Friday 20 April 2018

Conditions worsen at damaged nuclear plant

Conditions at a damaged nuclear power plant in tsunami-hit Japan have deteriorated, officials have warned.

Concern rose for those near Fukushima Dai-ichi plant as a third explosion rocked the complex early on Tuesday morning.

Radiation leaks now pose a risk to human health, and 140,000 people were ordered to stay indoors and make their homes airtight.

A British search and rescue team set to work in Ofunato in the north-east of Japan, and although they recovered bodies, they did not initially find any survivors.

The crisis deepened as the official death toll topped 2,400 following the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami on Friday.

Tens of thousands are still missing, and there are fears some Britons may be among the dead.

In a televised statement, prime minister Naoto Kan urged those within 19 miles of the nuclear plant to stay indoors.

Some 800 non-essential staff have been evacuated from the plant, while 50 workers remained at the complex to try to cool the reactors with water.

Japanese shares suffered a huge slump, with Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index closing more than 10% lower.

The escalating nuclear crisis also led to a slump in London's FTSE 100 Index by as much as 3% as investors worldwide dump riskier assets in favour of safer havens such as gold.

Press Association

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