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A fresh explosion was heard on Tuesday morning at a quake-stricken Japanese nuclear power plant, the country's nuclear safety agency said.

Authorities at the Fukushima Daiichi complex, damaged in Friday's 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami, are trying to prevent meltdowns in three of the plant's nuclear reactors.

Two previous explosions ripped through unit 1 and 3 reactor buildings, but these had not damaged the nuclear vessels, authorities have said.

There was no immediate word on any damage from this third blast, which is now believed to have occurred in the remaining reactor, unit 2.

I think the situation is still very, very grim - we are by far not over the worst

Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Japan has asked the US for help to stop the American-designed reactors plunging into uncontrollable meltdown.

The plea comes after water levels were restored in the ailing reactor, but the fuel rods remained partially exposed and at risk of overheating.

The appeal for help comes as the the Japanese government confirmed that part of the container housing the troubled nuclear reactor appears to be damaged.

Damage to the hermetically-sealed reactor container dramatically increases the risk of serious radiation leaks.

The ex-deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Sky News that the Daiichi unit 2 reactor may deteriorate even more.

"I think the situation is still very, very grim - we are by far not over the worst," Olli Heinonen said.
Nuclear Expert Olli Heinonen Says situation 'very grim'

The troubles at the Daiichi plant compound the immense challenges faced by the Tokyo government as it struggles to send relief to hundreds of thousands of people along the country's north-east coast.

It is now widely believed that at least 10,000 people died in the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

A top Japanese official said the fuel rods in all three of the most troubled nuclear reactors at Daiichi appeared to be melting.

Of all these troubles, the drop in water levels - risking overheating and meltdown - at unit 2 had officials the most worried.

"Units 1 and 3 are at least somewhat stabilised for the time being," Ryohei Shiomi, of Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said.

"Unit 2 now requires all our effort and attention."

Workers managed to raise water levels after a second drop on Monday night, but levels began falling for a third time, according to nuclear agency official Naoki Kumagai.

Specialists considered a plan to spray water directly on the overheating reactor container to cool it - and realised it was damaged.

The head of the IAEA said the Japanese government has asked the agency for help and the US confirmed experts were being sent to the plants 150 miles north of Tokyo.

A hydrogen explosion occurred in the US-designed reactor 1 building on March 12 and a second blast destroyed the building housing unit 3 on Monday.

The blasts injured 15 workers and military personnel and exposed up to 190 people to elevated radiation doses.
Japan's nuclear reactors explained

The blasts actually lessened pressure building inside the troubled reactors, and officials said the all-important containment shell - thick concrete armour around reactors - had not been damaged.

In addition, officials said radiation levels remained within legal limits, though anyone left within 12 miles of the scene was ordered to remain indoors.

"We have no evidence of harmful radiation exposure," deputy Cabinet secretary Noriyuki Shikata said.

Specialists are now considering spraying water directly on the damaged container in an attempt to cool it externally.

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This is not a time to  panic, but to prepare to rule this world with God's truth, as written in the Bible.  FEAR NOT is God's command.  He said, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  Pray for others, forgive all so your heavenly Father can forgive you.  Pray for peace among all men; obey our rulers (1Peter2:13-20).  God promises to protect His people and take His Bride to a place of safety.  Live like you will be here for another 50 years; prepare your heart and focus as though you will leave soon.

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