March 12, 2011
A massive explosion has struck a Japanese nuclear power plant after Friday’s devastating earthquake. A huge pall of smoke was seen coming from the plant at Fukushima and several workers were injured. Japanese officials fear a meltdown at one of the plant’s reactors after radioactive material was detected outside it. A huge relief operation is under way after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, which killed more than 600. Hundreds more people are missing and it is feared about 1,300 may have died. The offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami which wreaked havoc on Japan’s north-east coast, sweeping far inland and devastating a number of towns and villages. Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan declared a state of emergency at the Fukushima 1 and 2 power plants as engineers try to confirm whether a reactor at one of the stations has gone into meltdown. It is an automatic procedure after nuclear reactors shut down in the event of an earthquake, allowing officials to take rapid action.