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Japan braces for potential radiation catastrophe as 140,000 could be affected

Haaretz Service via Reuters

March 15, 2011 | 11:05 am

A map showing epicenter of earthquake and position of nuclear power plants.

A map showing epicenter of earthquake and position of nuclear power plants.

Japan faced a potential catastrophe Tuesday after a quake-crippled nuclear power plant exploded and sent low levels of radiation floating toward Tokyo, prompting some people to flee the capital and others to stock up on essential supplies.

The crisis appeared to escalate late in the day when the operators of the facility said that one of two blasts had blown a hole in the building housing a reactor, which meant spent nuclear fuel was exposed to the atmosphere.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged people within 30 km (18 miles) of the facility—a population of 140,000—to remain indoors amid the world’s most serious nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986.

Read more at Haaretz.com.

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