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A decade ago, a massive tsunami crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Three of its reactors melted down, leaving it looking like a bombed-out factory. Emergency workers risked their lives trying to keep one of history’s worst nuclear crises from spiraling out of control. Proper equipment has now replaced ragged plastic hoses held together with tape and an outdoor power switchboard infested by rats, which caused blackouts.
Radiation levels have declined, allowing workers and visitors to wear regular clothes and surgical masks in most areas. But deep inside the plant, danger still lurks. Officials don’t know exactly how long the cleanup will take, whether it will be successful and what might become of the land where the plant sits. Journalists from The Associated Press recently visited the plant to document progress in its cleanup on the 10th anniversary of the meltdowns and the challenges that lie ahead.
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What happened 10 years ago?
After a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on March 11, 2011, a tsunami 17 meters (56 feet) high slammed into the coastal plant, destroying its power supply and cooling systems and causing meltdowns at reactors No. 1, 2, and 3. The plant’s three other reactors were offline and survived, though a fourth building, along with two of the three melted reactors, had hydrogen explosions, spewing massive radiation and causing long-term contamination in the area.
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., says the tsunami couldn’t have been anticipated, but reports from government and independent investigations and recent court decisions described the disaster at the plant as human-made and a result of safety negligence, lax oversight by regulators, and collusion.
What’s inside the melted reactors?
About 900 tons of melted nuclear fuel remain inside the three damaged reactors, and its removal is a daunting task that officials say will take 30-40 years. Critics say that’s overly optimistic.
Separate efforts to remove spent fuel from cooling pools inside the reactor buildings were hampered by high radiation and debris and have been delayed for up to five years. If the plant’s pools lose their cooling water in another major quake, exposed fuel rods could quickly overheat and cause an even worse meltdown.
The melted cores in Units 1, 2, and 3 mostly fell to the bottom of their primary containment vessels, some penetrating and mixing with the concrete foundation, making removal extremely difficult. Remote-controlled robots with cameras have provided only a limited view of the melted fuel in areas still too dangerous for humans to go. Plant chief Akira Ono says the inability to see what’s happening inside the reactors means that details about the melted fuel are still largely unknown.
Are there underground leaks?
Since the disaster, contaminated cooling water has constantly escaped from the damaged primary containment vessels into the reactor building basements, where it mixes with groundwater that seeps in. The water is pumped up and treated. Part is recycled as cooling water, with the remainder stored in 1,000 huge tanks crowding the plant.
Early in the crisis, highly contaminated water that leaked from damaged basements and maintenance ditches escaped into the ocean, but the main leakage points have been closed, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) says. Tons of contaminated sandbags used to block the leaks early in the disaster remain in two basements.
Tiny amounts of radiation have continued leaking into the sea and elsewhere through underground passages, though the amount today is small and fish caught off the coast are safe to eat, scientists say.
What will happen to the stored radioactive water?
The 1,000 tanks filled with treated but still radioactive water tower over workers and visitors at the plant.
TEPCO says the tanks’ 1.37-million-ton storage capacity will be full in 2022. A government panel’s recommendation that the water is released into the sea is facing fierce opposition from residents, especially fishermen concerned about further damage to the area’s reputation. A decision on that recommendation is pending.
TEPCO and government officials say tritium, which is not harmful in small amounts, cannot be removed from the water, but all other isotopes selected for treatment can be reduced to safe levels for release. TEPCO has managed to cut the amount of contaminated water to one-third of what it used to be through a series of measures.
What’s it like to visit the plant?
The first thing visitors see is a stylish office building that holds the TEPCO decommissioning unit. In another building, plant workers — about 4,000 per day now — go through automated security checkpoints and radiation measurements. Because radiation levels have fallen significantly following decontamination, full protective gear is only needed in a few places in the plant, including in and around the melted reactor buildings.
On a recent visit, AP journalists donned partial protective gear to tour a low-radiation area: a helmet, double socks, cotton gloves, surgical masks, goggles, and a vest with a personal dosimeter. Full protection gear, which means hazmat coveralls, a full-face mask, a headcover, triple socks, and double rubber gloves, was required at a shared storage pool where fuel relocation from the No. 3 reactor pool was recently completed.
What’s the endgame?
A decade after the accident, Japan doesn’t yet have a plan to dispose of the highly radioactive melted fuel, debris, and waste at the plant. Technology also isn’t advanced enough yet to manage waste by reducing its toxicity. TEPCO says it needs to get rid of the water storage tanks to free up space at the plant so workers can build facilities that will be used to study and store melted fuel and other debris.
