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Nuclear Safety
Special> Earthquake in Japan> Nuclear Safety
UPDATED: March 13, 2011
Japanese PM Declares Atomic Power Emergency

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday declared a state of atomic power emergency after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Japan's northeastern Honshu island, though no radiation leaks have been detected.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that around 3,000 residents living within a 3-km radius of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima need to evacuate.

But those living within a 10-km radius could stay at home, he said.

The top government spokesman noted that some cooling functions were not working at the plant and one reactor cannot be cooled down.

But he said the evacuation call is precautionary as no radiation leaks have so far been detected.

And the central government has sent senior officials to the plant to help cope with any emergency.

At a press conference earlier in the day, Edano said that residents near nuclear power plants do not need to take any special actions as no nuclear radiation leaks have been detected so far.

Separately, a fire broke out at a nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture following the massive quake which has so far sent the death toll to hundreds.

Tohoku Electric Power Co. said that the fire started detected at a building housing the turbine at its Onagawa plant but denied any radiation leaks.

The industry ministry said that there were no immediate reports from monitoring posts of fires or other abnormalities near the nuclear plants.

According to the ministry, 11 nuclear reactors were automatically shut down at the Onagawa plant, Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants and Tokai No. 2 plant.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2011)

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