Situation Update No. 9
On 12.03.2011 at 10:54 GMT+2
An explosion destroyed the roof and walls of Japan’s quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and people nearby are being warned to stay indoors. Radioactivity at the plant was 20 times over the normal level, and Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission earlier said it may be experiencing meltdown. Several workers were reported to be injured in the explosion — one seriously — and smoke was seen billowing out of the plant. Eyewitnesses reported strong shaking at the plant shortly before the blast. « A seriously injured worker is still trapped in the crane operating console of the exhaust stack and his breathing and pulse cannot be confirmed. Currently, rescue efforts are under way, » nuclear company TEPCO said in a statement. About 45,000 people who live within six miles (10 kilometers) of the No. 1 plant were told to evacuate Saturday. Parts of the reactor’s nuclear fuel rods were briefly exposed to the air after cooling water levels dropped through evaporation, and efforts were earlier being made to pump water into the reactor at the site, which is 160 miles (250 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo. Radioactivity at the plant was 20 times over the normal level, and Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission has said it may be experiencing meltdown.