05/16/2011, 00.00
JAPAN
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Fukushima: evacuation area extended. Power plant still out of control

TEPCO's engineers had to abandon the attempt to stabilize the No. 1 reactor due to a "leak" of three thousand tons of contaminated water. five thousand residents evacuated from Kawamata and Iitate, cities more than 30 km from the plant damaged by the quake.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The safety zone around the nuclear power plant in Fukushima has been extended and the operation to bring the system under control has reached a dead end. Residents of the city of Kawamata and Iitate have spent their first night in evacuation centres after leaving their homes. Japanese engineers have meanwhile abandoned the attempt to stabilize a reactor damaged by the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March.

Kawamata and Iitate are more than 30 km away from the station, which still leaks of radioactive material. About five thousand people have moved into public buildings, hotels and other accommodations in nearby towns. It is expected that the evacuations will increase in coming days. While efforts to bring under control the central damaged collide continually with new problems.

The technicians of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) wanted to cool the reactor No. 1 with water. But the melted fuel rods have created a hole in the wall of the containment chamber, allowing three thousand tons of contaminated water to leak into the chambers below. TEPCO says it is working on a new plan to try to stabilize the reactor by tomorrow.
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