lack of electricity after the quake, said Hidehiko Nishiyama,
chief spokesman of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
Since then the temperature had been rising and there was a
possibility that it was boiling, he said.
It would take 7-10 days for the water to boil away, leaving
the spent fuel rods exposed to the air, said Kazuya Aoki, a
director for safety examination. As long as the spent fuel rods
were covered with water there should be no leak of radioactive
material from them, he said.
Officials were considering options including using
helicopters to pour water into the reactor pool, though the
openings created by the explosion were on the north and west
sides of the reactor, making it difficult to access from above.
VILLAGES AND TOWNS WIPED OFF THE MAP
The full extent of the destruction from last Friday's
9.0-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami that followed it was
becoming clear as rescuers combed through the region north of
Tokyo where officials say at least 10,000 people were killed.
Whole villages and towns have been wiped off the map by
Friday's wall of water, triggering an international humanitarian
effort of epic proportions. A 6.4-magnitude aftershock -- a
significant earthquake in its own right on any other day --
shook buildings in Tokyo late on Tuesday but caused no damage.
About 850,000 households in the north were still without
electricity in near-freezing weather, Tohuku Electric Power Co.
said, and the government said at least 1.5 million households
lack running water. Tens of thousands of people were missing.
Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief economist for Japan at Credit
Suisse, said in a note to clients that the economic loss will
likely be around 14-15 trillion yen ($171-183 billion) just to
the region hit by the quake and tsunami.
The earthquake has forced many firms to suspend production
and global companies -- from semiconductor makers to
shipbuilders -- face disruptions to operations after the quake
and tsunami destroyed vital infrastructure, damaged ports and
knocked out factories.
"The earthquake could have great implications on the global
economic front," said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics
at Lec Securities in New York. "If you shut down Japan, there
could be a global recession."
(Additional reporting by Nathan Layne, Linda sieg, Risa Maeda,
and Leika Kihara in Tokyo, Chris Meyers and Kim Kyung-hoon in
Sendai, Taiga Uranaka and Ki Joon Kwon in Fukushima, Noel
Randewich in San Francisco, Tan Ee-lyn in Singapore and Miyoung
Kim in Seoul; Writing by David Fox and Jason Szep; Editing by
Andrew Marshall and Dean Yates)
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