Japan satellites to monitor Fukushima, Chernobyl

Jun 19, 2014
This picture taken on April 15, 2014 shows a facility to pump up underground water at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant

Two Japanese satellites will be launched from Russia late Thursday to monitor environmental damage near the crippled nuclear plants in Fukushima and Chernobyl, officials said.

The Ukrainian-designed Dnepr rocket carrying 33 satellites, including the two, will lift off at 1911 GMT from a in the Urals region.

The University of Tokyo developed the two satellites—the Hodoyoshi-3 and Hodoyoshi-4—on a relatively slim budget of 300 million yen (about $2.9 million) each.

"The satellites have a number of missions and monitoring the two is part of them," said project leader Shinichi Nakasuka, a professor at the Japanese state-run university.

Under the plan, the two satellites will take photos of the two and their surroundings regularly receive data, including radiation levels, from instruments near the two plants.

"I hope that the data will help Japan and Ukraine correctly acknowledge the impact on the environment near the two plants," Nakasuka said.

The two satellites will also monitor river levels globally, and "22 countries such as Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Bangladesh will receive the data as part of efforts to avoid damage from major floods", he added.

The launch, which had been planned for last year, fell behind schedule, but Nakasuka said the delay was not caused by the political situation in Ukraine.

The world's worst civilian nuclear accident took place in Ukraine in 1986, at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Thirty people were killed in an explosion and a further 2,500 died of related illnesses.

In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan's northeastern region and sent nuclear reactors in Fukushima into meltdown.

Full decommissioning of the plant at Fukushima is expected to take several decades. An area around the plant remains out of bounds, and experts warn that some settlements may have to be abandoned because of high levels of radiation.

Explore further: Ukraine, Japan to monitor Chernobyl and Fukushima from space

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan vows to continue nuclear plant exports

Aug 05, 2011

Japan said Friday it will continue exporting atomic power plants, despite uncertainty over its own use of them as it continues to grapple with a crisis at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant.

Japan sees future business in Fukushima cleanup

Mar 08, 2014

(AP)—There is something surprising in the radioactive wreck that is the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant: opportunity. To clean it up, Japan will have to develop technology and expertise that any ...

Recommended for you

Malaysia air quality 'unhealthy' as haze obscures skies

10 minutes ago

Air quality around Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur and on Borneo island was "unhealthy" on Tuesday, with one town reaching "very unhealthy" levels as haze—mostly from forest fires in Indonesia—obscured skies.

Worldwide water shortage by 2040

10 minutes ago

Two new reports that focus on the global electricity water nexus have just been published. Three years of research show that by the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population ...

Regulations only a first step in cutting emissions

1 hour ago

Intensifying calls for action on climate change have led to a variety of proposed regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions from specific sources of the economy, including, most recently, the environmental ...

The five most poisonous substances

1 hour ago

With the announcement of an inquiry into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, talk of poisons is back in the news. There are many articles with lists of the most poisonous substances, which are often gathered based on their acute toxicity as measured by something called LD ...

User comments : 0