Posted: March 11, 2011 in Asia, Mother Nature
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Evacuations Near Japan Nuclear Plant

2,800 People Evacuated

Updated: Friday, 11 Mar 2011, 8:37 AM EST
Published : Friday, 11 Mar 2011, 7:40 AM EST

MYFOXNY.COM – Some 2,800 residents living near Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant were urged to evacuate Friday.  Engineers said they were unable to pump water to cool the nuclear reactor at a northeastern power plant crippled by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake.

Officials in Fukushima issued the advice for residents living within a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) radius of the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Japan declared a nuclear emergency Friday after engineers said they were unable to pump water to cool the nuclear reactor at a northeast power plant crippled by fire caused by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said there was no radiation leak after the cooling system at the plant in Fukushima failed.

He added that the plant had automatically shut down following the quake and there was no immediate danger.

Japanese police reported a major explosion at a petrochemical complex in Sendai later in the day.

The quake was the biggest Japan has experienced since records began, eclipsing the 7.9-magnitude Great Kanto Earthquake that devastated Tokyo in 1923 and the 6.8-magnitude quake that hit Kobe in 1996. The quake was the world’s seventh-largest on record, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

“The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference.

At least 44 people were initially reported killed, but the death toll is expected to rise dramatically. A ship carrying 100 people was swept away off the northeastern coast, police said, and there were local reports of at least 200 people being caught in a landslide in the province of Sendai — one of the worst-affected areas.

More than 300 houses either collapsed or were washed away in the Pacific coastal city of Ofunato after Friday’s quake and tsunami, Jiji press reported.

A passenger train was also unaccounted for Friday in tsunami-hit coastal Japan, according to Kyodo News.

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