Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that a fire in the reactor building of Unit 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was visually observed at 20:45 UTC of 15 March. As of 21:15 UTC of the same day, the fire could no longer be observed.
As previously reported, at 23:54 UTC of 14 March a fire had occurred at Unit 4. The fire lasted around two hours and was confirmed to be extinguished at 02:00 UTC of 15 March, the IAEA said.
Japanese authorities have also informed the IAEA that at 12:00 UTC of 15 March the water level in Unit 5 had decreased to 201 cm above the top of the fuel. This was a 40 cm decrease since 07:00 UTC of 15 March. Officials at the plant were planning to use an operational diesel generator in Unit 6 to supply water to Unit 5.
Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that the evacuation of the population from the 20-kilometre zone around Fukushima Daiichi has been successfully completed.
The Japanese authorities have also advised that people within a 30-km radius to take cover indoors. Iodine tablets have been distributed to evacuation centres but no decision has yet been taken on their administration.
The Japanese government today requested assistance from the IAEA in the areas of environmental monitoring and the effects of radiation on human health, asking for IAEA teams of experts to be sent to Japan to assist local experts. Preparations for these missions are currently under way.
The missions will draw on IAEA resources and may also possibly involve Response and Assistance Network (RANET) and Member States’ capabilities.