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Japan mulls ‘caution zones’ around Fukushima

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Al Jazeera
April 20, 2011

Authorities in Japan are considering restricting access to the evacuation zone around Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex in a bid to limit the radiation exposure of residents who may wish to return to their homes.

Yukio Edano, the country’s chief cabinet secretary, said on Wednesday that the government was considering setting up “caution zones” in order to limit entry to the affected areas, but it remains unclear when such a ban may be imposed.

Between 70,000 and 80,000 people were living in the 10 towns and villages within 20 kilometres of the Fukushima power plant, which has been leaking radiation since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled its power and cooling systems.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant’s operator, has now begun pumping highly radioactive water from the basement of one of the turbine buildings into a makeshift storage area, in what is being seen as a crucial step towards enabling repair work on the cooling systems.

Removal of the 25,000 metric tons of contaminated water that has collected in the basement of the turbine building for Unit 2 is expected to take at least 20 days, nuclear safety officials say. In total, 70,000 tons of contaminated water will need to be disposed of from across the plant and trenches around it in a process that could take months.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 2:33 am

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