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Japan imposes fishing ban within 30 km from nuclear discharge area

April 7, 2011 10:56am

Tags: Japan
As some 10,000 tons of radiation-contaminated water from a quake-crippled nuclear plant in Japan was discharged to the sea, Japan has imposed a fishing ban within 30 km radius around the area.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also said Thursday (Manila time) that Japan has restricted the movement of ships along the same 30-km radius.

“It should be noted ... that the movements of all ships, including fishing boats, are restricted within a 30-km zone from the (nuclear power plant) based on the hazardous area set by the Maritime Safety Agency. Also, Fukushima prefecture reported that no fishing has started beyond a 30-km zone from the NPP in this prefecture," IAEA said in its update Thursday (Manila time).

The IAEA said some 10,000 tons of water from the radioactive waste treatment plant and 1,500 tons of subsurface waters stored in the sub-drain pits of Unit 5 and 6 [of the Fukushima nuclear plant] are being discharged to the sea to provide room to store water with higher levels of radioactivity in a safer manner.

Also, the IAEA said nitrogen will be injected into a containment vessel of the nuclear power plant crippled by the magnitude-9 quake that hit Japan last March 11.

It said the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) will inject the nitrogen into the primary containment vessel of Unit 1.

“Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that TEPCO has been authorized to begin injection of nitrogen into the primary containment vessel (PCV) of Unit 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Injection of nitrogen is intended to displace oxygen inside the containment vessel, thereby reducing a risk of explosion due to the combustible combination of hydrogen and oxygen," it said.

Also, the IAEA said TEPCO has stopped a possible leakage from the Turbine building of Unit 2 to the sea via trenches and tunnels used to provide power to the sea water intake pumps and supply of service water to the reactor and turbine buildings.

Coagulation agents (liquid glass) were injected into the holes drilled around the pits to block leakage of water, and the leakage has stopped.

“Work continues to prevent further releases to the sea," the IAEA said.

PNRI: No ‘radioactive’ threat to PHL yet

On Wednesday, Philippine nuclear authorities allayed fears about “low-level" radiation-contaminated water from a quake-stricken nuclear plant in Japan reaching the Philippines.

The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) said the radioactive isotopes would have been washed away and become “negligible" by the time water from the affected area reaches the Philippines.

“The DOST-PNRI does not expect that the Philippine waters will be threatened by the discharge of radiation contaminated water from the Fukushima plant. Cesium and iodine are soluble in water. The Pacific Ocean is so vast with its sheer volume and depth that the radioactive contaminants will be very much diluted and will not pose harm to the Philippine public and marine organisms," it said in its information bulletin.

It also said modeling of the dispersion of radioactive isotopes in the ocean by the SIROCCO group of the Observatoire Midi-Pyrenees in University of Toulouse in France similarly showed little if any threat to the Philippines.

Citing the SIROCCO modeling results, PNRI said the dispersion of isotopes in the ocean were into the northeast direction and fast dispersion along the Kuroshio current.

“The Philippines is located southwest of Japan. By the time the water current reaches the Philippines, the concentration of radioactive isotopes will be negligible," it said.

However, the PNRI reassured the public it will ensure the safety of the Philippine marine environment by continuously performing radiological surveillance activities and these include collection, monitoring, and analyzes of marine biota for radioactivity.

Earlier this week, the Japanese government allowed the TEPCO to discharge 10,000 tons of low-level contaminated water into the sea.

This is to have sufficient capacity to store highly contaminated water found in the basement of the Unit 2 Turbine building. — LBG, GMA News
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