Nuclear plants in Japan risk meltdown

Discussion in 'Ian's Corner' started by Ian Gills, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    I find it funny that the US is always condemned. If we help, we are condemned for interfering, and people ask, " why are they there?" and some add, that we are trying to run the world; if we don't help, we are condemned for not helping. If we think of our country first, we are condemned. We are simply damned if we do and damned if we don't.
  2. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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    There is no condemnation. But somebody has to ask the tough questions.

    And it's America that taught me to do that. I am thankful it did.
  3. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Sure, their is condemnation. America has always been the one the finger has been pointed at, we are always in the no-win, no-win situation. It doesn't matter if we help or we don't help, the results are certainly, going to be the same for us. I read the one part, where you mentioned about risking the lives of some American soldiers like we are disposable. Other countries got to learn something, that if you want to play ball, you got to learn the game. In other words, to go the distance in making things safe, safe, as safe as possible, to depend on their own resources, too, not just the USA's. It is what it is Ian. If incapable to do something, or don't have the resources, or even, in this case, the location where to place a nuclear power plant, then, simply do not do it. Look for other means to find a solution to the needs of their population. Why simply, are our lives disposable? They are not. You may think you find many things wrong with our country, but we still are the best in the world. You got to ask yourself why this is so. Why is it all the other countries look at us when they find their country in a dilemma. Why are we to get involved when we get condemned and sacastically looked upon, as the police of the world.
  4. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    To offer to help is one thing, but to be expected to, is another.
    Have they even asked?

    I know people who want your help, but they won't ask. It makes me not want to help. Ask for help, not expect it. Show gratitude when someone offers help, or gives it, when asked.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  5. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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    I did not say they were.

    I wanted to simply hint at the fact that the US has lost, to-date, over 6,000 servicemen and women in the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. And for what?

    And yet not a single life is put in harms way to save potentially thousands from the nuclear fall out in Japan. Your ally. And the third richest country in the world.

    For example, the US has just said that it will consider, but not guarantee, any request from the Japanese to send any member of its military into the 50 mile exclusion zone. Thanks guys.

    The lesson from all this is that we need to stop fighting wars and start helping each other out more.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  6. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    No one remembers that we blew off dozens of huge hiroshima x5 size bombs in NEVADA in the 50's and 60'S? In the air???? You guys in Ohio and Wisconsin got a dose like the fireman in Japan today.

    Hello! thats about 500 chernobyls, and most of us are still alive. Then you have Hiroshima, Where many of your Japanese cars are being made now, with 5 times the population after the bomb dropped. Good morning America.

    Then you have Bikiini Island, where life thrives boldly after total nuclear destruction.

    And people in Bulgaria are lining up to buy iodide! 6000 mile from japans little fart of gas.

    And in the basements of many east coast houses, the radiation levels from radon gas are like inside a containment building.

    Take it easy - have a big cigar and drink a bottle of red wine to wash down that nasty seaweed sheet.

    Better to buy from the locals, but get ready for a winter of potatoes and cabbages. After Chernobyl, little food contaminants were found in western and most of eastern europe. And they were only 500 to 2000 miles from the big blow, which went directly their way. Depending on the wind and rain, Iowa may get more 'radioactivity' than california.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2011
  7. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    I can safely assume you were never treated for cancer with chemo then. Or rads. Or your attitude wouldn't be so casual. Chemo is a really REALLY hard thing to do. I can't tell you how hard a thing to do. Yet, I did it for 5 years and 3 months, tied to a pink chair. I would had rather been anywhere short of the afterlife. Treating cancer is no walk in the park nor for the weak. On a good day, I was able to stand up.
  8. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/CHERN...wth, cancer, stomach problems,...-a0144552045

    Byline: ANTON ANTONOWICZ in Ukraine

    THE temperature registers four degrees below freezing. The radiation meter registers red "ALARM".