There are about 500,000 tons of solid radioactive waste, including contaminated debris and soil, sludge from water treatment, scrapped tanks, and other waste. It’s unclear what the plant will look like when the work there is done. Local officials and residents say they expect the complex to one day be an open space where they can walk freely. But there’s no clear idea if or when that might happen. (VOA/KB)
(nuclear power plant, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Fukushima accident, Japan’s nuclear power plant, nuclear bomb, nuclear energy)
A 35-year-old woman in Uttar Pradesh was given triple talaq by her husband after she refused to dance in orchestra shows. The woman has now lodged an FIR against her husband with Lanka police.
ACP Bhelupur, Pravin Kumar Singh said: "After initial investigation in the complaint of the woman, an FIR against her husband Naseem Ahmed of Mungra Badshahpur area of Jaunpur district, his mother and two sisters has been lodged by Lanka police under sections of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and Dowry Prohibition Act. "The police have started further investigation in this case."
The woman has now lodged an FIR against her husband with Lanka police. | VOA
According to the police, the woman in her complaint mentioned that she was married to Naseem in 2007 and they have two sons and a daughter. In 2015, Naseem and his family forced the woman's father, who is a retired government employee, to give Rs 2 lakhs to get his job of driver in municipal body confirmed.
After this, Naseem started forcing her to dance in orchestra shows and indulge in flesh trade. The woman said that her mother started paying Rs 5,000 to Naseem's family per month to ensure that she was not forced to indulge in immoral activities. She further alleged that in August 2021 she was ousted from home with her children by Naseem, his mother and sisters as she refused to indulge in flesh trade and dance in orchestra to earn money for him.
She said that she kept requesting her husband and in-laws over the phone to take her back. She alleged that when she was talking to Naseem on phone, he gave her 'triple talaq'. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: triple talaq, uttar pradesh, woman, police, husband, orchestra, money, investigation)
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Actor and dancer Susovan Sonu Roy began his career as a western dancer. Bengali Actor Susovan Sonu Roy was a part of the Star Jalsha channel's serial named "Kora Pakhi". He played a negative role in the serial for several months, along with lead actress Parno Mitra. He acted in the Star Jalsha channel's serial "Mohor", and through Mohor, he got "Kora Pakhi", which is the same production house project.
Susovan Sonu Roy debuted with the serial "Anandamoyee Maa", on the Aakash Aath channel. He has also acted in Zee Bangla channel's serial "Jamuna Dhaki," in which he played the role of a neighbour. After that, Susovan Sonu Roy acted in the Star Jalsha channel's serial named "Titli" in which he played a vital role. He has also starred in a serial called "Khelaghor.". People recognised him as an actor after being cast in so many serials.
The Kolkata Actor Susovan Sonu Roy dared to leave his job to follow his dreams in the field of acting. After graduation, he auditioned for many Mumbai based projects, and later on, he auditioned for his hometown, i.e., Kolkata based projects and did workshops under the production house of renowned Directors and Producers for two years (2016 -2018).
A two-member team of Mugdha Dubey and Mahyah Binti Idris from NewsGram interviewed Bengali actor Susovan Sonu Roy, a budding actor and western dancer, about his career, struggle and various issues in the entertainment industry on Saturday.
The Kolkata Actor Susovan Sonu Roy dared to leave his job to follow his dreams in the field of acting. | NewsGram
Readout excerpts from the interview with Susovan Sonu Roy.
Mahyah Binti Idris: Before we begin with this interview, would you like to tell us something about yourself?
SS Roy: So, basically, I am an actor from Kolkata, and I have worked in Bengali TV Serials, and I started my career in the entertainment industry as a western dancer. When I was just five years old, I lost my father in a car accident. Despite my difficult upbringing, my mother never wavered in her commitment of achieving the goals I set for myself.
Mahyah Binti Idris: Despite your mother's wishes, what was the inspiration that made you decide to pursue a career in acting/dancing instead of singing?
SS Roy: I am a firm believer of the fact that inspiration comes from within, and positivity is essential. Things go your way when you're upbeat and optimistic. I enjoy the work I do, and once I started my career in the entertainment industry, there was no turning back, I kept acquiring one project after another. I have always wanted to be an actor, and I am happy that I found my inspiration from within.
