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Japanese Government Orders Evacuation Of Fukushima Plant

David McAlpine |
March 15, 2011 | 7:54 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

An explosion happens at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. (Photos via Reuters TV)
An explosion happens at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. (Photos via Reuters TV)

UPDATE (11:23 p.m. PST) -- The Tokyo Electric Power Company says the crew of about 50 have returned to the Fukushima plant.

The Japanese government suspended operations of the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan and ordered the evacuation of all workers because of the risk they face from dangerous levels of radiation Wednesday, according to officials.

Japanese officials also said Wednesday that another fire has erupted at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan, hours after another blaze was put out.

The Japanese government says it is unclear whether the fire is still burning in the Reactor No. 4 building, but Japanese media outlets show smoke billowing out of the tower Wednesday morning, engulfing the entire reactor.

Of the more than 750 workers at the plant, only a crew of 50 to 75 had stayed behind in shifts to work damage control.

Local TV outlets reported that the Japanese government raised the allowed level of exposure to radiation to 2.5 times the original limit Wednesday to give them more time to work on the damaged plant. 

Conflicting reports have been compiling about the plant since an 8.9/9.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Japan last Friday. Several explosions happened over the weekend, causing the Japanese government to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors.

The New York Times reported

The company, Tokyo Electric Power, says it cannot know for sure what is happening in many cases because it is too dangerous for workers to get close to some reactors.

The situation became especially dire on Tuesday, when releases of radiation led the company to pull most of its workers from the plant.

The authorities are especially concerned about pools for spent fuel rods at several reactors at the plant, including Reactor No. 4, where the pool has lost some of the water needed to keep the fuel rods stable. The rods are still radioactive and potentially as hot and dangerous as the fuel rods inside the reactors.



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