Two weeks on and the spectre of contamination from Japan’s disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear plant looms larger than ever.
After three workers there were exposed to radiation levels 10,000 times higher than normal, it is feared Reactor No. 3’s core may have been damaged.
Two reactors are now seen as safe but the other four are volatile, occasionally emitting steam and smoke.
Making his first public statement on the crisis in a week, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan offered little reassurance.
“The current condition of the Fukushima nuclear power plant does not allow for any optimism, yet. We will do our utmost to prevent the situation from deteriorating further,” he said.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami have left more than 27,000 people dead or missing.