A JAPANESE POLITICIAN has drunk a glass of water taken from a radioactive puddle in the crippled Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant during a news conference in order to prove that it is safe.
Yasuhiro Sonoda, the parliamentary secretary for the Cabinet Office, insisted that the water – which was collected from the damaged nuclear plant before being decontaminated – was not harmful, reports the Guardian.
Huge amounts of water were used in an attempt to cool down the reactors after disaster struck last March, but while much of that water is undergoing decontamination and being used for tasks around the site, it has not been released for human consumption.
The BBC reports that Sonoda appeared nervous and that his hands shook as he drank the liquid, after he was challenged by reporters during a press conference to substantiate his assertions that it was safe.
After drinking the water, Sonoda seemed keen to make clear the act was not a publicity stunt, saying: “I am aware that just drinking [the treated water] doesn’t in itself mean that safety has been confirmed. The best way to do that is to present data to the public.”
The Japanese government will allow journalists to visit the site on 12 November for the first time since an earthquake and tsunami devastated the region. A 20km exclusion zone is still in place around the vicinity of the plant, which suffered three partial meltdowns in the disaster.
The Telegraph reports that the process of decontaminating the area around the damaged Fukushima plant could take as many as 30 years, and thousands of people from the area remain displaced.