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Saturday, 12 March 2011

State of nuclear emergency declared at Japan nuke plant

Scd-Blogs - TOKYO — Japan's top government spokesman and local administrators say emergencies have been issued at two nuclear power plants over cooling-system fears in the wake of Friday's giant earthquake.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the nuclear power plant in Fukushima developed a mechanical failure in the system needed to cool the reactor after it was shut down after the earthquake. He said there was no radiation leak.

Edano said the measure was a precaution and there was no radiation leak at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. He said the facility was not in immediate danger.

Meanwhile, an administrator at the Tohoku Electric Power Co's Onagawa facility said the process for the cooling reactor is "not going as planned," adding that "nuclear emergency situation" has been declared. The company asked people nearby to stay calm, the official TV news channel NHK reported.

A fire broke out at the plant following the quake, the Kyodo news agency said. Prior to the Kyodo report, the company had said it had not received information on whether there had been any problems at the plant after the disaster.

At the Fukushima facility, the site of a Tokyo Electric Power nuclear power plant, a spokesman on Friday that the plant's reactor cooling system was working, denying an earlier report that it was malfunctioning. Miyagi prefecture, where it is located, was one of the areas worst hit by the tsunami.

Kyodo also reported that an emergency core-cooling unit had been activated at the Fukushima nuclear plant, without giving further details.

The four Japanese nuclear power plants closest to the epicenter of the quake have been safely shut down, the United Nations atomic watchdog said Friday.

The quake struck just under 250 miles northeast of Tokyo, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was followed by more than a dozen aftershocks, one as strong as 7.1.

Earlier, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the quake caused "major damage" in northeastern Japan, but that nuclear power facilities in the area were not damaged and there was no radiation leakage.


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