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1,000 dead in Japan quake; nuke plants overheat

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Dr.Zaka

More than 1,000 people were feared dead and authorities scrambled to prevent meltdown at two nuclear plants Saturday after a monster tsunami devastated a swathe of northeast Japan.
Reactor cooling systems failed after Friday’s record 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit, unleashing a terrifying 10-metre high wave that tore through coastal towns and cities and destroying all in its path.
Radiation 1,000 times above normal was detected in the control room of one nuclear plant, although authorities said levels outside the facility’s gates were only eight times above normal, spelling “no immediate health hazard”.
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from around the plants as Tokyo Electric Power, which runs the facilities, said it had released some radioactive vapour at both locations to relieve building reactor pressure.
“We are not in a situation in which residents face health damage,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters, according to Jiji news agency.
The two nuclear plants affected are the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants, both located about 250 kilometres northeast of Tokyo.
The atomic emergency came as the country struggled to assess the full extent of the devastation wrought by the massive tsunami, which was unleashed by the strongest quake ever recorded in Japan off the eastern coast.
The towering wall of water pulverised the northeastern city of Sendai, where police reportedly said 200-300 bodies had been found on the coast.
The unstoppable black tide picked up shipping containers, wrecked cars and the debris of shattered homes and crashed through the streets of Sendai and across open fields, forming a mud slick that covered swathes of land.
Japan sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and Tokyo is in one of its most dangerous areas, where three continental plates are slowly grinding against each other, building up enormous seismic pressure.

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