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TOKYO, March 28 Following are main developments
after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeast
Japan and crippled a nuclear power station, raising the risk of
(For the main story, click [ID:nL3E7ES0F3])
- Highly radioactive water has leaked from a reactor at
Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the
plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO), says.
- Japan's nuclear agency says there is no sign of
radioactive water getting into the sea and it is working to
prevent that from happening.
* TEPCO says plutonium has been found in the soil at various
points within the Daiichi nuclear complex, but it is not harmful
to human health.
- Environmental group Greenpeace says it has detected high
levels of radiation outside an exclusion zone, but Japanese
officials say levels away from the plant are not dangerous for
- The Japanese government's chief spokesman, Yukio Edano,
denounces as "absolutely unforgivable" erroneous radiation
readings issued by TEPCO.
Edano also says high radiation levels, which prompted
suspension of weekend work to bring reactor no. 2 under control,
were caused by a partial meltdown of fuel rods. Airborne
radiation was mainly contained within the reactor building.
- Workers were withdrawn from the reactor building after
potentially lethal levels of radiation were detected in water
there. Readings showed contamination 100,000 times normal in
water at reactor no. 2 and 1,850 times normal in the nearby sea.
* TEPCO is seeking help from French firms including
Electricite de France SA and Areva SA CEPFi.PA to
stabilise reactors at the Fukushima complex, some 240 km (150
miles) from Tokyo, Kyodo news agency reports.
- A magnitude 6.5 earthquake shakes northern Japan on Monday
morning, the latest in a series of aftershocks two weeks after
the disaster. Officials issued, then withdrew, a warning for a
50-cm (two-foot) tsunami wave.
- TEPCO acknowledges it faces a protracted and uncertain
operation to contain overheating fuel rods and avert a meltdown.
- Experts say radiation in the Pacific will quickly
dissipate and officials say levels away from the plant are not
dangerous for humans.
- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says it is time to
reassess the emergency response framework of the international
nuclear power industry. Leaders agreed at a European Union
summit to submit reactors to "stress tests".
- Kyodo news agency, quoting a government source, says
Prime Minister Naoto Kan's visit to the affected region the day
after the disaster delayed TEPCO's response to the unfolding
situation because of fears he could be exposed to radiation.
- Kan's approval ratings have edged higher, according to the
first opinion poll taken since the quake and tsunami, but more
than half disapprove of how the crisis involving the stricken
nuclear plant has been handled, a survey published by Kyodo news
- Japan chief cabinet secretary says 130,000 people living
in an outer circle around Fukushima should consider leaving.
- Estimated cost of damage from the earthquake and tsunami
to top $300 billion, making it the world's costliest natural
disaster. The 1995 Kobe quake cost $100 billion while Hurricane
Katrina caused $81 billion in damage.
- Official death toll from earthquake and tsunami exceeds
10,804, according to national police. Total number of missing
stands at 16,244. Nearly a quarter of a million people are
living in shelters.
(Tokyo bureau; Compiled by World Desk Asia)
(email@example.com; +65 6870 3815))