• The 50 remaining workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant were evacuated, reportedly “briefly,” as radiation levels surged yesterday. A plan for a helicopter to drop water on the reactor failed, and the police are expected to try to use a water cannon as a cooling mechanism. After a fire in a fourth reactor, there are signs that the entire facility may be on the verge of overheating, and a second reactor may have ruptured, making “nuclear meltdown” suddenly all too real a phrase.
Radiation levels in Tokyo increased about 20 times above normal at certain points, though officials claim those levels aren’t harmful and have since dropped. The Japanese government says that radiation levels outside the plant are now stable, but have also asked private companies to help bring supplies to the “tens of thousands” evacuated in the area. They also have warned people around the plant to make their homes “airtight” and stay inside. [Reuters, NYT, NYP]
• The losses due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan “seem likely to exceed $100 billion.” [NYT]
• One bright note: A Japanese student studying in the U.S. found her family alive via YouTube. [CNN]
• The Post gives us a combination “Japan Nuke Cloud” and “Stunning Color Fashion Pullout” cover today. No, these are not related. [Capital]
• Mayor Bloomberg’s approval rating is down again, with the lowest numbers since July 2003. 39 percent of city voters think he’s doing a good job; 51 percent don’t, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. He is liked more, however, than the nearly universally abhorred Cathie Black, schools chancellor, who got a 17 percent approval rating. [NYDN]
• What do you know? Being tied to a bad job — one that pays badly, offers little security, and, most likely, you despise — is just as detrimental to your mental and emotional health as if you had no job at all. [Pat’s Papers]