Japan's quake-damaged nuclear power plant

Japan continues to struggle from the effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and one of the biggest issues facing the nation has been the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The facility is now a grade seven nuclear disaster, which puts it on the same scale as the Chernobyl disaster in Russia during the 1980s.

Radiation from the plant has been found in agricultural sources, too, which has prompted 29 countries and regions to suspend or tighten controls on food and dairy products. Bloomberg reports that radiation fears have prompted the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) to begin testing vehicles for radiation prior to shipments at home and abroad. The move follows steps already being taking by Nissan to test all vehicles prior to shipment.

JAMA has mainly decided to perform the radiation checks to calm the nerves of some customers who have asked if their products are still safe, and so far radiation has been negligible. JAMA tells Bloomberg that, at least so far, foreign countries haven't introduced suspensions or strict measures. One container ship was asked to head back to Japan from China after radiation levels of 3.5 microsieverts per hour were detected. The typical X-ray is 100 microsieverts.

[Source: Bloomberg via The Wall Street Journal| Image: AFP/Getty]