    We're standing 200 yards from the concrete sarcophagus sarcophagus (särkŏf`əgəs) [Gr.,=flesh-eater], name given by the Greeks to a special marble found in Asia Minor, near the territory of ancient Troy, and used in caskets. that entombs reactor 4 at Chernobyl, site of the world's worst nuclear accident. We are allowed less than two minutes to do so.

    It is 20 years since the reactor overheated and exploded during a bungled
    electrical test. Another generation has been born. It, too, is about to produce families.

    And their children are fated - like so many of their parents before them - to be victims of Chernobyl.

    A report about to be published by Greenpeace suggests that at least 30,000 people will die around the world from cancers caused by the catastrophe which unfolded in 44 seconds after operators activated their "experiment" at 1.23am on April 26, 1986.

    Other studies claim 180,000 will die. Ukrainian statisticians produce figures of more than 500,000 deaths in Ukraine alone. No one knows for sure. But all fly in the face of Verb 1. fly in the face of - go against; "This action flies in the face of the agreement"
    fly in the teeth of
    go against, violate, break - fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns; "This sentence violates the rules of syntax" the International Atomic Energy Agency's estimate last year that no more than 4,000 will eventually die.

    We discovered the real cost of this catastrophe. Hospitals staggering under a relentless tide of children with leukaemia Children With Leukaemia is a registered charity (no. 298405) inaugurated in 1988 by Diana, Princess of Wales in memory of Jean and Paul O'Gorman. The charity supports and organises events and money raising to aid children struck with leukaemia. , thyroid cancer Thyroid Cancer
    Definition

    Thyroid cancer is a disease in which the cells of the thyroid gland become abnormal, grow uncontrollably, and form a mass of cells called a tumor. , intestinal problems. Once-strong men barely able to walk. Women having to abort one in three pregnancies after scans showed deformities.

    "They assured us that we would fulfil our dream of having a peaceful atom in every home," says Konstantin Tatuyan, 56, a radio engineer who spent seven years as a "liquidator", cleaning Chernobyl's contaminated remains. "But it was no dream. It was the Devil's nightmare."

    I thought of him as I stood in the power plant's observation room. He helped build it. Now he is an invalid with arteriosclerosis arteriosclerosis , chronic bronchitis, diabetes, thyroid swelling. Of his 11 colleagues, four are dead.

    When he suffered his last heart attack the hospital refused to send an ambulance. It did not want an irradiated liquidator contaminating the building and staff. Liquidators were once hailed as heroes.

    More than 600,000 helped the clean-up. Most of those first to arrive, particularly the firefighters, died early. For others it took longer.

    We travel to Pripiat, a mile from the plant. It was evacuated 36 hours after the blast. Its 52,000 people were told they would be back within three days. They never returned.

    Now it is a city of the dead. A restaurant, hotel, Palace of Culture and sports stadium ring a square once blazing with red roses. Around them are five-storey blocks of flats, windowless, trashed, looted.

    The hotel roof is buckling after 20 seasons of snow. Trees, some 30ft high, sprout on the centre spot of the football pitch. A yellow Ferris wheel rusts in the playground. My dosimeter
    an instrument used to detect and measure exposure to radiation. crackles with radiation.

    IRINA, our translator, begins to cry when we enter the kindergarten and see little shoes, rotting rag dolls, twisted iron beds.

    And mini gas masks from a safety drill two days before the explosion, redundant symbols of safety against an unscented, invisible killer.

    The snow lies a foot deep. The wild boar shelter here at night. So do the wolves. The river abounds in giant catfish. It is wildlife as nature intended. Untended. Mushrooms, berries, bright green moss. All irradiated.

    And, at its centre, this city like a forgotten set from Mad Max - or a snapshot of the apocalypse.

    Though the villages seem abandoned, there are returnees. Maria and Mikhail Urupa receive us like relatives. They live at house No 39 in Parishev village. There used to be 700 villagers. Now there are 15. There are no children.

