Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan Nuclear Fail Plant Explosions|Preventing a Nuclear Disaster in Japan|Earthquake Death Toll Rises|Full Video

Japan - An explosion at a nuclear power station Saturday destroyed a building housing the reactor, but a radiation leak was decreasing despite fears of a meltdown from damage caused by a powerful earthquake and tsunami.

The explosion was preceded by puff of white smoke that gathered intensity until it became a huge cloud enveloping the entire facility, located in Fukushima, 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Iwaki. After the explosion, the walls of the building crumbled, leaving only a skeletal metal frame.

Tokyo Power Electric Co., the utility that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, said four workers suffered fractures and bruises and were being treated at a hospital.

More than 215,000 people were living in 1,350 temporary shelters in five prefectures, or states, the national police agency said. Since the quake, more than 1 million households have not had water, mostly concentrated in northeast. Some 4 million buildings were without power.

About 24 percent of electricity in Japan is produced by 55 nuclear power units in 17 plants and some were in trouble after the quake.

“We have confirmed that the walls of this building were what exploded, and it was not the reactor’s container that exploded,” said Edano.

The trouble began at the plant’s Unit 1 after the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami it spawned knocked out power there, depriving it of its cooling system.

Smashed cars and small airplanes were jumbled up against buildings near the local airport, several miles (kilometers) from the shore. Felled trees and wooden debris lay everywhere as rescue workers coasted on boats through murky waters around flooded structures, nosing their way through a sea of debris.

According to official figures, 586 people are missing and 1,105 injured. In addition, police said between 200 and 300 bodies were found along the coast in Sendai, the biggest city in the area near the quake’s epicenter.

The transport ministry said all highways from Tokyo leading to quake-hit areas were closed, except for emergency vehicles. Mobile communications were spotty and calls to the devastated areas were going unanswered.

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