March 15th, 2011
11:59 PM ET
March 15th, 2011
11:45 PM ET
March 15th, 2011
09:49 PM ET

New Trouble at Nuclear Plant: Join the Live Chat

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Anderson is reporting live from Japan tonight, where another fire has broken out at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. We also have developments on the rescue efforts and what's being done to help the survivors. Plus, a live report from Libya where Gadhafi forces gain ground in their march east.

Want more details on what covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

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Filed under: Live Blog
March 15th, 2011
09:21 PM ET

Evening Buzz: New Fire at Japanese Nuclear Plant

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/03/15/gall.japan.grocery.jpg caption="A masked boy walks past nearly-empty shelves at a supermarket in the Japanese city of Akita  PHOTO CREDIT: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images."  width=300 height=169]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° tonight beginning at 10pm ET to get the latest from Anderson Cooper and CNN's team of correspondents and producers on the ground in Japan.

There's new trouble at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, increasing fears of more radiation contamination. A second fire has broken out at the plant's No. 4 reactor. It's the latest setback for Tokyo Electric Power Company as it tries to prevent a meltdown, following Friday's 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Japan's coast Friday.

Nuclear fears were first raised when the quake and tsunami knocked out regular and backup cooling systems to reactors No. 1 and No. 3. Workers have poured seawater and boric acid into the reactors to prevent a meltdown, but a hydrogen buildup caused an explosion Saturday. Four workers were hurt when the roof was blown off the No. 1 reactor building. Due to radiation fears, those who lived within a 12-mile radius of the plant were told to evacuate.

Monday morning, local time, a second explosion, this time in reactor No. 3, injured several additional workers. Later that night, the No. 2 reactor lost its cooling capability. Workers injected seawater and boric acid into that reactor.

Tuesday morning, local time, a third explosion rocked the site, involving reactor No. 2, and the first fire broke out in reactor No. 4. Officials reported a temporary spike in radiation levels and warned people who lived within 18.6 miles of the plant to stay inside. Japan's Prime Minister called on everyone to stay calm, but acknowledged there is still a "high risk" of further radioactive material of seeping out.

Tonight only about 50 workers remain at the facility.

"I think the workers at this site are involved in a heroic endeavor, because there is at least fragmentary evidence that in some places on this site there are life-threatening doses of radiation," Robert Alvarez, a former Department of Energy official said.

Alvarez also said normally one reactor would have 100 workers assigned to it, with a total of up to 700 people on site.

Another concern is that the seawater effort is not working.

"They are just pumping saltwater in and it's boiling off," nuclear safety advocate Arnie Gundersen said.

"Almost like a pot on the stove. It will keep boiling off. You have to make up for what's boiling off. If the water drops and fuel becomes exposed, it causes a very high gamma ray exposure on site."
Radiation levels in Tokyo, about 140 miles southwest of the plant, were twice the normal level Tuesday, but officials said they didn't pose a health threat.

The U.S. Navy said it is monitoring winds closely and "moving our ships and aircraft as necessary" from the Fukushima nuclear plant. The U.S. ships and helicopters are delivering food, water and blankets to the victims.

Meanwhile, the official death toll from the quake and tsunami has risen to 3,676. That number is expected to rise as search teams reach the hardest hit areas.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 15th, 2011
07:30 PM ET

U.N. remains divided on Libya no-fly zone

Richard Roth and Joe Vaccarello

United Nations (CNN) - The U.N. Security Council is considering a new draft resolution that includes a no-fly zone over Libya and additional economic and political sanctions.

But council nations remain divided on the no-fly zone proposal.

Germany's U.N. ambassador said his country has questions about such a zone. India's U.N. ambassador asked, "Who will implement the no-fly zone? Who would provide assets for it?"

China's U.N. ambassador said his country is concerned about deteriorating conditions in Libya but didn't say whether Beijing backs a no-fly measure.

The United States declined to take a public position. A council diplomat said the U.S. is engaged in negotiations on the text.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
March 15th, 2011
07:00 PM ET

Tsunami aid and relief: How you can help

Eliott C. McLaughlin

(CNN) - The world is mobilizing to help victims of Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami on Japan.

