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NEWS: Nuclear, water crisis in Japan following earthquake



Aljazeera reports that, “The death toll in (Japan from) the tsunami and the earthquake which triggered it will likely exceed 10,000 in Miyagi prefecture alone, the local police chief said on Sunday. …The quake, measured to magnitude 9.0 by the Japanese Meteorological Agency, was the strongest quake ever recorded in the country. It has been followed by more than 150 powerful aftershocks. At least 1.4 million households have gone without water since the quake struck (on Friday) and millions of households are without electricity.” adds that, “Officials are closely watching nuclear power plants after an explosion and secondary emergency at one of two nuclear plants damaged by the quake. The nuclear crisis rose on Sunday, when officials said it was likely that a partial meltdown was underway at one reactor in Fukushima. The government had doubled in size the evacuation area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to a 20-kilometre radius. …The nuclear crisis intensified as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple reactor meltdowns, and more than 170,000 people were ordered out of the region. …Five reactors were placed under states of emergency Friday after operators lost the ability to cool them using the usual procedures. A sixth reactor was added to the list early Sunday — for a total of three at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex and three at a nearby plant where higher-than-permitted levels of radioactivity were measured.”

The Toronto Star notes, “Canada has five nuclear reactor complexes: one in New Brunswick, one in Quebec, and three in Ontario. Canada’s nuclear regulator said it’s confident Canadian reactors could withstand a tremor or a tsunami (similar to the one that struck Japan). …A spokeswoman for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. said reactor sites in Canada are built on sturdy ground. Robin Forbes said the sites have been ‘geologically screened to make sure that they are built in a location that is seismically stable.’ Concerns have been raised in the past, however, about whether a nuclear plant in Pickering, Ont. is located on a fault line.”

Under the banner of the Humanitarian Coalition, four aid agencies — CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec and Save the Children Canada — have joined together to raise funds for Japan relief operations. The Canadian Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are also raising funds for relief efforts. More on this – and how you can help – at