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Garden City Telegram: Monday, March 14, 2011 - Page 7

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   Garden City Telegram (Newspaper) - March 14, 2011, Garden City, Kansas                                 THE Garden City Teleg ram MONDAY, March 14, 2011 A7 SOMA, Japan ( AP) — The second hydrogen explosion in three days rocked a Japanese nuclear plant today, sending a massive cloud of smoke into the air and injuring 11 workers. The blast was felt 25 miles away, but the plant’s operator said the radiation levels at the affected unit were still within legal limits. Fuel rods at a separate reactor in the plant were fully exposed after it lost its ability to cool down, officials said. The exposure raises the risk of the unit overheating and adds to fears of a potential third explosion at the plant. The inner containment shell surrounding the Unit 3 reactor was intact, Edano said, allaying some fears of the risk to the environment and public. But the outer building around the reactor appeared to have been devastated, with only a skeletal frame remaining. Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant, said radiation levels at Unit 3 were well under the levels where a nuclear operator must file a report to the government. A similar explosion occurred Saturday at the plant’s Unit 1, injuring four workers, causing mass evacuations and destroying much of the outer building. More than 180,000 people have evacuated the area in recent days, and up to 160 may have been exposed to radiation. Japan’s meteorological agency reported the prevailing wind in the area of the stricken nuclear plant was heading east — to the Pacific. U. S. military personnel involved in helicopter relief missions were found to have been exposed to low levels of radiation upon returning to the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier about 100 miles offshore. U. S. officials said the exposure level was roughly equal to one month’s normal exposure to natural background radiation in the environment, and after scrubbing with soap and water, they were declared contamination- free. Officials have declared states of emergency at six Fukushima reactors, where Friday’s twin disasters knocked out the main cooling systems and backup generators. Three are at Daiichi and three at the nearby Fukushima Daini complex. A complete meltdown — the melting of the radioactive core — could release radioactive contaminants into the environment and pose major, widespread health risks. Edano said no Fukushima reactor was near that point, and he was confident of escaping the worst scenarios. International scientists say there are serious dangers but little risk of a Chernobyl- style catastrophe. Chernobyl, they note, had no containment shell around the reactor. “ The likelihood there will be a huge fire like at Chernobyl or a major environmental release like at Chernobyl, I think that’s basically impossible,” said James F. Stubbins, a nuclear energy professor at the University of Illinois. And, some analysts noted, the length of time since the nuclear crisis began indicates that the chemical reactions inside the reactor were not moving quickly toward a complete meltdown. But despite official assurances, many residents expressed fear over the situation. “ First I was worried about the quake,” said Kenji Koshiba, a construction worker who lives near the plant. “ Now I’m worried about radiation. TAKAJO, Japan ( AP) — A tide of bodies washed up along Japan’s coastline, crematoriums were overwhelmed and rescue workers ran out of body bags as the nation faced the grim reality of its mounting humanitarian, economic and nuclear crisis today after a calamitous tsunami. Millions of people were facing a fourth night without water, food or heating in near- freezing temperatures in the devastated northeast. The stock market plunged over the likelihood of huge losses by Japanese industries including big names such as Toyota and Honda. A Japanese police official said 1,000 bodies were found scattered across the coastline of Miyagi prefecture. The official declined to be named, citing department policy. The discovery raised the official death toll to about 2,800, but the Miyagi police chief has said that more than 10,000 people are estimated to have died in his province alone, which has a population of 2.3 million. Friday’s double tragedy has caused unimaginable deprivation for people of this industrialized country — Asia’s richest — which hasn’t seen such hardship since World War II. In many areas there is no running water, no power and four- to five- hour waits for gasoline. People are suppressing hunger with instant noodles or rice balls while dealing with the loss of loved ones and homes. “ People are surviving on little food and water. Things are simply not coming,” said Hajime Sato, a government official