatedly reported to the public, if at all. In one case, workers hand-mixed uranium in stainless-steel buckets, instead of processing by machine, so the fuel could be reused, exposing hundreds of workers to radiation.
NEWS
March 18, 2011 | By Eric Talmadge and Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
YAMAGATA, Japan - Emergency workers seemed to try everything they could think of Thursday to douse Japan's most dangerously overheated nuclear reactors: helicopters, heavy-duty fire trucks, even water cannons normally used to quell rioters. But they couldn't be sure any of it was easing the peril at the tsunami-ravaged facility. Early Friday, smoke began billowing from a building at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant as emergency crews fought to reconnect electricity to cooling systems.
NEWS
April 16, 2011 | By Michio Nakayama, Tsuyoshi Inajima, and Pavel Alpeyev, Bloomberg News
Tokyo Electric Power Co. took steps to restore electrical supplies lost to the March 11 earthquake as the U.S. government announced health risks were falling from the radiation ejected by the utility's tsunami-devastated nuclear station north of Tokyo. Tepco, as the utility is known, plans to add 108 natural-gas or diesel-fueled generators in Chiba prefecture east of Tokyo. Power supplies will still fall short on the hottest days by about 4,300 megawatts at the end of August, Tepco said in a statement late Thursday.
NEWS
June 11, 2011 | By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
TOKYO - Japan's nuclear safety officials reprimanded the operator of Japan's tsunami-damaged power plant Friday and demanded an investigation of how two workers were exposed to radiation more than twice the government-set limit. The government also ordered the utility to reduce workers' risks of heat-related illnesses as concerns grow about the health risks faced by the people toiling to get the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant under control. The two men with high radiation exposure worked at a central control room for two reactors when the tsunami struck March 11 and the days that followed.
NEWS
June 19, 2011 | By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
TOKYO - A system to clean massive amounts of contaminated water at the site of Japan's nuclear disaster was shut down Saturday, just hours after it began full operations, because a component filled with radioactivity much more quickly than expected. Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, is investigating the cause and is not sure when it will restart the system, company spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said. Fresh water is being pumped in to cool damaged reactor cores, and is getting contaminated in the process.
NEWS
August 10, 2011 | By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
TOKYO - Japan's government has decided to lift evacuation advisories in some areas more than 12 miles from the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, opening the way for tens of thousands of people to return home, officials said Tuesday. The advisories warned residents to be prepared to leave in case of worsening conditions at the plant. Although only a warning, many people fled their homes out of fear for their safety or because mandatory evacuation orders in nearby areas deprived them of city services.
NEWS
March 29, 2011 | By SHINO YUASA, Associated Press
TOKYO - Workers have discovered new pools of radioactive water leaking from Japan's crippled nuclear complex that officials believe are behind soaring levels of radiation spreading to soil and seawater. Crews also detected plutonium - a key ingredient in nuclear weapons - in the soil outside the complex, though officials insisted yesterday the finding posed no threat to public health. Plutonium is present in the fuel at the complex, which has been leaking radiation for more than two weeks, so experts had expected to find traces once crews began searching for evidence of it this week.
NEWS
April 21, 2011 | By Eric Talmadge, Associated Press
FUKUSHIMA, Japan - Workers battling the crisis at Japan's stricken nuclear plant suffer from insomnia, show signs of dehydration and high blood pressure, and are at risk of developing depression or heart trouble, a doctor who met with them said Wednesday. The crews have been fighting to get the radiation-spewing Fukushima Dai-ichi plant under control since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled it. "The conditions at the plant remain harsh," epidemiologist Takeshi Tanigawa said.
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NEWS
June 10, 2012 | By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
TOKYO - A panel investigating Japan's nuclear disaster said Saturday the ex-prime minister and his aides caused confusion at the height of last year's crisis by heavily interfering in the damaged and leaking plant's operation. Shuya Nomura, a member of the parliamentary panel, said Naoto Kan's aides made numerous calls to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, often asking basic questions and distracting workers, causing more confusion. They did not follow the official line of communication - through the regulator, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency - under the country's nuclear disaster management law, he said.
