Crisis continues at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan listen03/14/11 wire reports including AP
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The crisis continues at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
"The water level did start to fall and the fuel rods were exposed above the water. This situation did continue for a while."
A drop in water levels left uranium rods completely exposed today. And although the water was restored, the rods are again exposed after a second episode. That increases the risk that radiation will spread, and that there may eventually be a meltdown.
Through an interpreter on Japanâ€™s NHK TV, chief government spokesperson Yukio Edano, says pumps for cooling water broke down at one reactor and allowed the nuclear fuel rods to be exposed before pumping resumed.
A top Japanese official said the fuel rods in all three of the most troubled reactors at the site appeared to be melting.
Earlier today, an explosion tore through a building housing one of the reactors. But officials say that explosion may have actually reduced pressure that was building inside the reactor. And they are most concerned with the problems at a different reactor, Unit 2. The other two, they say, are "somewhat stabilized." Some radioactivity is being released.
Seventeen U.S. military personnel involved in helicopter relief missions have been exposed to low levels of radiation upon returning to the USS Ronald Reagan. Itâ€™s an aircraft carrier about 100 miles offshore. Commander Jeff Davis is spokesperson for the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet.
"It was higher than what you'd normally get. It was, over the course of a few hours flying an aircraft, what you would have gotten over a month. But still a very, very low dose. Nothing that is harmful to health or safety. We're going to be watching, very carefully, the direction of the wind and ensuring that from this point on we keep our ships and our aircraft out of the path of the wind coming from that plant."
As a precaution, the carrier and other U.S. 7th Fleet ships have shifted to another area.
At least 10,000 people are believed to have died in the aftermath of Fridayâ€™s massive quake and tsunami that cause the problems at the nuclear plant
The Swiss government has suspended plans to replace and build new nuclear plants pending a review of two hydrogen explosions at Japanese plants.
Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany is suspending for three months a decision to extend the life of its nuclear power plants.
Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports, the Obama administration recently asked Congress â€œto provide a $4 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear reactors to be built and operated on the Gulf Coast of Texas â€” by Tokyo Electric Power and local partners.â€
Florida Governor Rick Scott says the state is prepared to meet any catastrophic challenges that might threaten any of the five nuclear reactors housed in Florida.
Democratic state Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda of Tallahassee has filed a bill to repeal a Florida law that allows utility companies to recover costs for siting, designing, licensing and building nuclear and integrated gasification combined cycle power plants.