Japanese MP drinks water from Fukushima plant

A Japanese MP has drunk water collected from a radioactive puddle inside the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to prove it was safe.

Last Updated: Nov 01, 2011, 18:26 PM IST

Tokyo: A Japanese MP has drunk water
collected from a radioactive puddle inside the crippled
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, after journalists challenged
him to prove it was safe.

Yasuhiro Sonoda, a Lower House member from the ruling
Democratic Party of Japan, appeared nervous and his hands
shook as he downed a glass during a televised news conference.

The water he drank was taken from puddles under two
reactor buildings. It is decontaminated before being used for
tasks such as watering plants.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami had wrecked
nuclear power plant, causing partial meltdowns in three of its
reactors.

Sonoda, also parliamentary secretary for the cabinet
office, said he drank the water after journalists repeatedly
prodded him during previous news conferences to "prove" the
environment around the stricken plant is safe, as claimed by
the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

"Just drinking (decontaminated water) doesn`t mean
safety has been confirmed. I know that," Sonoda was quoted as
saying by Kyodo news agency.

"Presenting data to the public is the best way."

Tepco has been removing radioactive cesium from
contaminated water from units 5 and 6 by reducing the density
of the substance to less than 50 becquerels per litre.
Decontaminated water is then used within the compound for
various purposes but not for drinking.

A 20km exclusion zone is still in force around the
plant, and tens of thousands of people have had to abandon
their homes.

PTI