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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan : Fukushima nuclear plant evacuated after radiation spikes

Via The Guardian, the situation looks grim as it unfolds :

" Workers battling to prevent nuclear meltdown at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant were temporarily evacuated on Wednesday morning after radiation levels became too dangerous for them to remain.

The withdrawal hampered efforts to secure safety at the atomic power plant and avert a major radiation leak. Staff returned to the plant after about an hour once radiation levels fell.

Its operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said it was considering using helicopters to spray the crippled No 4 reactor with water and boric acid – a fire retardant – in an attempt to prevent more radiation leaks.

To compound problems, a fire broke out at the No 3 reactor, where a fuel storage pool had overheated and may have let off radioactive steam. Live TV footage showed a large cloud of light grey smoke rising above the plant.

The government's chief spokesman, Yukio Edano, said Japan was considering seeking help from the US military.

All six of the plants reactors are experiencing problems following last Friday's earthquake and tsunami, in which an estimated 10,000 people have died."

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