triple crisis

Second Explosion Reported at Daiichi Reactor; Emergency Declared at Fourth Nuclear Plant [Updated]

As the deal toll from the tsunami and earthquake in Japan climbs, emergencies have been declared at a third and fourth nuclear plant and a second hydrogen explosion has been reported at the Daiichi nuclear plant. The latest news out of Japan, below:

• A second hydrogen explosion at the Daiichi plant blew the roof off another reactor, without damaging its core but presumably leaking more radiation. An operator was injured and seven plant workers are missing. So far, Japanese officials have said the melting of the nuclear cores in two reactors at Daiichi is “partial,” and the amount of radioactivity measured outside the plants, though twice the level Japan considers safe, has been “relatively modest.” But Pentagon officials reported Sunday that helicopters flying 60 miles from the plant picked up small amounts of radioactive particulates, “suggesting widening environmental contamination.” Experts believe radioactive releases from the crippled nuclear plants could continue for weeks or even months. [NYT, ABC News]

• The International Atomic Energy Agency declared an emergency at a third nuclear plant late Sunday because radiation had been detected outside the plant, which is about 60 miles from Sendai, a city of 1 million people in northeast Japan. Soon after that announcement, Kyodo News reported that a plant about 75 miles north of Tokyo was having cooling system problems. That brings the total number of troubled plants to four. [NYT, CNN]

• At least twenty-two residents near the Daiichi plant have shown signs of radiation exposure, though it is unclear if they have been exposed to dangerous doses. The developments at Daiichi and an affected power plant in Daini have prompted the evacuation of about 80,000 people so far. [NYT]

• It’s feared that the death toll from the tsunami could climb to over 10,000. The Japanese government ordered 100,000 troops into relief roles. That number is nearly half the country’s active military force, and it’s the largest mobilization in postwar Japan. An American naval strike group led by a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier arrived in Japan on Sunday to help with refueling, supply and rescue duties. [NYT]

• More crazy videos of Japanese towns being flooded away are flooding the Internet. [Reddit]

• Tokyo Disneyland has suspended operations for at least a week. [Deadline]

• Japanese naval forces rescued a 60-year-old man who had been riding the roof of his house for the past two days: “Hiromitsu Arakawa’s tiny home in the town of Minami-soma was torn from its foundations by the first wave of the tsunami that crashed ashore Friday afternoon. He clung to the roof as the house drifted away. He was discovered late Sunday morning, still on his roof, 9 miles south of his hometown and 9 miles out to sea.” [NYT]

Second Explosion Reported at Daiichi Reactor; Emergency Declared at Fourth Nuclear Plant [Updated]