Japan's nuclear power plants in trouble

An aerial view shows the quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in the Japanese town of Futaba, Fukushima prefecture on March 12, 2011. Japan scrambled to prevent nuclear accidents at two atomic plants where reactor cooling systems failed after its massive earthquake. Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated.

According to The New York Times:

Japanese television showed a cloud of white-gray smoke from the explosion billowing up from a stricken reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Saturday afternoon, and officials said leaks of radiation from the plant prompted them to expand the evacuation area around the facility to a 12-mile radius.

Tokyo Electric Power, which runs the plants, said it had released some radioactive vapor into the atmosphere at one plant to relieve building reactor pressure, but said the move posed no health risks.

PHOTO: STR/AFP/Getty Images

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