Japan races to avert multiple nuclear meltdowns

KORIYAMA, Japan - (AP) - Japan's nuclear crisis intensified Sundayas authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple reactormeltdowns and more than 170,000 people evacuated the quake- andtsunami-savaged northeastern coast where fears spread over possibleradioactive contamination.

Nuclear plant operators were frantically trying to keeptemperatures down in a series of nuclear reactors - including onewhere officials feared a partial meltdown could be happening Sunday- to prevent the disaster from growing worse.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano also said Sunday that ahydrogen explosion could occur at Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichinuclear complex, the latest reactor to face a possible meltdown.That follows a blast the day before in the power plant's Unit 1,and operators attempted to prevent a meltdown there by injectingsea water into it.

"At the risk of raising further public concern, we cannot ruleout the possibility of an explosion," Edano said. "If there is anexplosion, however, there would be no significant impact on humanhealth."

More than 170,000 people had been evacuated as a precaution,though Edano said the radioactivity released into the environmentso far was so small it didn't pose any health threats.

"First I was worried about the quake," Kenji Koshiba, aconstruction worker who lives near the plant. "Now I'm worriedabout radiation." He spoke at an emergency center in Koriyama townnear the power plant in Fukushima.

The French Embassy urged its citizens Sunday to leave the areaaround Tokyo - 170 miles from Fukushima Dai-ichi -in case the crisis deepened and a "radioactive plume" headed forthe area around the capital. The statement acknowledged that thepossibility was looking unlikely.

Edano said none of the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors was near thepoint of complete meltdown, and he was confident of escaping theworst scenarios.

A complete meltdown - the collapse of a power plant's ability tokeep temperatures under control - could release uranium anddangerous contaminants into the environment and pose major,widespread health risks.

Up to 160 people, including 60 elderly patients and medicalstaff who had been waiting for evacuation in the nearby town ofFutabe, and 100 others evacuating by bus, might have been exposedto radiation, said Ryo Miyake, a spokesman from Japan's nuclearagency. The severity of their exposure, or if it had reacheddangerous levels, was not clear. They were being taken tohospitals.

Tsunami sweeps 5 to sea, rips out Calif. docksSouthwestern Conn. residents watch, wait after destruction in Japan

Click here to find a friend or loved one

U.S. State DepartmentOffice of Overseas Citizens Services1-888-407-47471-202 647-5225

Red Cross href="http://www.redcross.org/" target="_blank">

Hawaii Red Cross Twitter

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

News 12 speaks with residents about what they 1 Westchester Talks Trump: Tax plan
VIDEO: Interview with former Suffolk County Executive Steve 2 VIDEO: Interview with former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy
Workers from New York headed to Stamford Tuesday 3 Striking Charter Communications workers protest in Stamford
4 Connecticut Sportscast, April 27
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim apparently has his sights 5 Bridgeport mayor to announce committee for gubernatorial run

advertisement | advertise on News 12


Focus on Connecticut Focus on Connecticut

Features local, state and federal officials discussing the issues around southwestern Connecticut.

Celebrates African-American culture in southwestern Connecticut. Our Lives

Celebrates African-American culture in southwestern Connecticut.

Each week News 12 Connecticut introduces you to Hometown Hero

News 12 highlights people who give to the community.

We spotlight a local team each week. Connecticut Team of the Week

Each week News 12 Connecticut highlights a team from a local school.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.