After a devastating 8.8 earthquake in Japan yesterday, and as a result of the damage incurred from the quake and the resulting tsunami that swept away everything in its path, five of Japans coastal nuclear reactors were placed on emergency status, Japanese officials said today.
Operators at the plants scrambled to tamp down dangerous heat and pressure inside the reactors after the earthquake and tsunami that followed which cut off electricity to the sites. If the situation was not brought under control in a timely manner a meltdown could result thus compounding the disaster already sweeping the country.
Early Saturday morning however, an explosion was heard at one of the plants. Japanese spokespersons said that the metal container sheltering the nuclear reactor was not affected by the explosion that destroyed the building its in.
Yukio Edano said the radiation around the plant did not rise after the blast but instead it is decreasing. Pressure and heat had been building since the quake and tsunami struck. Edano said.
The explosion on Saturday blew out the walls of the building which houses the reactor. The government has ordered people within a 12 mile radius, (20-kilometers), of the plant in Fukushima, Japan to be evacuated.
Initial reported large amounts of radiation spewing out of the evacuation area was expanded as a result. Officials were not sure at how dangerous the radiation was to people in the area. The Japanese Nuclear Agency said they could not say how much radiation was in the atmosphere. The explosion occurred after the failure of the plants cooling system.
Tokyo Power Electric Co., the utility that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, said four workers had suffered fractures and bruises and were being treated at a hospital. A nuclear spokesman said that a meltdown might not pose widespread danger.
Information for this report was gathered from Associated Press.
More information will follow when available.