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.
- Radiation fears escalate after workers suffer burns while trying to cool one of the most critical reactors at Fukushima. They were exposed to radiation levels 10,000 times higher than normal.
- PM Kan says the situation at the nuclear power plant was not getting worse, but is still nowhere near the point of resolution.
- Japan chief cabinet secretary says 130,000 people living in an outer circle around Fukushima should consider leaving.
- Higher radiation in water seeping from Japan’s stricken nuclear reactor is not likely to be a sign of damage to the central container of uranium fuel, international experts say.
- China says two Japanese travelers arriving in the country found to have very high levels of radiation.
- About 300 engineers had resumed work on the No.3 reactor, considered the most critical, after a one-day suspension when black smoke was seen rising.
* Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda says the government wants to have an extra budget for post-quake relief and reconstruction by the end of April.
* Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano says the government may have to reconsider an earlier plan to cut corporate tax rates
- 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.
- The U.N. Atomic agency (IAEA) says Japanese scientists have found measurable concentrations of radioactive iodine-131 and caesium-137 in seawater samples taken 30 km (18 miles) from land. A draft IAEA report says the closing of aging nuclear reactors is expected to peak in 2020-30, posing a big challenge in terms of safety and the environment.
* A watchdog for the U.S. nuclear safety regulator says nuclear power plant operators have not been consistent in flagging defects they find in parts used in critical safety components.
- Official death toll from earthquake and tsunami exceeds 9,800, Kyodo news agency reports national police as saying. Total number of dead and missing stands at about 27,400. More than a quarter of a million people are living in shelters.
Tokyo bureau; Compiled by World Desk Asia