Japan begins road to recovery
March 13th, 2011
11:43 PM ET

Japan quake live blog: Explosion at nuclear plant's reactor building

An 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit northern Japan early Friday, triggering tsunamis that caused widespread devastation and crippled a nuclear power plant. Are you in an affected area? Send an iReport. Read the full report on the quake, tsunami and the fears surrounding Japan's damaged nuclear reactors.

[11:43 p.m. ET Sunday, 12:43 p.m. Monday in Tokyo] Six people were injured after Monday morning's explosion at the building housing the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, Tokyo Electric Power Co. says. Seven people earlier reported as missing have been accounted for, a company official told reporters.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed images of white smoke rising above the facility. Citing the nation's nuclear and industrial agency, NHK said that a wall of one of the reactor's buildings had collapsed.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary said a day earlier that accumulating hydrogen gas "may potentially cause an explosion" in the building housing the No. 3 reactor at the Daiichi plant. A similar scenario played out Saturday, when a blast caused by hydrogen buildup blew the roof off a concrete building housing the plant's No. 1 reactor.

[11:33 p.m. ET Sunday, 12:33 p.m. Monday in Tokyo] The official death toll from the earthquake and the tsunami has risen to 1,627, authorities said Monday. This doesn't count the 2,000 bodies that the Kyodo news agency reported were found Monday in Miyagi Prefecture on Japan's east coast.

As of 10 a.m., at least 1,720 people were missing and 1,962 injured, according to the National Police Agency Emergency Disaster Headquarters. The number of dead is expected to go up as rescuers reach more hard-hit areas.

[10:59 p.m. ET, 11:59 a.m. Tokyo] An explosion happened late Monday morning at the Fukushima Daiichi's No. 3 nuclear reactor building, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano confirmed to reporters.

The container vessel surrounding the reactor remains intact, Edano said, citing the head of the nuclear plant report.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed images of white smoke rising above the facility, which is in northeastern Japan. Citing the nation's nuclear and industrial agency, NHK said that a wall of one of the reactor's buildings had collapsed.

Residents remaining within 20 kilometers of the plant, despite an earlier evacuation order, have been ordered to stay indoors, according to Edano.  The secretary added that initial reports suggested that radiation levels had increased after the blast, but Edano said he did not believe there was a massive leak, given that water continues to be injected into the reactors and that the pressure inside the reactor is "within a certain range."

Edano said a day earlier that accumulating hydrogen gas "may potentially cause an explosion" in the building housing the No. 3 reactor at the Daiichi plant. A similar scenario played out Saturday, when a blast caused by hydrogen buildup blew the roof off a concrete building housing the plant's No. 1 reactor.

[10:38 p.m. ET, 11:38 a.m. Tokyo] Approximately 2,000 bodies were found Monday in Miyagi Prefecture on Japan's east coast, the Kyodo news agency reported.

[10:31 p.m. ET, 11:31 a.m. Tokyo] Japan's nuclear safety and industrial agency reported sounds of an explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant's No. 3 reactor, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

White smoke could be seen rising from the facility at 11 a.m. Monday.

Workers have been flooding this reactor and the plant's No. 1 reactor with seawater to cool them after the earthquake and tsunami damaged the reactors' cooling systems.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said a day earlier that accumulating hydrogen gas "may potentially cause an explosion" in the building housing the No. 3 reactor at the Daiichi plant. A similar scenario played out Saturday, when a blast caused by hydrogen buildup blew the roof off a concrete building housing the plant's No. 1 reactor. The reactor and its containment system were not damaged in the explosion at the No. 1 reactor.

[9:39 p.m. ET, 10:39 a.m. Tokyo] The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami has risen to 1,598, with hundreds more missing, authorities say. At least 1,720 people were missing and 1,923 injured, according to the National Police Agency Emergency Disaster Headquarters. The number of dead is expected to go up as rescuers reach more hard-hit areas.

[9:29 p.m. ET, 10:29 a.m. Tokyo] An aftershock with a magnitude of 5.8 was recorded 27 minutes ago off Japan's east coast, about 140 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

[9:09 p.m. ET, 10:09 a.m. Tokyo] Japan's NHK television network shows the rescue of three senior citizens who had been trapped in a tsunami-swept car for 20 hours.

[8:57 p.m. ET, 9:57 a.m. Tokyo] More information about the 60-year-old Japanese man who was rescued at sea Sunday after he was spotted clinging to the swept-away remains of his house: "I thought today was the last day of my life," Hiromitsu Shinkawa told his rescuers, according to Kyodo News Agency.

