Snapshot: Japan's nuclear crisis

TOKYO Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:16am EDT

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Following are main developments after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeast Japan and crippled a nuclear power station, raising the risk of uncontrolled radiation.

- Tokyo authorities said water at a purification plant for the capital of 13 million people contained more than twice the level of radioactive iodine than is safe for infants.

- Nuclear plant still emitting radiation but source unclear, says IAEA. The UN atomic watchdog says Japan has not given some information relating to one reactor.

- The United States becomes the first country to block produce from Japan's radiation zone, saying it will halt milk, fruit and vegetable imports from areas of Japan near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan says people should refrain from consuming leafy vegetables from Fukushima prefecture and tells the governor of Ibaraki prefecture to hold off on shipments of raw milk and parsley due to the nuclear crisis.

- Japan's health ministry says it has detected above-safety level radiation in 11 types of vegetables from the Fukushima area where the nuclear plants are located.

- Japan says there is no need to extend a 20-km (12-mile) evacuation zone around the tsunami-damaged nuclear plant, despite elevated radiation readings outside the area.

* Black smoke was seen rising on Wednesday from the No. 3 reactor of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the plant's operator said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co also said it had ordered workers to temporarily evacuate from the area.

- Engineers have re-established power cables to all six reactors and have started a pump at one of them to cool overheating fuel rods. Lighting had been restored at one of the control rooms, local media said.

- The World Health Organization said on Tuesday the detection of radiation in food is a more serious problem than first expected, and food contamination is not a localized problem. It says, however, there is no evidence of contaminated food from Fukushima reaching other countries.

- Plant operator TEPCO says a small trace of radiation had been found in the Pacific nearby, but officials stressed the levels were minute and posed no immediate danger.

- Official death toll from earthquake and tsunami exceeds 9,000, Kyodo news agency reports national police as saying.

* The government estimates the total damage from the quake at 16-25 trillion yen ($197-308 billion). The estimate includes damage to roads, homes, factories and other infrastructure, but excludes lost economic activity from power outages and costs arising from damage to the Fukushima plant, as well as the swings in financial markets.

(Tokyo bureau; Compiled by World Desk Asia)

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Comments (1)
susana46 wrote:
So please tell me why is our president in Chile promoting nuclear power in an earthquake prone zone? Why are we not investing in solar? We need to make sure there is a future for our children. The head of the US NRC simply said nuclear is adequately safe. What? Please Senator Markey keep on speaking out!

Mar 22, 2011 9:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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