Light northerly wind forecast near Japan nuclear plant

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 8:01 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Light wind from the north is forecast for the area around Japan's crippled nuclear reactor, blowing toward parts of the greater Tokyo region, the weather agency said Wednesday.

The weather is important for gauging if traces of radiation leaking from the plant will reach heavily populated areas, enter the food chain, or blow out over the ocean.

The damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), is about 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

Over four hundred engineers, in addition to military, police and fire department personnel, have been battling inside the danger zone to try to cool down the reactors.

Winds near the plant will blow at a speed as fast as 5 meters (16 feet) per second, the Meteorological Agency in Fukushima said, forecasting that the wind could begin blowing from the northwest from the evening.

Traces of radiation exceeding national safety standards have so far been found in milk and vegetables from areas around the plant.

Tiny levels of radioactive iodine have also been found in tap water in Tokyo, one of the world's largest cities, and traces of radiative substances had been found in the Pacific Ocean.

(Reporting by Kazunori Takada, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)