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'Explosion' at Japanese nuclear reactor

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'Explosion' at Japanese nuclear reactor
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Reports from Japan say there has been an explosion at a nuclear power station where there was already an emergency after yesterday’s earthquake.

A white cloud has been seen rising from the site at the Fukushima No.1 plant. Japanese TV reports speak of several workers having been injured, and that walls and a roof have been destroyed.

One expert has suggested that the explosion does not appear to have happened in the reactor itself. But Japanese media are reporting that the external structure of the reactor may have been damaged.

The authorities have already been evacuating 20,000 people from the area around the plant fearing possible meltdown.

There had already been problems with cooling systems at both Fukushima plants. The government warned of possible radiation at the first before irregularities at the second were discovered.

Radioactivity is said to be 20 times normal levels around the No.1 plant.

The authorities had been forced to release radioactive steam into the atmosphere.

Thousands of people had been moved to safety away from the site. The evacuation zone has now been extended.