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Workers Evacuated as Smoke Rises (again) From Japanese Nuclear Plant (No. 3 reactor)

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 07:10 AM
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Workers Evacuated as Smoke Rises (again) From Japanese Nuclear Plant (No. 3 reactor)
Edited on Mon Mar-21-11 07:13 AM by jpak

Nuclear authorities say workers have been evacuated from an area of Japan's troubled nuclear plant after gray smoke was seen coming from one of its reactors.

Officials said Monday that no increase in radiation levels has been detected and they are still trying to determine the cause of the smoke.

The new threat at the Fukushima nuclear plant came as heavy rain pounded northeastern Japan's earthquake-stricken regions, prompting increased fears about radiation. Restrictions on the sale of certain foods contaminated by the radiation were expanded.

The weather forced Prime Minister Naoto Kan to cancel a planned visit to a staging area for relief supplies just 20 kilometers from the Fukushima plant, where work crews continue to spray seawater to keep spent fuel rods from overheating.


The smoke was seen above building No. 3 just before 4 p.m., plant operator TEPCO said.That unit houses a spent fuel storage pool that was thought to have been nearly dry late last week, and has been the focus of an intense round the clock water-spraying operation over the weekend in an effort to cool it.

Today workers alternated between injecting water into the equally volatile No. 4 spent fuel pool and working to restore electricity to the plants normal cooling system.

Before the evacuation this evening, workers had made progress to stabilize the overheated reactors and fuel storage pools at the plant over the weekend. In the afternoon Prime Minister Naoto Kan issued a cautiously encouraging statement regarding their progress.

"We havent yet escaped danger, but were starting to see a ray of hope that well be able to escape, he said.

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