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Correspondent reports on second blast at Fukushima plant

 

Earlier today we had a second explosion in number three reactor, in that explosion 11 people were injured. We don’t know what state in it is now. Authorities say that the radiation is not leaking out. In the explosion it was unclear what actually exploded – was it the reactor itself or not.

Actually the explosion was high a build-up of hydrogen in the fuel rods, and that’s coming from the authorities, which means that there is no threat of a nuclear catastrophe as it was thought there might be. The vessel is still intact, that radiation is not leaking out. The authorities are saying at that nuclear power plant, the Tokyo electric company, who are owning the plant, they say that the radiation levels are within the limits, in fact, significantly lower, but a warning has been issued. However we do know that the radiation has been leaked into the area. Twenty two people are already being treated for radiation exposure. On top of that they have evacuated a huge area – about 20 kilometers radius around the nuclear power plant at Fukushima and 200 thousand people have been evacuated to safety. However 600 people still remain in that area, they want to be evacuated quick enough so they have been told to stay inside in order not to be exposed to any radiation. We also know that the radiation has leaked more far afield than that according to New York Times and Reuters, and a US aircraft carrier off the Japanese coast 160 kilometers into the Pacific Ocean. With a Geiger counter they measured in a cloud of smoke that radiation was above the normal levels. Standing on deck the crew members received a radiation level about the same they would do normally in a month. So it is above normal. But not at a critical level. In terms of panic – there is no visible panic, no one is running around. As for the foreigners – there is some skepticism towards the information they are receiving. I spoke to a colleague journalist earlier this afternoon who has said that on their way out from Fukushima they came across a group of English teachers from Australia, New York and Canada, who said they were heading straight to the airport, that they wanted to flee because they didn’t trust what the government was saying about the radiation levels. They think it is a lot worse. Our translator actually left back to Tokyo, fearing that the radiation was spreading near.

As for the locals - they are fearing another earthquake and have no homes to go back or if they do – they are not secure enough. They’re staying in the relief centers which were specifically set up in secure sturdy governmental buildings that are designed to withstand another earthquake . We have heard that 70% chance of a very strong aftershock with a possible magnitude seven, which can hit this area during the next 3-7 days. People buy in supermarkets as much food as they can, if you go into town you can see queues and queues of people, and I'm not exaggerating here. It's hard to get normal drinking water: people fear to drink tap water because it can be contaminated as well. There are the attempts of the rescue operation here, helicopters are flying overhead, in the hostel area there are several military troops and policemen. We actually received a tsunami warning heading towards the coast where we saw a scene of absolute utter damage – there was nothing left. Cars and buildings were floating in the water, everything has been destroyed. So when we had this tsunami warning everyone jumped in the cars and raced back to the high ground as soon as possible. Then it turned out that the tsunami warning was a false one. The threat has now being lifting and thankfully the tsunami didn’t hit, but there are still fears that it could do. The search is still on for rescue teams. They know there are 200-300 bodies near the coast.

Location

Tokyo
Japan
35° 42' 2.0016" N, 139° 42' 54" E

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