Japan crisis 'worst since WWII' Since65 Years
** Police warn that the death toll in one of the worst-hit areas is likely to exceed 10,000
**Japan is experiencing its greatest hardships since World War II, Prime Minister Naoto Kan says, in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, and a growing crisis at a nuclear plant.
**uncertainty still surrounds the situation on the ground and the status of the three reactors that were functioning at the time of Friday's earthquake and tsunami.
It appears that a partial meltdown did occur in reactor 1.
On Sunday, officials said the same thing was suspected in reactor 3 - although later, they appeared to retract this statement.
**there is a problem in pumping enough water so cooling the cores.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), which operates the plant, gave this status report :
Reactor 1 - shut down, under inspection because of Saturday's explosion, sea water and boric acid being pumped in
Reactor 2 - water level "lower than normal", but stable
Reactor 3 - high pressure coolant injection was "interrupted"; but injection of sea water and boric acid were under way.
Later, officials said seawater and boric acid were also being pumped into reactor 2.
They were still encountering problems - among them, a stuck valve. Its exact purpose was not revealed.
Venting of mildly radioactive steam continued at reactors 2 and 3, and officials warned that an explosion was possible in reactor 3's building.
The official line is that the reactor 1 explosion was caused by a build-up of hydrogen originally produced in the reactor, though this remains to be confirmed.
Although visually spectacular, these explosions are not necessarily dangerous in terms of releasing radioactivity. The buildings are an external shell, with the task of sealing radioactive materials falling to a metal containment vessel constructed inside the concrete shell.
"The explosion... wasn't a terribly important event," according to Malcolm Grimston from the Energy Policy and Management Group at Imperial College, London.
"The building was designed to fall outwards" - preventing damage to the thick steel containment vessel inside