stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Tue Mar 15 14:01:17 EST 2011
Without wishing to be alarmist .. this does not sound good ..
Call for calm as nuke crisis escalates
Updated 20 minutes ago
Japan's prime minister has called for calm after the country's nuclear
emergency took a dramatic turn for the worse this morning.
Radiation levels at the plant spiked to health-threatening levels after
a "huge" explosion hit the Fukushima plant's overheated No. 2 reactor and
authorities said they were assuming the reactor container had been
Reactors 1, 2 and 3 have now all experienced explosions and this morning
authorities confirmed the inactive No. 4 reactor, which contains spent
fuel rods, had caught fire.
Prime minister Naoto Kan told all residents within 20 kilometres of the
plant to evacuate and told everyone between 20km and 30km away to stay
The prevailing winds were blowing from the plant in the direction of
Tokyo, where the French embassy warned French nationals to stay indoors
but said there was no need for panic. The embassy said the fallout from
the plant could reach Tokyo in 10 hours.
Earlier a Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) spokesman said there had been
a "huge explosion" at the No. 2 reactor, where officials had said fuel
rods were exposed and at risk of meltdown.
The government also reported apparent damage to part of the container
shielding the same reactor at Fukushima, 250 kilometres north-east of
Tokyo, although it was unclear whether this resulted from the blast.
Chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano told reporters "damage appears on the
suppression pool" - the bottom part of the container that contains water
used to cool the reactor and control air pressure inside.
A spokesman for the country's nuclear safety agency said TEPCO had told
it that radiation levels in Ibaraki, between Fukushima and Tokyo, had
"The level does not pose heath risks," the spokesman said, without giving
TEPCO said staff were being moved to a "safer area" but said workers who
were pumping water to cool the reactor would remain.
Jiji news agency said this morning's explosion had damaged the roof above
the No. 2 reactor and said steam was rising from the complex.
Two explosions rocked the Fukushima plant's No. 1 and No. 3 reactors on
Saturday and Monday.
Japan has already asked the UN atomic watchdog to send a team of experts
to help stave off a nuclear emergency following the massive quake and
The wind over the Fukushima plant will blow inland from the north-east
and later from the east today, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The direction of the wind is a key factor in judging possible damage to
the environment from any radiation leaks.
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