The U.S. State Department is urging U.S. citizens to contact friends and family as soon as possible. They can also e-mail the State Department at JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov. Those seeking information on security in or travel to Japan can call 1-888-407-4747 or 1-202-501-4444.

Google also is helping victims touch base with friends and loved ones. Its People Finder, which was tracking almost 153,000 records as of Monday morning, allows users to look for victims or post information about people. It works in five languages.

As nations offer monetary aid, condolences and rescue teams, many people around the world are seeking ways to ease the burden on the Japanese government and people.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
March 15th, 2011
06:45 PM ET

Continuing problems raise fears of greater radiation threat

CNN Wire Staff

Tokyo (CNN) - A second fire was discovered Wednesday in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the latest in a series of setbacks at the stricken plant that has heightened fears that the incidents could lead to widespread radiation contamination.

The fire followed an explosion Tuesday at the plant's No. 2 reactor and a fire in a storage pond used for spent nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor. Radiation levels at the plant increased to about 167 times the average dose during that fire, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

That dose quickly diminished with distance from the plant, and radiation fell back to levels where it posed no immediate public health threat, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.

But the deteriorating situation and concerns about a potential shift in wind direction that could send radiation toward populated areas prompted authorities to warn people as far as 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) from the plant to stay inside.

"There is still a very high risk of further radioactive material coming out," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said, asking people to remain calm.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
March 15th, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Timeline: How Japan's nuclear crisis unfolded

Bryony Jones

(CNN) - Authorities in Japan are battling to resolve a series of crises at the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi, which was badly hit by last Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Here's a look at efforts to contain the damage and avert a potential nuclear meltdown. (all times and dates are local).

Friday, March 11

2.46 p.m. (0.46 a.m. ET/5.46 a.m. GMT): A magnitude 9.0 earthquake strikes an area 370 kilometers (230 miles) northeast of Tokyo, Japan, at a depth of 24.5 kilometers.

The offshore quake, the fifth largest worldwide since records began, sparks a major tsunami warning across the Pacific. Within an hour a wall of water up to 9 meters (30 feet) high hits the Japanese coast, sweeping away towns and villages in its path.

The quake causes serious damage at Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, about 65 kilometers south of Sendai. Three of the plant's six reactors, which came into service between 1970 and 1979, were already shut down for inspection at the time the disaster struck. Those still in operation are designed to also shut down in the event of a quake, with diesel generators pumping water around the reactors to keep them cool.

But when the tsunami hits, flood water swamps the generators, causing them to fail. The reactors begin to heat up.

8.15 p.m.: The Japanese government declares an emergency at Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

10.30 p.m.: Authorities reveal the cooling system at the plant is not working, and admit they are "bracing for the worst."

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
March 15th, 2011
06:28 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/15/11

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

Committee Ranking Member Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, speaks during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee March 15, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Update: Beat 360° Winners:

Joey Gardner
"You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads sent to Libya."


Kerry LeCorre
"oh boy... i'm in over my head on this one..."

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
March 15th, 2011
05:24 PM ET

Letters to the President: #785 'The strength of Japan'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Japan struggles on. Here is today’s letter.

Dear Mr. President,

Following the stories from Japan I am struck by the tremendous composure of so many of the people there in the midst of this tragedy. I watched a good bit of NHK’s coverage with English translation last night, and time after time I saw people facing the most horrendous circumstances speaking with in admirably measured tones and with an apparent sense of calm.

Related: Orderly disaster reaction in line with deep cultural roots

I saw one man whose children survived, but whose wife is missing. The camera crew followed him as he went from place to place, asking if anyone had any information. At one hospital, a woman talked with him for a while. She said she had been in the area near his home searching for survivors, but no, she had not found his wife. She apologized as if it were a personal failing on her part, which it decidedly was not. And he responded by thanking her for her time and effort. They bowed to each other, and his search went on.

There can be no doubt that Japanese families and their many friends, far and near, are suffering tremendously. I can hardly imagine their grief. Their sense of loss and displacement must be overwhelming. I suspect, in private, many more are breaking down in despair than those I have seen doing so in front of the cameras.

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