Japanese Nuclear Crisis Is Worst Since Chernobyl; Death Toll in Japan Now at 3,373


There have now been three explosions in four days at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, making the crisis the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Tokyo’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan warned today that radiation has already spread and that there’s “a very high risk” of further leakage. Engineers (who are “working at tremendous personal risk”) continue to pump seawater into the plant to try to cool the most damaged reactor. Radiation measurements have showed a spike of radioactivity, including in Tokyo (though the government has said those levels have since dropped). People living within about 20 miles of the plant have been told to stay inside with their windows closed and to stop using air conditioning. [NYT]

Adding to the crisis, the death toll is now at 3,373, the stock market has plummeted, and temperatures are expected to drop below freezing on Wednesday. According to CNN’s Live Blog, 6,746 people are missing. [CNN]

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a temporary shutdown of seven nuclear power plants. Officials are beginning a three-month safety review of the country’s 17 plants. Switzerland is also looking into its use of nuclear power, and may decrease its reliance on it. [NYT]

There’s a “very wide spectrum of alarm on today’s front pages” regarding the Japanese nuclear crisis…Pat Kiernan sums them up. (Are We Safe?) [Pat’s Papers]

Another tour bus accident, this one involving a Super Luxury Tours bus traveling from New York City to Philadelphia last night, has occurred. The bus crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing the bus driver and a passenger; five people are reported critically injured. [WNYC]

Michael Dion, the man who was trapped between a train and the subway platform extender in Union Square last year, is likely to sue the MTA for $15 million. Meanwhile, the MTA claims he was drunk, and that witnesses saw him with a can of Budweiser. Dion says he wasn’t drunk, and his lawyer says, “He was not slugging beer on the platform.” [NYP]

The world’s most expensive dog has been sold for almost a million dollars. He is a red Tibetan Mastiff puppy named Big Splash, or “Hong Dong” in Chinese, where he was bred. Importantly, he is pretty cute. [Telegraph]