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March 25, 2011 | By Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times
As Japan marked two weeks since the giant earthquake and tsunami, the number of people dead or missing grew to more than 27,000, with at least 200,000 others in shelters and radioactivity from a stricken nuclear plant continuing to cast a pall over daily life. Two workers at the hobbled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility were hospitalized for radiation exposure Thursday after stepping into contaminated water during repair operations at reactor No. 3, officials at the nation's nuclear safety agency said.
March 24, 2011 | By Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times
Two workers at Japan's stricken nuclear facility were hospitalized Thursday after being exposed to high levels of radiation, officials at the nation's nuclear safety agency said. A third worker was also exposed but did not require hospitalization. The two hospitalized workers were exposed to 170-180 millisieverts of radiation at reactor No. 3, officials said. The average American, by comparison, is exposed 6.2 millisieverts of radiation per year from natural sources, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
March 23, 2011 | By Julie Makinen and Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
[Update 12:47 a.m.] Tokyo's utility company says black smoke has been seen emerging from Unit 3 of the crippled nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, prompting a new evacuation of the complex. Officials with Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that workers from the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have been temporarily evacuated. _________________ Control room lights were on and electronic thermometers were functioning Wednesday at several of Japan's stricken nuclear reactors, marking small but potentially critical steps toward controlling overheated fuel that has been spewing radiation for more than a week.
March 23, 2011 | By Robert Alvarez
The nuclear crisis at the Daiichi complex in Fukushima, Japan, has turned a spotlight on the severe dangers involved in storing spent nuclear fuel in pools. But the danger is not new. In 2003, I cowrote a report with a group of academics, nuclear industry executives, former government officials and other researchers warning that spent fuel pools at U.S. nuclear power plants were vulnerable. The drainage of a pool might cause a catastrophic radiation fire, we reported, which could render an area uninhabitable greater than that created by the Chernobyl accident (roughly half the size of New Jersey)
March 23, 2011 | By Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Tokyo -- Infants in Tokyo and five surrounding cities should not be allowed to consume tap water, the city's government said Wednesday after elevated levels of radioactive iodine from a crippled nuclear plant were detected at a water treatment plant. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged consumers not to eat a dozen types of contaminated vegetables from the region surrounding the nuclear facility 150 miles northeast of the capital and also expanded a shipment ban. Water tests in Tokyo found levels of radioactive iodine 131 at 210 becquerels per liter Tuesday and 190 becquerels per liter on Wednesday morning, about double the level of 100 becquerels per liter deemed safe for children under the age of 1. A level of 300 becquerels per liter is considered safe for adults.
March 22, 2011 | By David Pierson, Los Angeles Times
The panic buying of salt that swept China last week amid fears of radiation from Japan has been replaced with a new frenzy: how to get a refund. Former hoarders are now lining up at some grocery stores to ask for their money back, especially from shopkeepers who were charging as much as 10 times normal prices for the seasoning, according to Chinese news reports. "I regret it very much. I will never behave this silly anymore," a woman who was denied a refund told the West China City News in Nanjing.
March 22, 2011 | By Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times
State Sen. Sam Blakeslee said Monday that he would try to block Pacific Gas & Electric's licenses to run one of the state's two coastal nuclear power plants unless the utility withdraws its renewal application pending a seismic study of the facility's site. Blakeslee, a San Luis Obispo Republican whose district includes the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, wants to know the potential effect of a recently discovered fault line near there. "I'm concerned mostly about this culture of disregard of risk," said Blakeslee, who has a doctorate in geophysics.
March 21, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Although officials of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant appear to have stabilized and that the containment vessels at three reactors had not been seriously breached, smoke was reported rising from two reactors Monday evening. The cause of the smoke was unknown, however, and it did not appear to be associated with a radiation spike. The executive director of the NRC, Bill Borchardt, said Monday that the agency's staff in Japan reported that the three reactors that had shut down following the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake 10 days ago probably have suffered some core damage but do not appear to be leaking significant quantities of radiation.
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