Melt­down threat

Sec­ond ex­plo­sion in nu­clear cri­sis

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

THE grim dis­cov­ery of more than 2000 bod­ies on Ja­pan’s shore­line has brought home the enor­mity of the de­struc­tion from Fri­day’s earth­quake and en­su­ing tsunami.

About 1000 bod­ies were f ound yes­ter­day on t he shore­line of Miyagi’s Ojika Penin­sula, the re­gion hit hard­est by the 9.0 quake.

The other 1000 corpses were dis­cov­ered washed ashore at the port town of Mi­namisan­riku where authorities are still try­ing to de­ter­mine the fate of some 10,000 peo­ple un­ac­counted for since Fri­day.

The po­lice have con­firmed a death toll of 1597 while 1481 peo­ple are known to be miss­ing across the east­ern and north­east­ern parts of Ja­pan. The worst fears are that the fi­nal death toll will be well above 10,000.

Miyagi pre­fec­ture has now asked for help from other pre­fec­tures in cre­mat­ing vic­tims of the disas­ter as they are un­able to keep up with dis­cov­ery of bod­ies.

As the full ex­tent of the cri­sis con­tin­ues to be­come ap­par­ent, the threat of nu­clear melt­down con­tin­ues fol­low­ing a sec­ond ex-plo­sion at the Fukushima nu­clear power plant yes­ter­day and the on­go­ing op­er­a­tion to con­trol tem­pera- tures and ra­dioac­tive leaks at two crip­pled re­ac­tors.

The United Na­tions said a to­tal of 590,000 peo­ple had been evac­u­ated, in­clud­ing 210,000 liv­ing near the two Fukushima nu­clear plants. With so many now liv­ing in shel­ters, the sup­ply of food and fresh wa­ter rapidly be­com­ing just one more mas­sive prob­lem for authorities to deal with.

DFAT are still try­ing to con­tact about 150 Aust- ralians reg­is­tered in af­fected ar­eas. This in­cludes Mel­bourne man Ja­son Briffa who has not been heard of since Fri­day.

The clo­sure of nu­clear power plants in af­fected ar­eas has al­ready led to mas­sive power f ail­ures. Rolling power out­ages were sched­uled t o be­gin l ast night. About a third of Ja­pan’s power us­age comes from nu­clear en­ergy.

The Bank of Ja­pan has pumped 15 t ril­lion Yen ( A$ 183 bil­lion) i nto t he coun­try’s bank­ing sys­tem fol­low­ing a 6 per cent col­lapse of Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 In­dex.

The eco­nomic cost of the disas­ter has been put at up to $ US34.6 bil­lion ($ A34.68b) by lead­ing US risk anal­y­sis firm AIR World­wide.

The nu­clear cri­sis wors­ened with an­other ex - plo­sion at the age­ing Fukus h i ma Dai­ichi nu­clear power sta­tion that blew the roof off the sec­ond re­ac­tor. While of­fi­cials once again gave as­sur­ances the core had not been dam­aged, it is widely as­sumed a ra­dioac­tive leak has taken place.

Ja­pan’s atomic cri­sis is pre­dicted to carry on for months as tech­ni­cians flood the two crip­pled re­ac­tors to stop them over­heat­ing.

DAN­GER: Ex­plo­sion at the Fukushima No. 1 nu­clear power sta­tion num­ber three re­ac­tor

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