3rd explosion at Japanese nuclear plant (AP)

ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press

MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press

SOMA, Japan — A third explosion in four days rocked the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in northeast Japan early Tuesday, the country's nuclear safety agency said.

The blast at Dai-ichi Unit 2 followed two hydrogen explosions at the plant — the latest on Monday — as authorities struggle to prevent the catastrophic release of radiation in the area devastated by a tsunami.

 

Japan crisis: third explosion raises spectre of nuclear nightmare

New explosion at Fukushima plant, as engineers fought to prevent a meltdown in the second worst nuclear accident in history.

 
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Fukushima reactor one, bottom left, was the first to explode on Saturday and reactor three, top right, exploded yesterday  Photo: AP
An explosion at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, Japan
 
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Photo: REUTERS
A man is tested for radiation at a decontamination centre for families who were in the possible contamination zone around one of the nuclear plants that leaked following the earthquake and tsunami in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
 
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A man is tested for radiation at a decontamination centre for families who were in the possible contamination zone around one of the nuclear plants that leaked following the earthquake and tsunami in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan Photo: ADAM DEAN
 
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A protestor holds a placard reading "Switch-off nuclear power" during an anti-nuclear demonstration in front of the chancellery in Berlin on Monday. Fears of a major nuclear disaster in Japan after the earthquake put German Chancellor Angela Merkel under pressure. Photo: Getty

A huge explosion hit another reactor at an earthquake-damaged Japanese nuclear power plant early Tuesday, the third blast since Saturday, the plant operator said.

"There was a huge explosion" between 6:00 am (2100 GMT Monday) and 6:15 am at the number-two reactor of Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, a Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) spokesman said.

The government also reported apparent damage to part of the container shielding the same reactor at Fukushima 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Tokyo, although it was unclear whether this resulted from the blast.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters the suppression pool of the number-two nuclear reactor appeared to have been damaged.

This is the bottom part of the container, which holds water used to cool it down and control air pressure inside. MORE>>>

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