NEWS
March 12, 2012 | By Miki Toda and Malcolm Foster, Associated Press
RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan - For Toshiko Murakami, 70, memories of the terrifying earthquake and tsunami that destroyed much of her seaside town and swept away her sister brought fresh tears Sunday, exactly a year after the disaster. "My sister is still missing, so I can't find peace within myself," she said before attending a ceremony in a tent in Rikuzentakata marking the anniversary of the March 11, 2011, disaster that killed more than 19,000 people and unleashed the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter century.
NEWS
February 29, 2012 | By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
OKUMA, Japan - Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima power plant remains fragile nearly a year after it suffered multiple meltdowns, its chief said Tuesday, with makeshift equipment - some mended with tape - keeping crucial systems running. An independent report, meanwhile, revealed that the government downplayed the full danger in the days after the March 11 disaster and secretly considered evacuating Tokyo. Journalists who were given a tour Tuesday of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant saw crumpled trucks and equipment still lying on the ground.
NEWS
February 4, 2012
Amid cold snap, aid for homeless KIEV, Ukraine - Russia and Ukraine both took extra precautions on Friday to protect homeless people after scores of people have frozen to death in Europe during a brutal cold snap. As the continental death toll from the last week rose to at least 175 on Friday, Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered the creation of facilities nationwide to feed and provide medical assistance to the homeless. And in Ukraine, the hardest-hit country, health officials have told hospitals to stop discharging the hundreds of homeless patients after they are treated for hypothermia and frostbite.
NEWS
January 20, 2012 | By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
TOKYO - Radiation-blurred images taken inside one of Japan's tsunami-hit nuclear reactors Thursday showed steam, unidentified parts, and rusty metal surfaces scarred by 10 months' exposure to heat and humidity. The photos that were the first inside look since the disaster found none of the reactor's melted fuel or its cooling water, but confirmed stable temperatures and showed no major damage or ruptures caused by the earthquake in March, said Junichi Matsumoto, spokesman for the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Pipes and grates inside the reactor's containment vessel were seen in some images.
NEWS
December 15, 2011 | By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
TOKYO - Japan is poised to declare its crippled nuclear plant virtually stable nine months after a devastating tsunami, but the facility still leaks some radiation, remains vulnerable to earthquakes, and shows no prospect of cleanup for decades. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said last week that temperatures inside the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant's three melted reactor cores were almost consistently below the boiling point and that radiation leaks had significantly subsided - two key conditions in a hoped-for "cold shutdown.
NEWS
October 1, 2011 | By Eric Talmadge, Associated Press
TOKYO (AP) — Japan lifted some evacuation advisories around the tsunami-devastated Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant Friday to reassure tens of thousands of residents who fled the worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl that it is safe to return home. A 12-mile (20-kilometer) no-go zone remains in place around the plant, which was badly damaged by the March 11 tsunami that left nearly 20,000 people dead or missing across Japan's northeast coast. But officials said the advisories for five municipalities 12-19 miles (20-30 kilometers)
NEWS
August 28, 2011 | By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
TOKYO - The amount of radioactive cesium that has leaked from the tsunami-hit Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant is about equal to 168 of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, Japan's nuclear agency said Friday. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency supplied the estimate at a parliamentary panel's request. But, it noted, a simple comparison between an instantaneous bomb blast and a long-term leak is impossible and the results could be "irrelevant. " The report provided estimates of each of the 16 isotopes released from the atomic bomb and 31 of those detected at the Fukushima plant but did not give a total.
NEWS
June 19, 2011 | By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press
TOKYO - A system to clean massive amounts of contaminated water at the site of Japan's nuclear disaster was shut down Saturday, just hours after it began full operations, because a component filled with radioactivity much more quickly than expected. Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, is investigating the cause and is not sure when it will restart the system, company spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said. Fresh water is being pumped in to cool damaged reactor cores, and is getting contaminated in the process.
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