Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blast at nuclear plant puts Japan at risk

A South Korean passenger at a railway station in Seoul watches TV showing Japan's Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant spewing fumes amid reports that a meltdown is feared after a massive quake

Source: Press TV

A blast has been heard and white smoke is spewing out of Japan's Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, sparking fears that the facility may be experiencing nuclear meltdown.

Japan TV's footage on Sturday showed smoke billowing from the nuclear site located some 250 kilometers (160 miles) northeast of the Japanese capital, Tokyo, amid reports that radioactive Cesium has been detected in the vicinity of the plant, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Several workers have been injured and radioactivity rose 20-fold outside, the report added.

Earlier on Saturday, Japanese media outlets reported that Cesium has been detected near Fukushima nuclear plant, a strong indication that the facility "may be experiencing nuclear meltdown."

A meltdown occurs when a severe failure of a nuclear power plant system prevents proper cooling of the reactor core to the extent that the nuclear fuel assemblies overheat and melt.

Meanwhile, residents within three kilometres of the plant were ordered to leave their homes.

The government is holding a crisis meeting to discuss the situation at the two nuclear power plants.

On Friday afternoon, a magnitude 8.9 earthquake erupted, 15 miles (24 kilometers) down, off the northeast coast of Japan's main island, which unleashed a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours.

Japanese officials have warned that there could be a small radiation leak from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was shut down after its cooling system was knocked out in the wake of Friday's earthquake.

Officials say radiation 1,000 times above normal has been detected in the control room of the nuclear plant, adding that there is no immediate health hazard yet, as levels outside the facility's gates were only eight times above normal.

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