Fukushima a “ticking time bomb” — Fires now “raging” near nuclear plant — Blaze doubles in size; “Smoke rising from wide areas” — Concern over fallout of highly radioactive material; Officials closely watching radiation levels (VIDEO)

Published: May 1st, 2017 at 2:28 pm ET
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NHK World, May 1, 2017 (emphasis added): Wildfire continues in Fukushima — A wildfire has been raging for more than 2 days near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant… The area is part of a zone designated as “no-entry” due to high radiation levels… Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures and the Self-Defense Forces are using helicopters to fight the blaze. They are also looking at the possibility of using ground crews. Footage from an NHK helicopter on Monday morning showed smoke rising from wide areas and fires burning in several locations

Mainichi, May 1, 2017: Wildfire rages in highly radioactive Fukushima mountain forest — A fire broke out in a mountain forest near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on the evening of April 29, consuming an area approximately 20 hectares in size, according to prefectural authorities… As the fire continued to spread, however, helicopters from the GSDF, Fukushima Prefecture and other parties on May 1 resumed fire extinguishing operations from around 5 a.m. … As of May 1, there were no major changes to radiation levels in the heart of Namie and other areas near the fire scene, according to the Ministry of the Environment. “We will continue to closely watch changes in radiation doses in the surrounding areas,” said a ministry official.

Common Dreams, May 1, 2017: Sparking Fears of Airborne Radiation, Wildfire Burns in Fukushima ‘No-Go Zone’; Contaminated forests such as those outside fallout sites like Fukushima and Chernobyl ‘are ticking time bombs’ — A wildfire broke out in the highly radioactive “no-go zone” near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant over the weekend, reviving concerns over potential airborne radiation… Local officials were forced to call in the Japanese military… In a blog post last year, Anton Beneslavsky, a member of Greenpeace Russia’s firefighting group who has been deployed to fight blazes in nuclear Chernobyl, outlined the specific dangers of wildfires in contaminated areas. “During a fire, radionuclides like caesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium rise into the air and travel with the wind,” Beneslavsky wrote. “This is a health concern because when these unstable atoms are inhaled, people become internally exposed to radiation.” Contaminated forests such as those outside fallout sites like Fukushima and Chernobyl “are ticking time bombs,” scientist and former regional government official Ludmila Komogortseva told Beneslavsky. “Woods and peat accumulate radiation,” she explained “and every moment, every grass burning, every dropped cigarette or camp fire can spark a new disaster.”

Sputnik News, May 1, 2017: Japanese Authorities Fighting Wildfire in Evacuation Zone Near Fukushima NPP… There were no reports either about the wind direction or the changes in the background radiation level in relation to the fire.

See also: Fires burning near Fukushima plant — Officials ask Japan gov’t to send in troops to help fight blaze — Strong winds hindering firefighters (VIDEO)

Watch Mainichi’s video here

Published: May 1st, 2017 at 2:28 pm ET
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171 comments

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