Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami

Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates

• Operators of the Fukushima nuclear power plant say one of two blasts has blown a hole in the building housing a reactor. Spent nuclear fuel has since been exposed to the atmosphere. At one stage this morning radiation was leaking at a rate of 400 millisieverts per hour around the plant's No 3 reactor building, however Japanese data indicates that radioactivity levels have fallen, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
• The radiation level in Tokyo was 10 times its normal level on Tuesday evening, but there was no threat to human health, the city government said. Despite this there has been some panic buying in the city, with some retailers comparing the purchasing to the oil crisis in the 1970s. The Guardian's Tokyo correspondent, Justin McCurry, said fears are rising that if the hoarding frenzy continues it will affect the ability to deliver emergency supplies to the disaster zone.
• There has been a powerful aftershock near Shizuoka, south-west of Tokyo. Japanese television described it at "six plus" on the Japanese intensity scale, which runs from zero to seven, Justin McCurry reported. It has been described as magnitude 6.0 in the standard scale. Other media organisations report that buildings shook in Tokyo on the latest aftershock. Justin says officials have not issued a tsumani warning.
• People within a 20-30km radius of Fukushima Daiichi have been urged to stay indoors. Those within a 20km radius have been told to leave. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates the power plant, has pulled out 750 workers, leaving just 50. A 30km no-fly zone has been imposed around the reactors.
• Food and water are reportedly in short supply in parts of the north east. Hundreds of thousands have been evacuated in the region, with shelters packed. Rolling power blackouts are set to affect 5 million households over Tuesday night, TEPCO said.

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