TOKYO — The wind near a quake-damaged nuclear complex in northeast Japan that has released radiation into the atmosphere will blow from the northwest and out into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, weather officials said.
The wind will blow from the west on Thursday, which still means radiation from the plant, which is on the coast, will likely move towards the ocean.
The wind speed got somewhat stronger on Wednesday afternoon, blowing as fast as at 39 feet per second.
"It is likely to continue blowing from the northwest until early evening and from the west at night," said an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency in Fukushima prefecture, where the plant is based.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) , is about 150 miles north of Tokyo on the country's northeast coast.
Japan's nuclear crisis appeared to be spinning out of control on Wednesday after workers withdrew briefly from the stricken power plant because of surging radiation levels, but desperate efforts to avert a catastrophic meltdown quickly resumed.
The plant has sent low levels of radiation wafting into Tokyo in the past 24 hours, triggering both fear in the capital and international alarm.
Officials said radiation in Tokyo was 10 times normal at one point on Tuesday, but not a threat to human health in the sprawling high-tech city of 13 million people.
Radiation levels in Tokyo remained low on Wednesday but those in Ibaraki, north of Tokyo, were 300 times normal on Wednesday, Kyodo news agency said. But they were still well below hazardous levels.
A massive earthquake and tsunami on Friday crippled the plant's cooling functions, forcing operator Tokyo Electric Power Co to pour sea water into the reactors, releasing radioactive air into atmosphere.
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