Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan: Fears grow of second explosion at earthquake-hit nuclear plant as exclusion zone around facility is widened to 13 miles

'At the risk of raising further public concern, we cannot rule out the possibility of an explosion,' Edano said. 'If there is an explosion, however, there would be no significant impact on human health.'

More than 170,000 people had been evacuated as a precaution, though Edano said the radioactivity released into the environment so far was so small it didn't pose any health threats.

A complete meltdown - the collapse of a power plant's systems and its ability to keep temperatures under control - could release uranium and dangerous contaminants into the environment and pose major, widespread health risks.

Up to 160 people, including 60 elderly patients and medical staff who had been waiting for evacuation in the nearby town of Futabe, and 100 others evacuating by bus, might have been exposed to radiation, said Ryo Miyake, a spokesman from Japan's nuclear agency. (read more)