    The couple, both 71, returned in 1987. They say this is their land, the place of their ancestors. Maria says: "Thank God, we must be loved by Him because we are still healthy. Many of the people who were relocated died quickly. Of course, some here are sick. But not us. Why? I don't know. But I'm positive we'd have died if we had been relocated."

    They keep chickens and turkeys and grow vegetables. A food lorry brings supplies twice a month. They have a phone, a freezer, a TV and, in a corner, a gold icon of St Ilya which they took from the abandoned parish church "for safe keeping".

    "My son tells us not to eat the mushrooms or berries. I promise not to, but..." Maria adds with a shrug.

    Ivan Gnydenko is eating goulash gou·lash

    2. A mixture of many different elements; a hodgepodge. and potatoes at his home in Chernobyl town. He returned with his two sons seven years ago. "I don't have a dosimeter and I don't care," says the tiny 70-year-old. `"Danger? I don't feel it here. I get headaches and double vision. That's all."

    We travel 500 kilometres east to Budymla, a hamlet in the Polissya marshes. The people live off the forest. The radioactive soot which fell here remains near the surface, absorbed by the plants.

    It is a contaminated zone, with 335 villages more irradiated than many areas far closer to Chernobyl.

    I came after meeting a 10-year-old girl, Yana Molchanovich, in a hospital two hours' drive away. Her thin face was pale as moonlight. She has anaemia anaemia

    see anemia. , kidney disease, stunted growth. She is one of 30 such children receiving treatment there.

    Five-year-old Anastasia Shevnya lies quiet as the chemotherapy line pumps drugs to fight her leukaemia. "She is a child who rarely smiles," says her nurse. "Just a single smile is a present for us."

    But Yana smiles. She laughs as she describes Budymla and all her friends and her family.

    Her mother Valentyna has seven other children. She shrugs: "Chernobyl is a sorrow for the nation. But for me... radiation? I can't feel it, see it. So I'm not afraid of it." Her pretty daughter Svieta is eight but can't run. Her knees are weak from radioactive caesium caesium

    Thyroid cancer multiplied 100 times in children after 1986. Respiratory diseases, birth abnormalities, skin complaints, digestive problems, cataracts, organ malfunction all soared.

    But worse. It is increasing. "And now we see the real nightmare," says Professor Evgeniya Stepanova of the Centre for Radiation Medicine in the capital, Kiev.

    "There is an increase in chromosome aberrations, mutations in DNA DNA: see nucleic acid.
    DNA
    or deoxyribonucleic acid

    One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes. construction. And as time passes there are more and more children being born with these problems.

    "The highest number are the kids born to liquidators. But we don't know for how many generations this will go on.

    "What will happen when such men and women now meet and their children inherit these mutations? The problem is getting worse while world attention is becoming less."

    At Chernobyl itself the sarcophagus is leaking. It will soon be replaced by an all-encompassing concrete arc costing $2billion with a life of 100 years.

    After that, another arc. And another, until we find a way of dealing with a killer lasting thousands of years.

    That is the Chernobyl legacy whose sky-high footprint contaminated half of Europe, including hundreds of farms in North West England
    See also:

    North West England is one of the nine official regions of England. It has a population of 6,853,200[1] and comprises five counties of England – Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire. and Scotland.

    ALEGACY, experts said this month, which caused 1,000 British babies to die of cancer. A legacy for millennia.

    I remember ex-liquidator Majorov Volodamir Antonovich, 69, crying in his hospital bed. "Don't listen to any International Atomic whatnot," he said. "This stuff is killing people.

    "You see the children sick, the newborn with eight fingers and no ears. You see women afraid to give birth. I see my son with his 'Chernobyl necklace' - the scar left after they removed the gland.

    "Ask the men about their ****** problems. Ask many of them if they can perform in bed. That is Chernobyl. Not radiophobia or mass hysteria. It's Chernobyl. It's people not understanding the box of snakes they opened."

