Japan: Workers Evacuated As Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Emits Gray Smoke

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Monday, March 21st, 2011

Workers at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant were evacuated on Monday after reactor No. 3 emitted a cloud of gray smoke, Kyodo reported, citing plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The power company said the cloud appeared at around 3.55 pm local time (06.55 GMT).

The NHK TV channel reported that a fire crew had arrived at the site.

Satellite image of the Unit 3 moments after the second explosion on 14 March, 11:04 JST
Satellite image of the Unit 3 moments after the second explosion on 14 March, 11:04 JST

The death toll from a powerful earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan 10 days ago has risen to 8,450, with 12,931 people missing. The disaster triggered a number of explosions at Fukushima, spreading fears of massive radioactive contamination.

Before the evacuation, engineers at the plant were working to restore electricity supplies to the plant’s reactors. Tokyo Electric said earlier on Monday that all six of the plant’s reactors had been reconnected to electricity cables.

The electricity supply, which could take up to three days to be restored, will run an automated cooling system in the damaged reactors and pools containing spent nuclear fuel.

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