Japan Chemical Plant Explosion: Radioactive Depleted Uranium on Site

By Diane Creston

According to a news report from the Russian website group, RIANOVOSTI, there was an explosion at a chemical plant in western Japan on Sunday.

The NHK TV channel reported that the blast killed one worker and injured 17, including nearby residents. The explosion occurred at Mitsui Chemicals’ Iwakuni-Ohtake facility in the Yamaguchi prefecture.

The blast, which broke windows of about 270 buildings, including nearby houses, hit the adhesive plant shortly after 2 a.m. local time. A 22-year-old worker was killed and 11 others were injured. The hands and heads of six people were cut by broken glass.

A second blast occurred in the compound shortly after 8 a.m. local time, but no one was injured.

Mitsui Chemicals has said production at the plant was halted on Saturday after trouble at another plant, which helped avoid large casualties.

Fire fighters are working at the site of the accident.

The government has not stated that the depleted uranium is stored at the complex, It claims there has been no release of toxic materials from the fire. There are a number of companies that store radioactive waste on the premise, and Mitsui Chemical’s complex in Yamaguchi Prefecture is one of them.

A blogger has found Information from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) that lists companies that have radioactive waste on the premise. According to the MEXT data from 2009, the complex has 3,379 containers of nuclear waste. This is very close to the Iwakuni US base.

Another wake up call worldwide. The question is, what steps will be taken to stop the use of nuclear power plants? According to Greenpeace International, nuclear power plants are, next to nuclear warheads themselves, the most dangerous devices that man has ever created.

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