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N-plant workers flee amid smoke

Workers at a leaking nuclear complex in Japan have been evacuated from the site after black smoke was seen rising from above its crippled Unit 3.

Officials at Tokyo Electric Power, which runs the plant, said workers from the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have been temporarily evacuated.

Operators of the power station have been desperately trying to cool the reactors and spent fuel pools at the plant after it was damaged by this month's tsunami, which knocked out power to the cooling systems.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, of the Nuclear Safety Agency, said "we don't know the reason" for the smoke which sparked the latest evacuation.

Meanwhile, officials in Tokyo have warned that the radioactive iodine in some city tap water is two times the safety limit for infants and have recommend that babies are not given it.

The officials said a water treatment centre which supplies much of the city's tap water found that some water contained 210 becquerels per litre of iodine 131. The limit for consumption of iodine 131 for infants is 100 becquerels per litre.

Although they said babies should not be given tap water, they said the water is not an immediate health risk for adults.

As well as the water supply, produce has also been found to be tainted.

Early on Wednesday, the government added broccoli to the list of contaminated vegetables, which also include spinach, canola, and chrysanthemum greens. Government officials and health experts say the doses are low and not a threat to human health unless the tainted products are consumed in abnormally excessive quantities.

Japan's government has now warned that the economic cost of the catastrophic double-disaster could reach £190 billion.


From Belfast Telegraph