Radiation Levels Soar at Japan Nuclear Plant

At least a small amount has seeped outside
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2011 4:11 PM CST
Japan Nuclear Plant Will Vent Small Amount of Slightly Radioactive Vapor to Reduce Pressure
A 2008 file photo of the Fukushima nuclear facility, about 170 miles northeast of Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

The earthquake that rocked Japan today damaged a major nuclear power plant, and officials said radiation levels were around 1,000 times higher than normal in the control room of a reactor, reports MSNBC. At least a small amount has leaked outside, but it's not clear how much danger it poses. Earlier, about 3,000 people within a 2-mile radius were evacuated, and now officials plan to evacuate even more.

The trouble at the Fukushima Daichi plant—about 170 miles northeast of Tokyo—began when the quake knocked out power for the coolant system. Officials initially planned to vent a small amount of "slightly radioactive" vapor to reduce pressure, but those plans have now been put on hold, notes AP. In addition, temperatures are rising at two reactors at a separate plant in the area, that one called Fukushima Daini. (More nuclear reactor stories.)

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