The Chinese Embassy in Japan on Sunday issued an alert to its nationals who have plans to travel in Japan, reminding them of the high-level radiation inside a damaged reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the facility’s operator, announced last week that the radiation levels detected inside the plant’s No. 2 reactor had reached 650 Sieverts per hour, even higher than the previous record of 530 Sieverts per hour in January.
Even with a 30 percent margin of error, the reading is described by many experts as “unimaginable.” It is much higher than the 73 Sieverts an hour, which was detected in 2012, one year after the nuclear plant’s collapse. Under such exposure, a person would only be able to survive a few minutes at most.
The TEPCO on Thursday sent a remotely controlled robot into the reactor, equipped with a camera that is designed to withstand up to 1,000 Sieverts of cumulative exposure. The robot was pulled out after it broke down only two hours into the probe.
The company is planning to send better robots to conduct more detailed probes. However, it insists that radiation has not leaked outside the reactor.
Last week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China has issued safety alerts to its nationals over the high-level radiation. He added that China hopes that the Japanese government could clarify how they are going to thoroughly eliminate the impact caused by the nuclear accident.
Six years have now passed after three reactors at Fukushima’s nuclear power plant were damaged by a devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake and a subsequent tsunami on March 11, 2011. After the accident, the local government ordered residents living within 30-kilometer radius around the Fukushima nuclear plant to evacuate.
14 arrested for smuggling irradiated seafood in Shandong
Customs authorities in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province, detained 14 people for smuggling frozen seafood from Japan, including irradiated high-end seafood from waters near Fukushima prefecture, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Monday.
The group has smuggled over 5,000 tons of frozen seafood – including shrimp and king crab – valued at 230 million yuan ($34.5 million) into China over the past two years, according to an announcement by the Qingdao Customs District (QCD) posted on its official website on Monday.
Some of the high-end products were from Fukushima, one of 12 Japanese prefectures from which China has banned any seafood imports due to the contamination of their waters after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, according to CCTV.
Before sending the products to Shandong, smugglers transferred the seafood from Hokkaido to Vietnam, where they changed the items’ packaging and altered their production dates to evade taxes and avoid quarantine, Li Fudong of the QCD Anti-Smuggling Department told CCTV.
An investigation by officers from the Anti-Smuggling Department in the neighboring city of Yantai traced some low-priced seafood on the local market to a Shandong-based import corporation that had opened branches in East China’s Fujian Province, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Northeast China’s Liaoning Province.
Qingdao preventive officers arrested the smuggling group’s head in June after he returned to China from the US.
Most of the smuggled seafood products were sold in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Shandong-based dzwww.com reported.
An expert from a tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research center who asked for anonymity told the Global Times on Monday that radioactive nuclear materials can cause irreversible damage to the human body at the cellular level. The expert said such radiation can even damage our DNA and may be present in the body for many years before symptoms occur.
She said that remaining nuclear material may still affect sea life in the waters surrounding the Fukushima site, even though five years have passed since the nuclear accident.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued notice to its citizens warning of safety problems regarding the Fukushima nuclear leak, said the ministry’s spokesperson.
Hong Lei also urged Japan to explain to the world with a responsible attitude on the impact of the leak.
Hong said: “Japan should explain clearly to the world with a responsible attitude. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued notice reminding people of the related safety problem and I believe Chinese citizens will make proper arrangements for their tours and well protect their own safety.”
He noted that the number of visas issued to Chinese nationals in 2015 was 3.78 million, accounting for around 80 percent of the total number of visas issued and exceeded the total number of visas issued to all nationals in 2014 (approximately 2.87 million).
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., on June 1 admitted, for the first time ever, that its insistence on simply calling the tragedy “nuclear reactor damage” in the past five years had “hidden the truth.”
According to Ken Buesseler, marine radio chemist with the U.S. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear incident were “unprecedented,” since over 80 percent of the leaked radioactive substances have flown into the sea.
BEIJING, June 3 (Yonhap) — China’s foreign ministry said Friday it hopes to strengthen communication with relevant countries such as South Korea to resolve pollution from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
“Japan should take effective measures with responsibility for its people, neighboring countries and the international community,” China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a regular press briefing.
Earlier on Friday, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported that an official from Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator, admitted to concealing the harmfulness of the disaster. It also cited a U.S. expert who said “80 percent of the leaked radioactive substances have flown into the sea.”
Hua urged Japan to beef up its capability to deal with the disaster and provide relevant information to international society in a “timely, comprehensive and accurate” manner.
China has been warning its citizens and organizations to be cautious in visiting Fukushima since the disaster took place, and the suggestion is still valid, Hua said.
A devastating earthquake struck off Japan’s northeast coast in March 2011, triggering a tsunami that led to the reactor meltdown and radiation leak.
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