Japan Latest: Residents Being Evacuated

Engineers are still trying to get cooling systems restored to the crippled nuclear power plant in Japan. The situation appears to be stabilizing - but the final fix may be weeks away.
Randall Pinkston has the latest from the United Nations.

Workers at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have discovered that some cooling pumps were completely destroyed by the tsunami and earthquake. New ones will have to be brought in.
Smoke from two reactors forced another evacuation and stalled repair work at the plant. Engineers are working to get cooling systems operating again - but officials now say that could take weeks.

William Borchardt , the top U.S nuclear regulator, says although three reactors probably have core damage, the situation at the troubled plant appears to be stabilizing, “today all three appear to be stable with sea water being used to cool.”

The UN's nuclear chief is also sounding more optimistic. While he still calls the situation very serious....he says there are signs of improvement at the plant.

But for thousands who live near the complex, conditions are deteriorating. Unsafe levels of radiation have been found in food and farmers have been told they may have to destroy their crops.

In the town of Rikuzentakata work has begun building temporary homes. More than 70 percent of the houses there were destroyed. Many have been living in the crowded high school gym.

To the south in Tokyo, evacuated residents are returning home hoping to resume their lives.

Trace amount of radiation have been found in Tokyo's drinking water. Government officials claim the levels are too low to pose a risk.

The head of the UN's Atomic Energy Agency says an update to nuclear safety standards should be considered. But he defended the agency's actions in the current crisis.

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