03/15/2011, 00.00
JAPAN
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Another explosion at Fukushima, growing risk of radiation

This morning the No 2 reactor exploded and the No 4reactor caught fire. In recent days, the No. 1 and 3 had exploded. The level of radiation near the plant harmful to health. Escalation of radiation even in Tokyo. IAEA and the United States rush to aid. The stock market drops by 10%. By late afternoon, radiation levels drop.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Another explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant has raised the radiation to a level dangerous to human health. The government spokesman, Yukio Edan said radiation around the plant has reached 400 millisievert per hour, thousands of times higher than yesterday.

According to the World Nuclear Association, a dose of 1000 millisieverts produces nausea and vomiting; 5 000 millisievert can be deadly for at least 50% of those affected.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has warned the public about possible radioactive leaks and asked the Japanese who live within 30 km from the plant in Fukushima to stay inside.

Even in the capital elevations of radiation, up to 40 times normal, have been registered which are currently not considered dangerous to health.

This morning reactor No. 2 exploded and a fire developed at reactor No. 4, which was then turned off. Because of a defect in the cooling system, caused by the earthquake, the reactors 1 and 3 had exploded earlier this week.

The government has asked the IAEA, the UN nuclear agency, to provide "expert missions," to stabilize the reactors. The United States has sent two nuclear technicians to help cope with the difficulties with the installations. In the late afternoon the government announced that the level of radiation in the Fukushima plant was down to levels prior to the explosion of Reactor No. 2.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange has suffered a further blow, closing the day with a minus 10.55%. Yesterday it had dropped to 7%.

Five days after the earthquake of magnitude 8.9 first struck, the rescue operation continues. The latest official figures speak of 2400 dead and about 10 000 missing. Many remote areas have not yet been reached by emergency teams, led by about 100 thousand soldiers.
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