    And I think of Einstein's words: "The splitting of the atom has changed everything except our way of thinking and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe."

    It is 20 years since this catastrophe, a generation's span, yet we still cannot measure its unparalleled consequences.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  9. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    The thing which worries me are the people who out of fear will deny the seriousness of it all, without even realizing they are doing it. Kind of like burying your head in the sand.

    We all know those people, ie, people who smoke and laugh it off saying, " we all got to die from something." Yet, those are the very people when something does happen, they can't confront it on.

    It won't be any different I imagine with this going on. I imagine, everyone will eventually, hear someone say that, " we all got to die from something." It is denial.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  10. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Yea... More like cut bait...
  11. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    I have been to Chernobyl and lived with doctors that treat the locals and birth the babies, so I know better than most what un-wanted chemo-therapy is like.

    I think we are all getting cancer because we are living beyond the old norm of about 40 years, and all that crap we put on our lawns back in the 60's. And soda. And MTV

    I am not advocating for nuclear meltdown, just saying that its way overrated.

    Look at the gulf spill. Seems the bacteria gobbled up all the oil!

    [New Yorker article this week]

    Like Woody Allan said; "god only gave me so many heartbeats at birth, so why should I squander them exercising?"
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  12. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Unfortunately, unless you personally have the draino dripped into your veins, or a port in your chest you really do not have a clue of what it feels like. My mother had chemo, and I didn't know what it was like until, I had to use the dreaded stuff. I spent a long time, getting it, nodding off like a drunk from the anti rejection drugs, I breathed out smoke from my mouth, ( when I wasn't smoking it was from the drugs), I had a heart attack after 5 minutes of infusion once on Rituxan, they knew to have the crash cart there because it is a "side effect" of the drug during the first 15 minutes of it, and, I went on to have another one, too. I stopped breathing during one, due to a reaction, and nearly, died. I saw my mom, my dad, 1 aunt, and 6 uncles experience chemo, but until, it was my turn, I truthfully, have to admit, I didn't have a clue. Watching others experience is unlike doing it. It is horrific.

    And, it isn't due to our living beyond 40 years, it is for a variety of reasons, far too many to cite here. But, a biggie... genes. Genes my friend.

    Environment. The lawn service crap you mentioned, which I know of a pathologist whose son has NHL due to the stuff running from their neighbor's lawn into their basement. He had it analyzed and they moved. Not a certainty, but a pretty good maybe for their son Ryan.

    Vaccines. Oh, boy vaccines from the 50's and 60's. SVP 40, the monkey virus they used to base it with.

    And, of course all the nuclear radiation. From the sun, and from us.

    Woody Allen was in denial when he wrote that quote.

    Just being very honest with you. Life changes the minute they start that drip.

    Quite honestly, I will tell you, you have to talk yourself out of wanting to die.

    I would sit there and focus on my 11 and 12 year's faces back when I started... It is that bad. I would think of them, and keep fighting, trying not to acknowledge the pain some chemos caused, and morphine and nothing could stop. I would sit there and think of all the reasons to live and squeeze my eyes, so I wouldn't shed a tear.

    Like my husband would tell me, " you are a trooper."

    Do not make the mistake of thinking you know what it is like, or even remotely, because you cannot.

    Do not understimate the damage caused by this meltdown. Do not take it casually. What it can cause and the pain involved is unthinkable.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  13. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    I suppose the key is not giving up. Good reading for persons on chemo is memoirs from the german death camps.

    Only those that never gave up survived, and of course many of those died too. Genes, luck and perseverence are the ruling forces, but that's pretty close to gambling.

