Third Explosion at Japan's Nuclear Power Plant

By: CBS
By: CBS

Japan is setting up a joint-response headquarters with the operator of a compromised nuclear reactor as reports surface of yet another explosion. It’s damage control of enormous proportions as the death toll climbs and fears of a meltdown plague survivors.

Troubles worsen at Japan’s ailing Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Reports of a third explosion, this one at Unit 2.

Nuclear rods in that reactor overheated following a blast in Unit 3 Monday. Eleven workers were injured.

Japan has asked for expert help, but officials are downplaying the severity.

"The possibility of the development of this accident into one like the Chernobyl accident is very unlikely," said the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano.

Residents still in the area of Fukushima were evacuated. This shelter is at capacity, and thousands of people were screened for radiation exposure.

"My biggest concern is nuclear radiation,” said one woman. “It will jeopardize our health."

While the fear of radiation hangs in the air, on the ground it's aftershocks. Some are earthquakes in their own right that continue to threaten the nuclear problem and hamper rescue efforts.

That’s the sound of a tsunami warning and the dash to higher ground that interrupts rescue and cleanup efforts.

Japanese teams comb through rubble. Survivors are airlifted to safety. Some even reunited with family members, and the dead are removed.

Everywhere, the devastation is almost too much to comprehend.

“It's too big to explain it,” said Yutaka Kimani. “It's like Hiroshima after atomic bomb to me.”

And like Hiroshima, it will take a massive effort and possibly years to get Japan back on its feet.


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