Japan's prime minister says nation's worst disaster since WWII - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Japan declares state of emergency at another nuclear plant


TOKYO (AP) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. says three workers have been injured and seven are missing after an explosion at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary says a hydrogen explosion occurred Monday at the facility's Unit 3. The blast was similar to an earlier one at a different unit at the facility.

Yukio Edano says people within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius were ordered inside following the blast. AP journalists felt the explosion 25 miles (40 kilometers) away.

Edano says the reactor's inner containment vessel holding nuclear rods is intact, allaying some fears of the risk to the environment and public.

More than 180,000 people have evacuated the area in recent days.


KORIYAMA, Japan (AP) -- The U.N. nuclear agency says Japan has declared a state of emergency at another earthquake-affected nuclear plant where higher-than-permitted levels of radioactivity were measured.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says Japan informed it that the source of the radioactivity at the Onagawa power plant is being investigated. It said all three reactors at the plant are under control.

Japan also said authorities at another plant have resorted to using sea water to cool a second reactor in an attempt to prevent a meltdown.

Japan said earlier attempts to cool the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant had failed. Sea water is also being used to cool the plant's No. 1 reactor.

Sea water is corrosive and is being used as a last resort.

The French Embassy is advising its citizens to leave Tokyo and its surroundings in case a cloud of radiation heads to the city.

After a devastating earthquake and tsunami, multiple nuclear reactors are facing possible meltdowns at plants more than a hundred miles (200 kilometers) from Tokyo.

The embassy's Sunday message said scientists were indicating that the crisis would be managed and pose little risk to Tokyo.

But it urged those who did not have to be in Tokyo to leave for several days, in case the worst happened and a "radioactive plume" headed for the area.

Up to 160 people in the immediate vicinity of the troubled plants may have been exposed to radiation.

Tokyo Electric Power says it will ration electricity with rolling blackouts in parts of Tokyo and other Japanese other cities.

The planned blackouts of about three hours each will start Monday. They are meant to help make up for a severe shortfall after key nuclear plants were left inoperable due to the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

Trade Minister Banri Kaieda said Sunday that the power utility expects a 25 percent shortfall in capacity. Officials appealed to Japanese for their understanding and support, saying it was the worst crisis the nation has faced since World War II.

Japanese troops have rescued a 60-year-old man who floated out to sea on the roof of his home when a tsunami engulfed Japan's coast following the massive earthquake.

A spokesman for Japan's military said Hiromitsu Shinkawa was pulled from the sea after he was spotted waving a red cloth about 10 miles (15 kilometers) offshore from the quake-ravaged town of Minamisoma.

Shinkawa told his rescuers that the tsunami hit as he and his wife returned home to gather some belongings after the quake. He said his wife was swept away.


TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's top government spokesman says a partial meltdown is likely under way at second reactor affected by Friday's massive earthquake.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Sunday that radiation at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima briefly rose above legal limits, but it has since declined significantly.

Three reactors at the plant lost their cooling functions in the aftermath of quake and tsunami because of a power outage.

Some 170,000 people have been ordered to evacuate the area within 12 miles (20 kilometers) of the plant.

The plant is 170 miles (270 kilometers) north of Tokyo.


TOKYO (AP, WKOW) -- Japan's nuclear safety agency is reporting an emergency at a second reactor in the same complex where an explosion had occurred earlier.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said early Sunday that the cooling system malfunctioned at Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The agency said it was informed of the emergency by Tokyo Electric, the utility which runs the plant.

No further details of the troubles at Unit 3 were immediately available.

An explosion occurred at another reactor in the complex on Saturday, destroying the building housing the reactor and handing authorities an urgent complication amid rescue and relief efforts a day after Friday's earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan's northeastern coast.


TOKYO (WKOW) -- An explosion has been reported at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, and officials believe uranium fuel may be melting at the reactor.

According to reports published by the Japanese NHK news agency, radioactive iodine and radioactive cesium have been detected near the Fukushima Number One power station early Saturday morning (Madison time), and that indicates metal containers of uranium fuel rods are melting.

The plant is located about 160 miles north of the capital Tokyo.

The Tokyo Electric Company reports some people were injured on the ground near the explosion.  It's still not clear where, exactly, the explosion occurred in relation to the Fukushima plant, or what caused it.

Stay tuned to 27 News and WKOW.com for more details as they become available.

Powered by Frankly