Japanese cabinent official Sonoda drinks water from site of TEPCO plant at Fukushima, Mainichi says

TOKYO (TR) – Japanese lawmaker Yasuhiro Sonoda yesterday drank water taken from beneath the reactors crippled in the Fukushima nuclear disaster to demonstrate the liquid’s safety, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.

Sonada, a parliamentary spokesman for the cabinet office, carried out the stunt with purified water that was extracted from beneath the No. 5 and 6 reactors at the Tokyo Electric Power Company plant in Fukushima Prefecture in a bid to show decontamination efforts are working, the Mainichi said.

He drank the water on live TV and did so after journalists challenged him to prove the area around the nuclear plant was safe, the paper said.

In a study released late last week, scientists from the French government’s nuclear research institute, IRSN, said the amount of radioactive cesium-137 released after the nuclear disaster on March 11, was 20 times higher than reported by the plant’s operator. An earlier study by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research said the Japanese authorities underestimated the amount of radioactive material released by nearly half.

Operations are still underway to contain radioactive materials that continue to leak from that facility as a result of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the plant and the surrounding area. Decontamination efforts are expected to take decades.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun

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