Fresh white smoke rose again Monday from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, caused by an explosion at a building tied to the facility’s No. 3 reactor.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that, according to the head of the nuclear facility, the container vessel surrounding the reactor is still intact. Initial reports suggest that radiation levels rose following the explosion late Monday morning, but Edano said he does not believe there has been a massive leak.
“We are now collecting information on the concentration of radiation,” he said.
Officials are reassuring the public there is no immediate danger but an exclusion zone around the facility has been extended and the evacuation of people from the area now runs into the hundred of thousands.
The 600 residents remaining within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the plant, despite an earlier evacuation order, have been ordered to stay indoors, according to Edano.
Officials earlier said that they were operating on the presumption that there may be a partial meltdown in the No. 3 and No. 1 nuclear reactors at the Daiichi plant. Authorities have not yet been able to confirm a meltdown, because it is too hot inside the affected reactors to check.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the plant, said in a press release late Sunday that radiation levels outside that plant remain high.
At another plant, in Onagawa, authorities early Sunday noted high radiation levels. The International Atomic Energy Agency said later — using information from officials in Japan — levels returned to “normal” and found no emissions of radioactivity” from Onagawa’s three reactors.
“The current assumption of the Japanese authorities is that the increased level may have been due to a release of radioactive material from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant” located 135 kilometers (about 85 miles) north of Onagawa, the agency said.
Food products from Japan will be tested for radiation from today, Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said on Saturday, after the nuclear fallout in Japan.
Its spokesman said it would monitor Japanese produce based on its source and potential risk of contamination. These will include fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood.
‘Samples will be taken for radiation testing and fresh produce will have priority,’ the spokesman said. ‘AVA will continue to closely monitor the situation and its developments.’
Japanese restaurants in Singapore are bracing themselves for a possible shortage of food products from Japan.
Ms Diona Hang, manager at Megumi Japanese restaurant, expects food supplies to be affected, although she will know the full extent only today when the Japanese suppliers get back to work.
Source: CNN, StraitsTimes