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Fresh fire at Japan N-plant
Published on 17 Mar. 2011 12:55 AM IST
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A fresh fire Wednesday engulfed a reactor in Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, with fears that the emergency workers could face long term health issues. The Japanese emperor said he was ‘deeply worried’ as two strong tremors hit the country Wednesday.
The fresh fire broke out at reactor no. 4 in Fukushima atomic power plant where three of the total six reactors were hit by explosions following last week’s earthquake. The emergency workers at the plant had to temporarily withdraw from the plant.
The Independent newspaper of Britain said in a report that the workers dealing with the escalating crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant that was extensively damaged in Friday’s massive earthquake have a huge responsibility that could leave them with lifelong health problems, or even leave them dead. Most emergency workers were evacuated Tuesday and about 50 remained inside the plant. They too left the plant Wednesday. A government spokesman said the inner shell in a reactor might be damaged and radiation was so high there that employees could no longer enter the complex.
As N-crisis deepened, Japanese Emperor Akihito made a rare TV appearance in which he said he was ‘deeply worried’ about the crisis facing his country. The emperor said: ‘I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times.’
According to the National Police Agency, Friday’s quake in northeastern Japan and the tsunami had left 4,164 people dead and 7,843 missing. Around 530,000 are living in more than 2,600 shelters in quake-hit areas.
A WikiLeaks expose said that Japan was warned two years ago that its safety rules were not up to date and a strong earthquake would pose a serious problem to its nuclear power stations. The losses from the disaster in Japan is likely to exceed $100 billion, a media report said. Huge claims are expected against insurers for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
Another earthquake
A strong earthquake of magnitude 6 on the Richter Scale jolted Japan’s Kanto region on Wednesday, Xinhua reported. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the quake, which occurred at 12.52 pm, originated from a depth of 10 km in the coast of Chiba near Tokyo. No tsunami warnings were issued following the earthquakes, the report said.
Snow latest threat
Japan’s tsunami-ravaged coast has now been hit by an unseasonal late snow dump, compounding the deprivations for homeless survivors and millions more that are living without adequate supplies and services.
The charity Save the Children said a fifth of those displaced were children and warned the disaster could result in many being orphaned.
Only a few corner stores have opened their doors in Miyagi prefecture since Friday’s earthquake and tsunami cut power and supply channels.
Hospitals are struggling to treat seriously injured or ill patients, and overwhelmed local officials have not been able to secure enough space for morgues and coffins. The continuing blackout has made it impossible to create dry ice to pack bodies.

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