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article imageNuclear-powered Submarine May Have Leaked Radiation in Japanese Ports

By Bob Ewing     Aug 7, 2008 in Environment
Over the past two years, a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine has been steadily leaking small amounts of radiation and has viisted 3 Japanese ports.
Last week, the United States notified the Japanese government that the nuclear-powered USS Houston had been leaking water containing a small amount of radiation; apparently the leak has been happening for over two years.
in addition to the three Japanese ports were the submarine stopped, it also visited Guam, Pearl Harbor and the United States.
The United States informed Japan last week but apparently stated that it was unclear when the leak had started.
A recent statement from the U.S. government said the Houston had been leaking radiation from June 2006 to July 2008.
Over that period , the Houston docked at the Japanese ports of Yokosuka, 45 km (30 miles) southwest of Tokyo and in the southern island of Okinawa, as well as at Sasebo, 980 km (610 miles) southwest of Tokyo.
The radiation leak was too small to cause harm.
"We do not think that the amount of leakage would have any impact on humans or the environment," a Japanese foreign ministry official said.
It is possible that the Houston may have also released a small amount of radioactivity into Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and Guam.
Tokyo and Washington have been planning to station a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in Japan.
Last May, local residents and civic groups expressed concern over the deployment of the USS George Washington after a fire on the nuclear-powered warship.
in May. They sought more information about that fire.
"The United States assures strict procedures and prevention systems for nuclear-powered warships coming into port, and Japan is also checking the radiation levels 24 hours a day," the foreign ministry official said.
The Houston radiation leak was a main media event and the foreign ministry criticized for failing to disclose the leak promptly to the government and the public.
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