[8:51 p.m. ET, 9:51 a.m. Tokyo] The leading Japanese stock index skidded nearly 5% in the opening minutes Monday, the first full day of trading in Tokyo following last week's earthquake.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange opened as usual at 9 a.m. Japan time. The Nikkei-225 index tumbled 493 points, or 4.8%, to just above 9,700, according to the Nikkei website. It was down even further, almost 600 points, in the first few minutes before rebounding.

[8:32 p.m. ET, 9:32 a.m. Tokyo] In the following video, a victim of the tsunami - rescued by the Japanese military - says water swept her out of her home, and that she clung to a tree and then a mat before she was helped.

[7:50 p.m. ET, 8:50 a.m. Tokyo] About 2.5 million households - just over 4% of the total in Japan - were without electricity Sunday, said Ichiro Fujisaki, the nation's ambassador to the United States. Rolling blackouts are expected in some areas to preserve electricity.

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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
March 13th, 2011
07:54 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Walls of water decimated towns and drowned people in their vehicles. Homes were flattened or swept onto fields, and more than 1,600 are known dead, though thousands more are unaccounted for. The world is trying to grasp the scope of the devastation and the dangers still ahead after Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Japan, whose prime minister has said his country is facing its toughest crisis since World War II. Here is a look at this and some of the other stories CNN plans to follow this week:

Rescuers race to find survivors; workers scramble to cool reactors

With the chances of survivability for the trapped and stranded dwindling with time, rescuers in devastated coastal towns in northeastern Japan are racing to save people. Forty-two were rescued on Sunday in the town of Minami Sanriku, where it's been estimated that about 9,500 people are unaccounted for.

Long lines for fuel and food persist not only in hard-hit northeastern Japan, but also in areas such as Tokyo, to the south. More than 1 million Japanese households are without power. And in those that have it, people are enduring rolling, intentional power blackouts meant to preserve energy - the country faces a 10 million kilowatt shortage - as workers try to repair damaged power plants.

Officials are particularly concerned about one damaged nuclear power facility. Workers are flooding two reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant with seawater to cool radioactive material and prevent meltdowns after the earthquake and tsunami damaged the reactors' cooling systems. The Japanese government says it's operating on the presumption that there's been a partial meltdown inside the reactors, and officials are keeping an eye on other plants where elevated radiation levels have been detected, but nuclear experts say they believe the possibility of massive radiation exposure is low for now. At least 30,000 people living within 10 kilometers of the Fukushima plant have been ordered to evacuate.

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
U.S. agencies provide insight into how to prepare for, respond to nuclear disaster
A person who may have been exposed to radiation is carried by soldiers Sunday at a radiation treatment center in Japan.
March 13th, 2011
01:30 PM ET

U.S. agencies provide insight into how to prepare for, respond to nuclear disaster

Disasters like those at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl long ago prompted nations with nuclear power plants to ensure detailed plans are in place in case of an emergency.

With potential crises unfolding at two nuclear plants, Japanese authorities have evacuated tens of thousands of residents from the danger areas.

A handful of people have tested positive for high radiation levels on their skin and clothes, and the Japanese government is working to distribute potassium iodide to residents near the reactors.

Potassium iodide blocks the thyroid gland’s absorption of radiation, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission urges states to consider including the pills as a protective measure for anyone in the 10-mile emergency planning zone surrounding a nuclear power plant.

There is no indication the U.S. has been or will be affected by Japan’s nuclear troubles, but advice and regulations from U.S. government agencies provide insight into how Japan might respond to the damaged reactors.
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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Earthquake • Energy • Japan • Natural Disasters • Tsunami • World
Looking for 'tiger blood' on the Web? Boston man's got it
"Tiger blood" has taken off since embattled actor Charlie Sheen uttered the term in a nationally televised interview.
March 13th, 2011
12:30 PM ET

Looking for 'tiger blood' on the Web? Boston man's got it

Former “Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen may have put tiger blood on the map, but he didn’t put it on the internet.

The Web latched onto the term when the embattled actor told NBC's "Today Show" in a late February interview that he has "tiger blood and Adonis DNA".

The term quickly became a Twitter topic for a few days afterward and was a top search term on Google.

But "winning," at least on the web, apparently involves some legal legwork.

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Filed under: Boston • Charlie Sheen • Google • Twitter
March 13th, 2011
12:53 AM ET

NY police tight-lipped about officer's shooting

Police in New York are expected to release more information Sunday about the shooting death of a Nassau County officer that they are calling accidental.

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Filed under: U.S.