According to reports, the nuclear disaster in Japan is expanding as valiant efforts are made to contain the reactors. The workers attempting to save the plants are true heroes in the face of overwhelming odds and danger.
NEW YORK TIMES:
Japan’s nuclear crisis verged toward catastrophe on Tuesday after an explosion damaged the vessel containing the nuclear core at one reactor and a fire at another spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air, according to statements from Japanese government and industry officials.
After an emergency cabinet meeting, the Japanese government told people living within about 20 miles of the Daiichi plant to stay indoors, keep their windows closed and stop using air conditioning.
NEW YORK TIMES: Latest Updates Wednesday, March 16
After the weekend’s devastation, the amount of radiation leaking from Fukushima nuclear plant is rising. People in a 30km radius were asked to stay inside. The government says that levels are high enough now “to impact human health”.
FRANCE 24: Latest Updates Wednesday, March 16
NEWS ON JAPAN
A fire, explosions and other damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant following a massive earthquake and tsunami on Friday have triggered Japan’s worst nuclear crisis since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
The Unit 4 reactor at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant caught fire earlier Tuesday and is believed to have caused a release of dangerous levels of radioactivity in the immediate area. Elevated radioactivity readings in surrounding regions were not high enough to pose a health threat, the government said.
Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami.
In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from the four stricken reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant along Japan’s northeastern coast. The region was shattered by Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that is believed to have killed more than 10,000 people, plunged millions into misery and pummeled the world’s third-largest economy.
The radiation fears added to the catastrophe that has been unfolding in Japan, where at least 10,000 people are believed to have been killed and millions of people have spent four nights with little food, water or heating in near-freezing temperatures as they dealt with the loss of homes and loved ones. Up to 450,000 people are in temporary shelters.
Some 70,000 people had already been evacuated from a 20-kilometre radius from the Dai-ichi complex. About 140,000 remain in the new warning zone.
Officials said 70 workers were at the complex, struggling with its myriad problems. The workers, all of them wearing protective gear, are being rotated in and out of the danger zone quickly to reduce their radiation exposure.
Other news sources:
THE HUFFINGTON POST
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: UPDATE Wednesday, March 16
Nuclear Terminology 101: Understanding The Jargon
The IRISH TIMES
THE DAILY MAIL
Experts are now warning a second huge quake – almost as powerful as the first – could hit the country, triggering another tsunami.
The director of the Australian Seismological Centre, Dr Kevin McCue, told the Sydney Morning Herald that there had been more than 100 smaller quakes since Friday, and a larger aftershock was likely.
‘Normally they happen within days.
‘The rule of thumb is that you would expect the main aftershock to be one magnitude smaller than the main shock, so you would be expecting a 7.9.
In addition, food, water and electric power are in short supply for hundreds of thousands of brave Japanese men, women and children. Truly, this is a tragedy which affects the whole global community.
THE TELEGRAPH: Latest Updates Wednesday, March 16
G. D. Williams © 2011