March 20, 2011 / 9:45 PM / 9 years ago

Snapshot: Japan's nuclear crisis

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.

- Official death toll from earthquake and tsunami 8,450 with 12,931 missing. Police say more than 15,000 feared dead in Miyagi prefecture alone.

* IAEA says some positive developments but overall situation remains very serious.

- Reactors at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are showing some improvement but the situation remains uncertain, Tetsuro Fukuyama, Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, says.

- The operator of the crippled nuclear power plant said it may take several days for power to be restored at the No.3 and No.4 reactors.

- Engineers have attached a power cable to the Nos. 1, 5 and 6 reactors, and hope to restore electricity on Monday prior to an attempt to switch the pumps on. Electricity restored at No. 2 reactor.

- Japan government spokesman says there is some stabilization at the most critical No.3 reactor.

- Engineers meanwhile are using diesel generators for less critical reactors No.5 and No.6 reactors. Temperature in spent fuel pools at reactors No. 5 and 6 are returning to normal.

- If engineers are unable to cool the reactor, the last option would be entombing the plant with concrete and sand to prevent a catastrophic radiation leak, the method used at Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986.

- Tests detect radiation above the national safety level in spinach and milk produced near the Fukushima plant. A sample of tap water from Tokyo shows a tiny level of radioactive.

- The health ministry said that radiation levels exceeded safety standards in Fukushima and nearby Ibaraki prefecture. It said it had prohibited the sale of raw milk from Fukushima prefecture.

* IAEA says food contamination is “a very localized phenomenon at the moment as far as we know” and that food produced in other countries had not been affected.

* Light northwesterly winds and rains are forecast for the area around quake-stricken nuclear reactors on the northeast coast of Japan, the weather agency said on Monday. Wind expected to change to change to light southeasterlies toward Tuesday.

Tokyo bureau; Compiled by World Desk Asia

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