    But then you might get a stupid doctor, and die anyway. No fairness in life.
  14. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Well, my dad was war torn and deaf from battle when he marched into Germany to free those in the camps. I was the son my dad always wanted as I was interested in his memories and listened well. He was shell-shocked, now called, PTSS, his entire life, nothing no one could fix for him. But, his memories made me both compassionate and strong. He explained having battle fatique like this: he would point to his head and say, " never make a fox hole up here." He went on saying, " there is never anyplace to hide, only stay and fight." He was referring I think to his own battles during the war, and seeing the concentration camp suvivors. He would sit and sob, and say, " they should had fought, they should had fought..." He never got over the horror that man can inflict on another.

    But, when I was first diagnosed I remembered him pointing to his head and what he said. I heard his words. Even though the prognosis was less than desired, and my chance was slim to non, I said, " daddy, this is for you." And, I fought! Even when I was told this is going to be horrible, these drugs bring a big man down to his knees and the oncologist ending up apologizing to me; hearing your veins will burn, you won't see for a while, you won't be able to eat and maybe, not be able to drink, even when they told me, that I would turn blue. I mean smurf blue. Eyes and all. My eyes are still blue, green with blue rings around them.

    Genes. Our DNA can be changed permanently due to certain chemicals. Like the vaccines from the 50 and the 60's. Our offspring has that DNA now, and the chance for that word and thought, no one wants or likes to think about.

    Take seriously anything that is a possiblity to cause you to have to go through what I did. I hear people saying, " oh, everything causes cancer, breathing causes cancer." I shudder when I hear that. It is their casual attitude about something so dreadful, something, that makes you rethink living or dying, that makes me shudder. I shudder at their ignorance. I have to walk away...

    You cannot live your life in a bubble, but, I don't stand in a roomful of smokers, I don't go to tanning beds, I live with weeds and crabgrass and I wouldn't visit Japan now, or for a long, long time, even, if I won free plane tickets.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  15. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Interesting....
    Samantha Joye seems to have found what the Bacteria Missed....
    http://gulfblog.uga.edu/

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  16. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Yuk. . .
  17. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    Interesting article about hypersaturated brines, but she did not determine the oil was from BP.

    The gulf is a region of massive natural and now unnatural seeps, and it is well equipped to dispense of either type. The disperants kept it out of the marsh [and opening the gates of the Mississippi] and broke it up into smaller particles that allowed the bacteria to feed happily.

    Corexit seems to be well proven even by the enviro's as better than crude oil, and without any DNA changing effects on life, or less than oil.

    Not to say we should not take BP's billions for their f-up, or continue to study and make better dispersants.

    New Yorker magazine. Latest one I think. The author started out as a mission to impeach BP, but learned that they did a good job after all the hype.

    If we do not build more nuclear, better start drilling like wild today in the gulf.
  18. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    He should have read the book "Defiance", which is now a movie. Some fought.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defiance_(2008_film)

    Or "I survived [and escaped] Auswitzch" by a Slovak Jew. Rudolf Vrba, from my families hometown.

    Probably the best is "Maus", done in cartoon format, by a son that was trying to figure out how his father did not end up with PTSS, or go insane after his suffering.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maus
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  19. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Fact is: Not enough did fight. The amount which died sustantiates that fact. Fear freezes some folks. Denial is another great contributor to folks doing nothing, sometimes, the mind cannot fathom such things can happen. Sad fact about PTSS is so many times it is not recognized as such. Some folks are never diagnosed with it therefore, never treated for it. They might be treated for addictions, rehabiliated over and over, with everyone wondering why it never works. They are reprimanded for not being able to hold a job, for drinking too much, for doing nothing seemingly, with their lives, but some are never treated for the real illness. Not even diagnosed. Then, when they start talking about some trauma you can hear they do not use the first person, they distant theirselves from it, like they are talking about someone else, and it is then, they will say, " I don't know why I didn't go insane." Truth is, they did. For a split second long enough to isolate themselves from the horror of the trauma. Just long enough that in their mind, they find a way to control the pain, the horror the mind cannot sustain, and make it like a movie instead of the real thing. I have volunteered for years working with the veteran's at the VA. Kids especially, will not see it in their fathers or mom's, kids only sees what hurts them. You will hear a kid say, " my dad ( or mom) was never there for me, he never was a "real" dad." Or you will hear a son or daughter, never acknowledge the parent's PTSS, for they see it ( if they even see it) as a weakness, a son will especially, do this and with it, coupled a whole lot of anger. Because it wasn't what they wanted in life, or in a parent to look up to, or be like.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  20. Cookie

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    The "products pose no immediate health risk" ? are they serious?

