March 16th, 2011
09:12 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Water Dumped on Nuclear Plant

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/03/16/t1larg.japan.woman.afp.gi.jpg caption="A woman makes her way through earthquake and tsunami rubble Wednesday in Kamaishi, Japan." width=300 height=169]

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.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

A dire warning on the Japanese nuclear crisis is not coming from Tokyo, instead from Washington. Spent fuel rods in the No. 4 reactor of Japan's Fukuskima Daiichi nuclear plant have been exposed, leading to "very high radiation levels" near the facility, the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

"What we believe at this time is that there has been a hydrogen explosion in this unit due to an uncovering of the fuel in the fuel pool," Gregory Jackzo told a House committee today.

But the Japanese government said radiation levels detected in the surrounding neighborhoods don't pose an immediate health risk. Only residents within 12 miles of the plant were evacuated as precaution. The U.S. is taking a more cautious approach, recommending Americans living within 50 miles to evacuate or stay indoors.

Just moments ago, a helicopter dumped water on one of the reactors, as crews try to lower the temperatures at the site. The rare tactic was aborted today when a chopper would have had to fly into steam rising from the plant.

Meanwhile, a freezing temperatures and snow are hampering search efforts in northeast Japan, where thousands remain missing.

For the survivors, in some areas, the food is running out. The U.S. military is helping the hungry by delivering more than 7,000 pounds of food and water in the disaster zone.

So far, $25 million has been donated to nonprofit organizations in Japan, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. To see how you can help the Japan go to our Impact Your World web page.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Sally MacAller

    This is not Chernobyl at all! We need to concentrate on
    cleaning up the debris, by shredding the cars/metal-steel, to pulp, remaking it into steel, chipping, pulping, and making the wood into usable plywood. The Japanese industrial resources can to do this. Clean up the horrible mess and help people regain homes, food of course, water and electricity.
    The tragedy of the nuclear scene is the lack of electricity which must be addressed. It is not going to melt down like Chernobyl, for inflammmable grafite is not used in Japanese reactors, they will release steam but not produce dangerous amounts of radioactivity. Yes they need water in order to close down the reactors and hopefully they will get electricity soon to provide this cooling system.

    The Biggest Worry,to concentrate on now, I believe, is to get the towns and cities so destroyed back into livable places for their people..as quickly as is possible. Let's all concentrate on the cleanup instead of dwelling on the rather overboard– everyone's fear of this questionably ancient uninformed concept of nuclear meltdown or China Syndrome!!–Which can not happen with the newer technology Japan has used! –Um-m at 550 degrees (the highest heat from ther reactors) my oven hasn't melted, but wow the veggies taste great after a few minutes!!

    March 17, 2011 at 1:07 am |
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