Japan Nuclear Update: Workers Evacuated Again, Tokyo Water Unsafe for Infants

Beleaguered workers at Fukushima Nuclear Plant were once again evacuated last night, as a plume of black smoke arose from reactor three. The cause of the smoke was unknown, but 'a dangerous mix of both uranium and plutonium fuel the reactor, as well as sit in largely unprotected spent fuel ponds in the same damaged building. Yesterday, the Daily Mailpublished the first photos of the brave Fukushima employees at work, the apparent mundane nature of their tasks -- examining meters, reconnecting power supplies -- amplified by their protective suits and the impending knowledge that they could die.

Despite sweltering heat from the damaged reactors, they must work in protective bodysuits to protect their skin from the poisonous radioactive particles that fill the air around them.

But as more radiation seeps into the atmosphere minute by minute, they know this job will be their last.

As steam emanated from the reactors yesterday -- suggesting protective rods were overheating -- the Tokyo Water Bureau announced that the water there was unsafe for infants to drink, after dangerous levels of radioactive iodine were detected. Area stores were sold out of bottled water in a 'panic,' while the government sought ways to purify water for families with infants. And elsewhere, Iceland, the UK and France prepared for imminent 'tiny' trace levels of radiation sweeping across the sea. As for the US, the latest reports from the West Coast found that thus far they're in the clear, although should trace amounts of radiation reach American shores they'd likely be too 'minuscule' for much alarm. 'The amount that was detected would result in a "dose rate approximately one-millionth of the dose rate that a person normally receives from rocks, bricks, the sun and other natural sources," according to a statement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy.


Read more at Brad Blog.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at March 24, 2011, 4:15am

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