Mahyah Binti Idris: You played a negative character in 'Kora Pakhi' for several months. What kind of impact did it have on your professional life after opting for such a role?
SS Roy: I am pretty comfortable in opting for any kind of role I am offered because I believe acting is acting, whether it is a big role, a minor role, a negative or a positive role. I take inspiration from the likes of Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty and John Abraham.
Mahyah Binti Idris: Nowadays, cyberbullying and trolling are getting more frequent. How do you handle trolls or deal with criticism?
SS Roy: Trolls exist just to cause others distress. I ignore all the negativity and don't let it affect me in any way. If anyone lets the negative comments get into their head, they will find it difficult to do anything, as negativity hinders pursuing dreams.
Mahyah Binti Idris: What, in your opinion, is more crucial to long-term success in the field of acting, additional projects or formal training?
SS Roy: Indeed, training about the various techniques used in acting is essential, and once you get into the role, everything comes out naturally but that doesn’t mean one should stop training to become better day by day, training and trying to improve your skills is very important.
Mahyah Binti Idris: Where do you see yourself in a few years, and what projects do you have on your bucket list?
SS Roy: I auditioned for a movie that will feature Kajal Aggarwal in the lead. My ultimate goal is to crack a role in Bollywood. I want to gain as much experience as possible in serials and movies.
Mugdha Dubey: What is the difference in the challenges one faces while struggling to gain a role in regional cinema and Bollywood?
SS Roy: The difference in struggle is huge; it is pretty challenging to get a role in Bollywood. But I believe that experience matters and gives you an edge over others because you are already aware of some techniques used in acting and won't commit the mistakes a fresher does. I got the chance to audition for a movie with the lead as Kajal Agarwal because of my experience.
Mugdha Dubey: Have you ever witnessed nepotism firsthand, or did you ever feel that nepotism is prevalent in the Kolkata film industry?
SS Roy: Nothing can stop you if you put in the effort and stay true to your ambitions. But, one cannot ignore the fact that nepotism is everywhere, be it Bollywood or Tollywood. The acquaintances of artists get easily recognized but that shouldn’t demotivate aspiring actors because your hard work matters and if you keep working hard in the right direction, you will surely get recognized.
Mugdha Dubey: What message or tips would you like to convey to today's youngsters and those who aspire to become actors?
SS Roy: I would encourage the young generation to stand up for what they believe in and make the world a better place for future generations by following your passions and utilizing your inborn talents and abilities. If they aspire to become actors, I would like to tell them that mere luck will not be sufficient to become an actor; the struggle is real. You need to work very hard and train yourself to become an actor. Your success and failure depend on what you do, and the type of content you can produce, and one should always try to improve themselves.
(Keywords: Susovan Sonu Roy, Tollywood, bollywood news, actor, dancer, nepotism, struggle, kolkata, bengali)
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NASA will pay up to $1 million to people who can come up with innovative and sustainable food production ideas to feed astronauts in space, as the US space agency prepares to send astronauts further into the cosmos than ever before. Giving future explorers the technology to produce nutritious, tasty, and satisfying meals on long-duration space missions will give them the energy required to uncover the great unknown. In coordination with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA has launched the 'Deep Space Food Challenge' that calls on teams to design, build, and demonstrate prototypes of food production technologies that provide tangible nutritional products -- or food.
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"Feeding astronauts over long periods within the constraints of space travel will require innovative solutions," said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, DC. "Pushing the boundaries of food technology will keep future explorers healthy and could even help feed people here at home," he said in a statement. Over time, food loses its nutritional value. That means for a multi-year mission to Mars, bringing along pre-packaged food will not meet all the needs for maintaining astronaut health.
Innovative food production technology that produces safe, acceptable, palatable, nutritious food products. |UnsplashUnsplash
In October 2021, Phase 1 of the challenge culminated as NASA awarded 18 teams a total of $450,000 for their concepts for innovative food production technology that produces safe, acceptable, palatable, nutritious food products. NASA now invites both new and existing teams to enter Phase 2 for a prize purse up to $1 million. "Everything needed to store, prepare and deliver food to the crew, including production, processing, transport, consumption, and disposal of waste should be considered," said NASA. Proposed technologies such as plant growth systems, manufactured food products, and ready-to-eat solutions combined could provide the future crews with a variety of options that would provide the needed daily nutrition, it added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : NASA, innovative, food, healthy, idea, astronaut, USA, tasty, technology, space, travel, explorer, health, nutrition, prize, solution, variety.)
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