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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Explosion heard at Japan nuclear plant

TOKYO: Explosion heard at TEPCO's Fukushima Diichi plant, reports said. Japan nuclear safety agency has said that the explosion heard was not at the quake-hit nuclear reactor.

Citing the officials Reuters news agency says 4 people taken to hospital after explosion at the plant, without comment on condition.

Japan warned of a meltdown on Saturday at a nuclear reactor damaged when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast coast, but said the risk of radiation contamination was small.

Media reports estimate at least 1,300 people may have been killed by the biggest earthquake ever recorded in Japan and then a 10-meter tsunami that swept inland.

Experts said any threat of widespread radiation leaks would be contained as long as the reactor's outer container is intact.

State broadcaster NHK quoted officials as saying there was no need to extend an evacuation area already set up around the damaged plant.

Authorities have been scrambling to reduce pressure at two nuclear power plants in Fukushima, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, damaged by the quake, which measured a massive 8.9, the biggest since records began in Japan 140 years ago.

Jiji news agency quoted nuclear authorities as saying that there was a high possibility that nuclear fuel rods at Tokyo Electric Power's (Tepco's) Daiichi No.1 reactor may be melting or have melted.

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