    By SHINO YUASA and ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Shino Yuasa And Eric Talmadge, Associated Press – 1 hr 4 mins ago

    FUKUSHIMA, Japan – Japan said radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near its tsunami-crippled nuclear complex exceeded government safety limits, as emergency teams scrambled Saturday to restore power to the plant so it could cool dangerously overheated fuel.

    The food was taken from farms as far as 65 miles (100 kilometers) from the stricken plants, suggesting a wide area of nuclear contamination.

    While the radiation levels exceeded the limits allowed by the government, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano insisted the products "pose no immediate health risk."

    Firefighters also pumped tons of water directly from the ocean into one of the most troubled areas of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex — the cooling pool for used fuel rods at the plant's Unit 3. The rods are at risk of burning up and sending radioactive material into the environment.

    The news of contaminated food came as Japan continued to grapple with the overwhelming consequences of the cascade of disasters unleashed by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11. The quake spawned a tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeastern coast, killing more than 7,300 people and knocking out backup cooling systems at the nuclear plant, which has been leaking radiation.

    Nearly 11,000 people are still missing.

    The tainted milk was found 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the plant, a local official said. The spinach was collected from six farms between 60 miles (100 kilometers) and 75 miles (120 kilometers) to the south of the reactors.

    Those areas are rich farm country known for melons, rice and peaches, so the contamination could affect food supplies for large parts of Japan.

    More testing was being done on other foods, Edano said in Tokyo, and if tests show further contamination then food shipments from the area would be halted.

    Officials said it was too early to know if the nuclear crisis caused the contamination, but Edano said air sampling done near the dairy showed higher radiation levels.

    Iodine levels in the spinach exceeded safety limits by three to seven times, a food safety official said. Tests on the milk done Wednesday detected small amounts of iodine 131 and cesium 137, the latter being a longer lasting element and can cause more types of cancer. But only iodine was detected Thursday and Friday, a Health Ministry official said.

    Officials from Edano on down tried to calm public jitters, saying the amounts detected were so small that people would have to consume unimaginable amounts to endanger their health.

    Edano said someone drinking the tainted milk for one year would consume as much radiation as in a CT scan; for the spinach, it would be one-fifth of a CT scan. A CT scan is a compressed series of X-rays used for medical tests.

    "Can you imagine eating one kilogram of spinach every day for one year?" State Secretary of Health Minister Yoko Komiyama said. One kilogram is a little over two pounds.

    Meanwhile, just outside the bustling disaster response center in the city of Fukushima, 40 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of the plant, government nuclear specialist Kazuya Konno was able to take only a three-minute break for his first meeting since the quake with his wife, Junko, and their children.

    "It's very nerve-racking. We really don't know what is going to become of our city," said Junko Konno, 35. "Like most other people, we have been staying indoors unless we have to go out."

    She brought her husband a small backpack with a change of clothes and snacks. The girls — aged 4 and 6 and wearing pink surgical masks decorated with Mickey Mouse — gave their father hugs.

    Low levels of radiation have been detected well beyond Tokyo, which is 140 miles (220 kilometers) south of the plant, but hazardous levels have been limited to the plant itself.

    Nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant began overheating and leaking radiation into the atmosphere in the days after the March 11 quake and the subsequent tsunami overwhelmed its cooling systems. The government admitted it was slow to respond to the nuclear troubles, which added another crisis on top of natural disasters, which officials believe killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than 400,000 others.

    There were signs of progress in bringing the overheating reactors and fuel storage pools under control.

