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Blast rocks Japanese nuclear power plant, reactor container not damaged

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Blast rocks Japanese nuclear power plant, reactor container not damaged

2011-03-12 21:24:09 GMT+7 (ICT)

TOKYO (BNO NEWS) -- An explosion rocked the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan on Saturday afternoon, officials said, but the critical reactor container was not seriously damaged.

Japanese government officials said the explosion happened around 3.30 p.m. local time, causing the roof and walls of a building housing the reactor's container to collapse. However, Japanese officials claimed there was no serious damage to the reactor container itself.

Initial fears of a potentially catastrophic nuclear disaster were rejected by Japanese officials, who said there was no major health threat from the amount of radiation being released. The Kyodo news agency said the hourly radiation from the plant reached 1,015 micro sievert in its premises before the explosion, an amount equivalent to that allowable for ordinary people in one year.

And although the radiation outside the plant was said to be much less, officials nonetheless ordered a precautionary evacuation of about 20 kilometers (12 miles) around the facility. A 10 kilometer (6.2 miles) radius evacuation was also ordered at another nearby power plant, which is also under a state of emergency due to problems with its cooling system.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Japanese authorities had informed its Incident and Emergency Center that non-radioactive iodine would be distributed to areas near the two troubled power plants. "The authorities also say they are making preparations to distribute iodine to residents in the area of both the plants," IAEA said in a statement.

Radioactive iodine is a potential component of nuclear fallout, and a dangerous one due to the thryroid gland's propensity to concentrate iodine from the bloodstream, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For this reason if people are expected to be exposed to a large dose of radioactive iodine, they may be instructed to take non-radioactive potassium iodide tablets.

By ingesting a large amount of non-radioactive iodine, the proportion of radioactive iodine taken into the thyroid gland may be minimized. This is one way to try to mitigate the health impact of exposure to fallout, if it would occur.

The emergency situations at the nuclear power plants are the result of a great 8.9-magnitude earthquake that shook Japan on Friday afternoon. It unleashed giant tsunamis that slammed into the coastlines of Japan, killing more than 900 people and leaving thousands more missing. The tsunamis also killed two other people in Indonesia and the U.S. state of California, both whom were swept out to sea.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-03-12

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I find it very concerning, yet understandable in the short term while facts are being sorted, that this story is being highly managed. Most reports I can find are focused on allaying fears of radiation leakage. Here is a sample story: "Three reactors at the plant lost their cooling functions because of a power outage, making leaking radiation, or even outright meltdown, the central threat to the country following a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. " ... Note that the story keeps getting updated, so as I post this the lead sentence quoted is much more alarming than the post from a few hours ago

http://www.theglobea...article1939779/

Also TOKYO (Nikkei)--The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said Saturday afternoon the explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant could only have been caused by a meltdown of the reactor core.

http://e.nikkei.com/...312D12JFF03.htm

Some video links are now being blocked for viewing - though by whom and why?? See: Meltdown fears at damaged nuclear reactor Of all the aftershocks that could hit Japan, nothing frightens the world more than the possibility of a devastating nuclear disaster. NBC's Anne Thompson.

http://www.msnbc.msn...049755#42049755

This link is still accessible for video: http://edition.cnn.c...ef=mpvideosview

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