Foreign Office updates Japan travel advice

As Japan continues the battle to fix its nuclear power plant, the FO has updated its travel advice.

Travel Insurance News - 07/04/2011

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Britain’s Foreign Office has revised the advice it maintains on travel to Japan, as the Pacific nation continues its battle to recover from the triple-whammy of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. The biggest change is that the FO has lifted its warning against ‘non essential travel to Tokyo’.

However, the FO continues to warn against any non-essential travel to areas lying to the northeast of Tokyo that have been most directly damaged by the tsunami and the earthquake that triggered the disastrous wave. The updated advise comes as engineers at the stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant pumped nitrogen gas into one of the facility’s reactors in a bid to prevent further hydrogen explosions.

An official of TEPCO, the power company that owns the nuclear power plant in northeast Japan, said the procedure was necessary in order to eliminate the risk of a hydrogen explosion within the containment vessel. Yesterday, workers at the facility reportedly sealed a crack through which radioactive water has been leaking into the Pacific Ocean.

Previous efforts to find the source of the leaks and plug them had failed. Plans are going ahead for a controlled release of water containing relatively low levels radioactivity into the sea, as engineers need to make room for other water that contains much higher levels of radioactive materials. The far more toxic water needs to be pumped out of areas of the reactors, so workers can access components and try to repair key systems.

On Wednesday, engineers pumped a special solution composed of liquid glass mixed with a hardening agent inside a maintenance pit near the reactors. Workers working with materials like concrete, shredded newspaper and sawdust had earlier failed to halt the flow of radioactive water out of the plant.

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