MSNBC (www.msnbc.com) reports: "Footage on Japanese TV showed the explosion had crumbled the building's walls, leaving only a skeletal metal frame standing. Its roof had also been blown off. Plumes of smoke spewed out of the plant..."
The Japanese government has now increased three times the size of the evacuation area from the plant, starting first at 1 mile, then to 6 miles, and now 12 miles. Radiation is clearly leaking and the amounts are reported to be 1,000 normal levels in the control room and 8 times normal level outside the plant.
Populations in the area are being advised to cover their mouths, not drink drinking water, and iodine is being distributed.
As many as 6 nuclear reactors are in trouble, with at least one reactor and perhaps more in danger of a full meltdown. In the case of a full meltdown, much higher levels of radiation release is probable given the damage already clearly visible to the containment structures.
This catastrophic situation is a second major energy shock in 30 days to the world. The Japanese nuclear industry is considered among the best and safest in the world. This disaster there will have profoundly negative impacts on the future of nuclear power around the world and in America.
I live in the Three Mile Island evacuation area and had responsibility for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's radiation protection programs and emergency response. I will be blogging regularly on this incredible event.