– Japan officials: Stay indoors, nuclear leaks now dangerous (Christian Science Monitor):
Japan officials told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that ‘radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere’ after a fire broke out in a storage pond for spent fuel at nuclear reactor damaged by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami.
Japanese officials are now ordering 140,000 people living near nuclear power plants damaged by Friday’s 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami to stay indoors and seal their doors and windows.
(CNN) — The explosion Tuesday at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has elevated the situation there to a “serious accident” on a level just below Chernobyl, a French nuclear official said, referring to an international scale that rates the severity of such incidents.
The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale — or INES — goes from Level 1, which indicates very little danger to the general population, to Level 7, a “major accident” in which there’s been a large release of radioactive material and there will be widespread health and environmental effects.
“It’s clear we are at Level 6, that’s to say we’re at a level in between what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl,” Andre-Claude Lacoste, president of France’s nuclear safety authority, told reporters Tuesday.
* Radiation leaking directly into the air from stricken Fukushima nuclear plant
* Power station has now suffered three reactor explosions and one fire
* One reactor core ‘exposed to the atmosphere’ through crack in containment wall
* Radiation levels up to ten times higher than normal in Tokyo
* Mass exodus as thousands residents flee towns close to reactor
* Experts warn of cancer risk
* Japan seeks help from U.S. to spray water on over-heating reactors from helicopters
Scores of terrified residents began to flee Tokyo today as a nuclear power plant destroyed by the tsunami threatened to send a cloud of radioactive dust across Japan.
The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant suffered a third reactor explosion last night, another reactor on the site caught fire – and officials today announced the wall of one reactor was cracked.
Radiation levels have soared acoss the country as radioactive material spewed directly into the atmosphere while emergency crews fought to avoid a catastrophic meltdown.
Levels of radiation were ten times higher than normal in the capital today, as experts warned that people in Japan could face an increased cancer risk even if the crisis does not deteriorate.
- California ‘monitoring situation closely’ amid dramatic escalation of disaster
- Japan’s nuclear crisis now appears worse than the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979 – but not yet as bad as Chernobyl in 1986
- Japan PM tells people within 19 miles of plant to stay indoors as radiation reaches levels that could impact human heath
- Radioactive wind could reach Tokyo within hours – and radiation levels are already rising in city
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission admits it is ‘quite possible’ radiation could reach the U.S.
- ‘Worst-case scenario’ could see 30,000ft winds sending nuclear cloud across Pacific – possibly hitting by Tuesday night
Fears that America could be hit by the nuclear fallout from the Japan earthquake have dramatically increased as workers prepared to abandon a reactor crippled by the earthquake and tsunami last night in the face of what is set to become the world’s second worst nuclear disaster – topped only by Chernobyl.
Damage at the number two reactor at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power complex is worse than thought, the Japanese government admitted tonight, sparking fears for human health both in Japan and the U.S.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has admitted it is ‘quite possible’ the fallout could reach America.
– US Military warns on Japan radiation risk (Reuters via Jerusalem Post):
IAEA says main vessel of atom plant may be damaged; French Nuclear Authority says crises ranks 6 out of 7 on INES scale of nuclear accidents.
WASHINGTON – The US Navy on Tuesday recommended personnel and families stationed at two bases in Japan take precautions after detecting low-levels of radioactivity, including limiting outdoor activities.
“These measures are strictly precautionary in nature. We do not expect that any United States federal radiation exposure limits will be exceeded even if no precautionary measures are taken,” the Seventh Fleet said in a statement.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi unit 2 “may have affected the integrity of its primary containment vessel.”
The IAEA said primary containment vessels of units 1 and 3 appeared intact despite explosions there. It said units at the Fukushima Daini, Onagawa, and Tokai nuclear power plants were in a safe and stable condition.
On a scale of one to seven, Japan’s current nuclear crisis in Fukushima is equivalent to a number six on the INES’s scale of nuclear accidents the French Nuclear Safety Authority said. In comparison, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was a seven.
As the danger rating at the plant was upgraded from five to six out of seven, Europe’s energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said: “There is talk of an apocalypse and I think the word is particularly well chosen.
“Practically everything is out of control. I cannot exclude the worst in the hours and days to come.”
Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan admitted perilous levels of radiation were leaking from the power station.
At one point it soared to 400 times the annual legal limit.
Mr Kan said on TV: “Radiation has spread from the reactors and the reading seems high. There is a very high risk of further radioactive material coming out.
Now that is horrible news …
High temperatures inside the building that houses the plant’s No. 4 reactor may have caused fuel rods sitting in a pool to ignite or explode, the plant’s owner said.
– Fuel-cooling pools add to Japan worries (Times of India):
If any of the spent fuel rods in the pools do indeed catch fire, nuclear experts say, the high heat would loft the radiation in clouds that would spread the radioactivity. “It’s worse than a meltdown,” said David A Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The reactor is inside thick walls, and the spent fuel of Reactors 1 and 3 is out in the open.”
… further explained in greater detail here:
– Israeli Nuclear Expert Accuses Japan Of Downplaying Danger Nuclear Calamity: ‘If there is fallout of plutonium oxide, a most toxic substance that they use in the reactor that exploded, no one will be able to set foot on the site for thousands of years’