    A fire truck with a high-pressure cannon was parked outside the plant's Unit 3, about 300 meters (yards) from the Pacific coast, and began shooting a stream of water nonstop into the pool for seven straight hours, said Kenji Kawasaki, a spokesman for the nuclear safety agency.

    A separate pumping vehicle will keep the fire truck's water tank refilled. Because of high radiation levels, firefighters will only go to the truck every three hours when it needs to be refueled. They expect to pump about 1,400 tons of water, nearly the capacity of the pool.

    Edano said conditions at the reactors in units 1, 2 and 3 — all of which have been rocked by explosions in the past eight days — had "stabilized."

    Holes were punched in the roofs of units 5 and 6 to vent buildups of hydrogen gas, and the temperature in Unit 5's fuel storage pool dropped after new water was pumped in, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

    "We more or less do not expect to see anything worse than what we are seeing now," said Hidehiko Nishiyama of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

    Although a replacement power line reached the complex Friday, workers had to methodically work through badly damaged and deeply complex electrical systems to make the final linkups without setting off a spark and potentially an explosion. Company officials hoped to be able to switch on the all the reactors' power on Sunday.

    Even once the power is reconnected, it is not clear if the cooling systems will still work.

    The storage pools need a constant source of cooling water. When removed from reactors, uranium rods are still very hot and must be cooled for months, possibly longer, to prevent them from heating up again and emitting radioactivity.

    More workers were thrown into the effort — bringing the total at the complex to 500 — and the safety threshold for radiation exposure for them was raised two-and-a-half times so that they could keep working.

    Officials insisted that would cause no health damage.

    Nishiyama also said backup power systems at the plant had been improperly protected, leaving them vulnerable to the tsunami.

    The failure of Fukushima's backup power systems, which were supposed to keep cooling systems going in the aftermath of the massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake, let uranium fuel overheat and were a "main cause" of the crisis, Nishiyama said.

    "I cannot say whether it was a human error, but we should examine the case closely," he told reporters.

    A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns and runs the plants, said that while the generators themselves were not directly exposed to the waves, some electrical support equipment was outside. The complex was protected against tsunamis of up to 5 meters (16 feet), he said. Media reports say the tsunami was at least 6 meters (20 feet) high when it struck Fukushima.

    Spokesman Motoyasu Tamaki also acknowledged that the complex was old, and might not have been as well-equipped as newer facilities.

    People evacuated from around the plant, along with some emergency workers, have tested positive for radiation exposure. Three firefighters needed to be decontaminated with showers, while among the 18 plant workers who tested positive, one absorbed about one-tenth tenth of the amount that might induce radiation poisoning.

    As Japan crossed the one-week mark since the cascade of disasters began, the government conceded Friday it was slow to respond and welcomed ever-growing help from the U.S. in hopes of preventing a complete meltdown.

    The United States has loaned military firefighting trucks to the Japanese, and has conducted overflights of the reactor site, strapping sophisticated pods onto aircraft to measure radiation aloft. Two tests conducted Thursday gave readings that U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel B. Poneman said reinforced the U.S. recommendation that people stay 50 miles (80 kilometers) away from the Fukushima plant. Japan has ordered only a 12-mile (20-kilometer) evacuation zone around the plant.

    The government on Friday raised the accident classification for the nuclear crisis, putting it on a par with the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania in 1979, and signifying that its consequences went beyond the local area.

    This crisis has led to power shortages and factory closures, hurt global manufacturing and triggered a plunge in Japanese stock prices.

    Police said more than 452,000 people made homeless by the quake and tsunami were staying in schools and other shelters, as supplies of fuel, medicine and other necessities ran short.

    On Saturday evening, Japan was rattled by 6.1-magnitude aftershock, with an epicenter just south of the troubled nuclear plants. The temblor, centered 150 kilometers (90 miles) northeast of Tokyo, caused buildings in the capital to shake.

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