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Concerns over radiation remain

[ 2012-03-12 10:33]     字号 [] [] []  
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One year after the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, a coastal prefecture in northeastern Japan, concerns still remain globally and nationally over radiation.

The accident occurred after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, triggered a tsunami, flooding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Cooling devices inside the plant malfunctioned, causing the meltdown.

TEPCO, the owner of the plant, became the target of public frustration after the disaster andhas been bombarded by the media over the last year.

The Japanese government has created a 20-km "no-go-zone" around the plant. Unlicensed vehicles and people are not allowed to enter. A group of teachers from Fukuoka Prefecture in Southwest Japan visited one of the major checking posts south of the plant on Saturday.

One of the teachers told China Daily that people in her town are still worried about radiation exposure.

Another female teacher used a monitoring device to measure the radiation level outside the plant. It showed that the radiation level was higher just above the surface of the ground.

Fukushima Prefecture's Futaba County, home to the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants, has suffered serious soil contamination because of the radiation.

Japanese Environment Minister Goshi Hosono delivered a proposal on Saturday suggesting the construction of three transitional storage facilities in three different towns to contain the polluted soil.

A disposal site has also been proposed to be built to store ash after the debris is burned.

The compensation process is underway as TEPCO's president promised on Friday to expand compensation to include more homeless people.

Analysts said the tragedy may have been "preventable", as TEPCO should have protected the Daiichi plant's emergency power supplies by moving them to higher ground or by placing them in waterproof bunkers.

Even though the cooling device and diesel generators broke down, the plant should have utilized a prepared backup water container that requires no additional power or steam to cooldown the reactors "within the first hour and a half", said a researcher with Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

Moreover, Tokyo's failure to follow international safety standards and previous lessons of nuclear disclosures contributed to the accident, Washington-based think tank Carnegie Foundation said in a report on March 6.


1. What magnitude was the earthquake?

2. How far is the ‘no-go-zone’ around the plant?

3. What did TEPCO’s president promise to expand on Friday?


1. 9.0.

2. 20 km.

3. Compensation to include more homeless people.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Concerns over radiation remain

About the broadcaster:

Concerns over radiation remain

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.