Japan Preparing For Human Die Off
The Fukushima prefectural government has started internal radiation level checks on children under 4 years old who were previously too small to undergo the checks with a standard whole body counter.
The equipment for measuring internal radiation levels is designed for people with the height of adults.
Fukushima officials have now fitted the equipment with a 90-centimeter high chair to allow smaller children to be tested.
The checks, which started on Thursday, cover children who lived in 5 municipalities designated as evacuation zones following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in March 2011.
A father who brought in his 3-year-old son said it is good that the checks have now become available for smaller children but they should have started much earlier.
A Fukushima official, Keiichi Sasa, said parents have been anxious and frustrated by their inability to check the internal radiation levels of their small children.
He said the prefecture plans to make the checks available for more children in Fukushima.
Aug. 1, 2013 - Updated 07:53 UTC
FOREIGN MINISTER KISHIDA TO VISIT UKRAINE
Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will visit Ukraine in late August to discuss bilateral post-nuclear disaster cooperation.
Kishida is expected to exchange views with Ukrainian Cabinet ministers on measures to share the lessons learned from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Kishida says he wants to confirm efforts to strengthen cooperation by exchanging information. The 2 countries are to share technologies to decommission the crippled plants and ways to alleviate health and environmental damage from the accidents.
During the trip, the Japanese minister will also visit Hungary, which plans to build nuclear power plants.
Kishida is to explain the advanced nature of Japan's nuclear technology to Hungarian officials to help promote Japanese firms in that country's reactor project.
The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees Japan as having a responsibility to share the lessons from the Fukushima accident with the international community and to help improve nuclear plant safety.
Aug. 4, 2013 - Updated 03:47 UTC
RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS FOUND NEAR FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI
Highly radioactive materials have been found in a town near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The plant operator says they are likely to have been contaminated in the March 2011 nuclear accident.
Four radioactive objects were found last month and this month on the riverbed of the Ide River that runs through Naraha Town in Fukushima Prefecture.
Tokyo Electric Power Company checked the radioactive cesium in the materials.
The utility says the ratio of cesium 137, whose half-life is about 30 years, is higher than that of cesium 134, whose half-life is about 2 years.
TEPCO says a similar ratio is found in materials more than 2 years after radioactive contamination.
The company says it is trying to identify the objects. It is not known why they were discovered about 15 kilometers from the nuclear plant.
TEPCO officials say it is possible they were blown by hydrogen explosions in the 2011 disaster or were emitted by the plant around that time.
Jul. 23, 2013 - Updated 23:19 UTC
TEPCO TO GIVE FUKUSHIMA WORKERS HEALTH CHECK UPS
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will give free lifelong health check-ups to people who were exposed to high levels of radiation while dealing with the Fukushima nuclear accident and its aftermath.
TEPCO decided to take the step after it found that nearly 2,000 people had higher doses of radioactive cesium in their thyroid glands than the international threshold of 100 millisieverts.
They account for 10 percent of the people who worked at the plant between March 2011 and December 2012.
The utility reviewed the results of the thyroid gland tests on the workers after the government revised its evaluation method for internal radiation exposure.
In March last year TEPCO told the World Health Organization that only 178 people had received radiation doses higher than the threshold.
Officials of the utility say the nearly 2,000 people are eligible to receive ultrasound tests on their thyroid glands once a year for the rest of their lives.
The officials also say they have informed almost all the eligible people but only 37 percent have taken the tests.
Hiroshima University Professor Kenji Kamiya says the plant operator must make every effort to provide heath care for the workers because it remains unclear how the large doses of radioactive cesium will affect their health.
Jul. 19, 2013 - Updated 11:30 UTC