By Ria Novosti
Radiation levels at the quake-hit Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant in northeastern Japan have increased following a reported blast, the television said quoting local authorities on Saturday.
Tokyo Electricity Company, which operates the nuclear plant, said an explosion was heard in the area of the Fukushima No.1 plant and white smoke could be seen ten minutes later.
Japan’s NHK company has circulated photos of the Fukushima No.1 plant, which showed the external wall of one of the units damaged by the alleged blast.
Media reported high radiation levels in and near the first unit of the plant on Saturday, citing low water levels and overheated reactors as the causes. People began to be evacuated from the area.
Officials denied any meltdown but then the Industry Ministry called an emergency news conference to say that experts had released pressure and let out steam in the reactors of the first unit in a move to prevent radiation leaks in the area. The release of steam is likely to include radioactive materials, the Kyodo news agency has said.