in Iwate prefecture, one of the three hardest hit. The pulverized coast has been hit by hundreds of aftershocks since Friday, the latest one a 6.2 magnitude quake that was followed by a new tsunami scare today. As sirens wailed, soldiers abandoned their search operations and told residents of the devastated shoreline in Soma, the worst hit town in Fukushima prefecture, to run to higher ground. The warning turned out to be a false alarm. Japanese officials have refused to speculate on how high the death toll could rise, but experts who dealt with the 2004 Asian tsunami offered a dire outlook. “ It’s a miracle really, if it turns out to be less than 10,000 ( dead),” said Hery Harjono, a senior geologist with the Indonesian Science Institute, who was closely involved with the aftermath of the earlier disaster that killed 230,000 people — of which only 184,000 bodies were found. He drew parallels between the two disasters — notably that many bodies in Japan may have been sucked out to sea or remain trapped beneath rubble as they did in Indonesia’s hardest- hit Aceh province. But he also stressed that Japan’s infrastructure, high- level of preparedness and city planning to keep houses away from the shore could mitigate their human losses. According to public broadcaster NHK, some 430,000 people are living in emergency shelters or with relatives. Another 24,000 people are stranded, it said. One reason for the loss of power is the damage several nuclear reactors in the area. At one plant, Fukushima Dai- ichi, three reactors have lost the ability to cool down, the latest today. Many regional train lines were suspended or operating on a limited schedule to help reduce the power load. Japan’s central bank injected 15 trillion yen ($ 184 billion) into money markets today to stem worries about the world’s third- largest economy. Japan’s economy has been ailing for 20 years, barely managing to eke out weak growth between slowdowns. It is saddled by a massive public debt that, at 200 percent of gross domestic product, is the biggest among industrialized nations. Preliminary estimates put repair costs from the earthquake and tsunami in the tens of billions of dollars — a huge blow for an already fragile economy that lost its place as the world’s No. 2 to China last year. Thousands of bodies wash up, overwhelm quake- stricken Japan Associated Press Futaba Kosei Hospital patients who might have been exposed to radiation are carried into the compound of Fukushima Gender Equality Center in Nihonmatsu in Fukushima Prefecture Sunday morning after being evacuated from the hospital in Futaba near the troubled Fukushima Dai- ichi nuclear power station. Second explosion rocks nuclear plant in battered Japan TOBRUK, Libya ( AP) — Moammar Gadhafi’s warplanes bombed a strategic opposition- held city today as his forces tried to push ahead in an offensive to retake the rebel- held east. France and Britain hiked up pressure for the West to impose a no- fly zone that rebels have sought to bolster their cause. Fighting was centered in the oil port of Brega, where government forces swept in on Sunday, pounding rebels with strikes from warships, tanks and warplanes. Rebels were dislodged from the port during the day, but said they moved back in at nightfall. Rebel officials said that as of Monday morning, the opposition still held the port, 450 miles southeast of Tripoli. Gadhafi’s troops have been emboldened by some victories as they try to push east along Libya’s main Mediterranean coastal highway. But their supply lines are stretched and their dependence on artillery, airstrikes and naval attacks makes it hard for them to swiftly consolidate control of territory. Ahmed al- Zwei, a rebel official on the city’s council, said it appeared the warplanes were trying to cut supplies to the rebels holding Brega. The rebels retook the area and even pushed a little further west, he said. The doctor, echoing other rebels, said Gadhafi’s forces appeared to be short on troops, meaning they could not hold ground they had forced the rebels from. “ They can’t advance by land. They know that,” he said. The regime forces’ most effective weapon so far appears to have been use of overwhelming bombardment — mainly by artillery, tanks and rockets, as well as with warplanes, hitting the poorly organized rebels trying to move in a desert region with little cover. The opposition has been pleading with the West to impose a no- fly zone to remove at least part of that threat and help even the odds. Western nations have been divided and hesitant on the move. The Arab League has backed a no- fly zone. Air strikes hit rebel Libya town 203959 D r i ive Great shopping opportunities and articles by Click & Clack , the Tappet Brothers. Focused On Your Next Vehicle Purchase! has a new 200041 Friday Classified Drive Section  

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