Earthquake, tsunami news: Worsening reports from Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan

March 11, 2011 — Reports from Japanese news wires said that the reactor cooling systems in two units of Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant have failed.

Japan has declared a nuclear emergency following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit northeast Japan and triggered tsunamis across the Pacific Ocean.

Latest reports from Japanese news wires say that the nuclear plant's operators may release a small amount of radioactive vapor into the air to relieve the reactor pressure built up inside the plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported that the building pressure follows the malfunction of the plant's cooling system

As of press time, there have been no confirmed reports of any radiation leaks, however. About 2,000 people have been urged to evacuate the area as a precaution.

The Fukushima I is an 8-unit nuclear power plant with an installed capacity of about 4.7 GW. Built in 1966, the plant uses boiling water reactors built by GE, Toshiba and Hitachi. It is operated by the TEPCO.

Fukushima Prefecture is located on the eastern side of the island of Honshu, Japan's mainland island.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has reported that nuclear power plants along the West Coast are operating on alert.

The Diablo Canyon and San Onofre power plants, run by PG&E Corp. and Edison International respectively, are under a tsunami watch, but are still but are still running normally and producing power.

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