Radiation in Water Latest Problem for Japan (Upper-Intermediate News Lesson)

With Answers! | Download Free Japan Radiation news lesson plan here: Radiation-Water-Problem-Japan-UppInt-04042011.doc

News Lesson Plan: Warm-up Questions

1)    Are the rivers and beach areas in your city or town polluted? Would you swim there?
2)    Do you worry about the safety of the food you eat? What won't you buy?
3)    Have there been any fundraisers for Japan in your city or town?

Radioactive Water Latest Problem for Japan (April 4th, 2011)

Problems concerning radiation continue to plague Japan. Weeks after being hit by a major earthquake and its resultant tsunami, the nation is struggling to manage radioactive water in its nuclear facilities.
Large amounts of water are needed to stop Japan's nuclear reactors from overheating. In nuclear reactors 5 and 6, however, the growing levels of wastewater pose a threat to the system's power supply. Japanese officials have therefore reluctantly decided to dump 11,500 tonnes of the water into the nearby sea. A spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Hideohiko Nishiyama, commented, “I am not able to say for certain whether or not this will be the last [time], but we certainly would like to avoid releasing any such water into the sea as much as possible.”
Radiation levels in seawater have also increased because of a leak that experts believe is coming from a 20cm crack in nuclear reactor 2. Efforts to fill the crack on Sunday failed. Japan plans to try other methods to stop the leak. In the meantime, a special fence will be put up around the leak to stop the spread of radioactive particles.
Japanese farmers have appealed to the government to lower radiation-level standards for food, which they believe are too stringent. The government, however, has refused to change the safety limits.
The death toll since the earthquake and tsunami of March 11th is now 12,157. An additional 15,500 people are still missing. [240 words]
[Sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12954664 & http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/04/04/japan.nuclear.reactors/index.html]

News Lesson Plan: Comprehension Questions

  1. How has radioactive water reached the ocean?
  2. What is water used for in the reactors?
  3. True or False: Hideohiko Nishiyama has promised this will be the last time the water is released into the sea.
  4. What will Japan do to stop wastewater from leaking into the sea?
  5. True or False: The Japanese government has refused to lower safety standards for food.
  6. True or False: Radiation from the reactors has killed many people.
1 - Water has been dumped into the sea by the government. It has also leaked into the ocean from a crack that experts believe is in reactor number two.
2 - It's used to stop the nuclear reactors from becoming too hot.
3 - False. He only hopes it is the last time.
4 - Japan will put up a special fence.
5 - True.
6 - False. There is no mention of any deaths in the article.

News Lesson Plan: Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.
plague (verb)
pose (a threat/risk/problem) (verb)
leak (noun)
in the meantime
appeal (verb)
toll (noun)
amount of damage
become too hot
unwilling, hesitant
  • plague - trouble
  • resultant - consequent
  • overheat - become too hot
  • pose - present
  • reluctant - unwilling, hesitant
  • leak - hole
  • in the meantime - meanwhile
  • appeal - request
  • stringent - strict
  • toll - amount of damage

News Lesson Plan: Master the Language

Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.
resultant          damage
athlete             plague             injuries
overheat          engine
pose    risk       health
leak      gas
appeal             money
stringent          policy
war      toll
Possible answers
  • The athlete's career was plagued by one injury after another.
  • The Johnson's car's engine overheated on their summer vacation to Arizona.
  • Drinking water from the tap can pose health risks in many countries.
  • I was reluctant to go to school because of my bad haircut.
  • Dangerous gas leaked out of the heating system.
  • University professors have appealed to the government for more money.
  • My company has a stringent policy regarding absences.
  • The toll of dead in the war has reached two million.

News Lesson Plan: Vocabulary Focus

Term: in the meantime (synonym: in the meanwhile, meanwhile)

Definition:  while something else is happening or until something else happens

Example: “Japan plans to try other methods to stop the leak. In the meantime, a special fence will be put up…”

Read and complete the below sentences where necessary.
  • I'll start washing the dishes. In the meantime, please take out the vegetables and cut them.
  • Phillip will see his doctor again in a week. In the meantime, his doctor told him to .
  • . I have started studying Spanish in the meantime.
  • . In the meantime, .
Possible answer
  • Phillip will see his doctor again in a week. In the meantime, his doctor told him to take his medicine and rest.
  • I will move to Barcelona next summer. I have started studying Spanish in the meantime.
  • Class doesn't start for another ten minutes. In the meantime, let's review our notes.

News Lesson Plan: Discussion Questions

(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish).

  1. What is your opinion of nuclear energy? What type of energy do you support?
  2. Concerning the production of energy, which is the most important consideration: human value or environmental risk?
  3. What effects could the problems in Japan have on you, if any?
  4. Where do you draw the line between worrying about safety and living your life?
  5. How do you think your country would handle such a disaster?
  6. Could you live in an area that could have a natural disaster at any moment?
  7. Would you consider donating money to help the Japanese?

News lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com

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2 comments on “Radiation in Water Latest Problem for Japan (Upper-Intermediate News Lesson)

  1. West Turly (Posted on 12-14-2011 at 14:52) Reply

    Fantastic! I am an ESL teacher looking for interesting easy to use lesson plan for students at all levels. This is the first sight I will make a donation to for the quality and ease of use. My only suggestion is to give a lesson name at the top of the download.

  2. admin (Posted on 12-15-2011 at 19:13) Reply

    Hello West. Thanks for the positive feedback. Your donation would be appreciated! And thank you for your suggestion. All the newer lesson plans have the lesson title at the top of the Word document. Cheers.
    Matthew Barton

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