Japanese engineers are still battling to cool the tsunami-damaged nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant. Overnight, they continued to spray sea water, and they have now succeeded in connecting a power cable to reactor No 2 although power yet has to be switched on. Before this can be done, nearly a mile of cable will have to be laid.
The aim is to re-start cooling pumps at all the plant’s reactors this weekend. In the meantime, the authorities are monitoring the effects of the nuclear leak.
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The Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukiya Edano said: “We have received reports that radiation levels above the levels acceptable by the food safety laws have been detected in milk samples from the Fukushima area and in spinach from the Ibaraki area.”
Sales of edible produce from the Fukushima region have now been banned. In further developments, traces of radioactive iodine have also been found in Tokyo’s tapwater although authorities say that the levels remain within government safety guidelines.
The UN Atomic Watchdog has said that radiation levels in the air across Tokyo are not harmful, and in California the authorities have said that they have detected a miniscule rise in radiation levels as a result of the spill. Experts say dangerous radiation levels are unlikely to spread to other nations.