Japan has ordered an immediate safety upgrade at all its 55 nuclear power stations, in the wake of the crisis at Fukushima.
It is seen as an acknowledgement that standards were inadequate when the earthquake and tsunami wrecked the plant.
Radioactive iodine has been found in the sea nearby at 3,355 times the legal limit.
It comes on top of evidence of leaks from the reactors at the Daiichi plant. Experts are said to be considering whether to cover the reactor buildings.
An official from Japan’s nuclear safety agency had further bad news. He said smoke had been seen rising above a reactor at the Fukushima Daini plant, several kilometres away from the stricken Daiichi facility.
Further north at Onagawa, there are fears over the safety of another nuclear power station hit by the tsunami, which is no longer working.
Meanwhile work is underway to restore electricity in the devastated areas. Some residents though are reluctant to stay.
“I don’t want to live here again, I’m scared,” said Kazuaki Stou, a 30-year fisherman in the port of Minamisanriku. “Every night, I dream of my normal life in which I live in my home with my family; then, I wake up and realise they’re only in my dreams; they were all swept away by the tsunami.”
The nuclear crisis continues to generate worrying headlines, but the tsunami hit many more people much more directly.
Nearly 28,000 are dead or missing; the survivors will take years to rebuild their homes and their lives.