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Radiation levels in seawater off Japan at record levels; plants will get safety upgrade

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan ordered an immediate safety upgrade at its 55 nuclear power plants on Wednesday in its first acknowledgement that standards were inadequate when an earthquake and tsunami wrecked a facility nearly three weeks ago, sparking the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. As operators struggle to regain control of…

Nuclear fears spark rush for radiation detectors

WASHINGTON – A scare over irradiated food from Japan has sparked a global rush to buy radiation detectors, US dealers said Tuesday, with most reporting they have no more stock to sell. Buyers, especially from Pacific rim countries, are snapping up geiger counters amid worries that radiation from the hobbled…

Japanese corporations agree to forgo tax cuts, for good of their country

Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, said the influential lobby would not fight the government if it decided to shelve a plan to lower the corporate tax rate, which at around 40 percent is among the highest in the industrialized world. Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano suggested last week the government…

Germany will ‘exit’ nuclear power industry, Merkel vows

BERLIN (AFP) – Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Thursday that Germany would speed up the transition to renewable energy as Europe’s top economy mulled a “measured exit” from nuclear power after the events in Japan. “We want to reach the age of renewable energy as soon as possible. That is our…

Swedish firm applies to bury nuclear waste amid protests

STOCKHOLM – A Swedish nuclear industry group applied to authorities Wednesday for permission to bury nuclear waste for the period it is unsafe, but Greenpeace protesters warned of the risks of leakage. If the plan is approved, Sweden could become the first country in the world to bury spent nuclear…

U.S. Nuke Chief: ‘There is no water in the spent fuel pool’ at Fukushima reactor 4

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. nuclear regulator told Congress on Wednesday the United States will not be hit by harmful radiation from Japan’s crisis-hit reactors and that the evacuation area around them is smaller than what it would recommend. Gregory Jaczko, head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, also said…

Japan’s nuclear crisis deepens, emperor addresses nation

SENDAI, Japan — Japan’s Emperor Akihito delivered a rare address to a jittery nation in dread of nuclear catastrophe Wednesday as millions struggled in desperate conditions after quake and tsunami disasters. The television appearance by the emperor emphasised the severity of the crisis gripping Japan in the wake of the…

Blasts, new fire escalate Japan’s nuclear crisis

SENDAI, Japan – Japanese crews battled Wednesday to avert a nuclear disaster and said they may pour water from helicopters to stop fuel rods from being exposed to the air and releasing even more radioactivity. Fire crews were fighting a new blaze at reactor number four at the quake-hit Fukushima…

Wall Street tumbles more than 2 percent

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street tumbled more than 2 percent on Tuesday and the Nasdaq turned negative for the year as Japan’s looming nuclear crisis looked set to thrust financial markets into a period of turmoil. U.S. shares seen as exposed to the disaster as well as economically sensitive…

Japan braces for potential radiation catastrophe

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan faced a potential catastrophe on Tuesday after a quake-crippled nuclear power plant exploded and sent low levels of radiation floating toward Tokyo, prompting some people to flee the capital and others to stock up on essential supplies. Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged people within 30 km…

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