In Japan, attention is focusing in two places: First, search and rescue operations and the massive recovery ahead in the large sections of the northeastern coast devastated by Friday’s earthquake and tsunamis. The other increasingly critical concern: the condition of damaged nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture.

Saturday afternoon, an explosion was seen at the No. 1 Reactor of Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The links:

Yomiuri includes this ominous description of the incident:

An explosion was heard from the No. 1 plant at about 3:36 p.m. [10:36 p.m. Friday night PST] and white smoke was witnessed about 10 minutes later, Tokyo Electric Power Co officials said, adding that four workers were injured. However, the cause of the blast remained unknown.

TV footage showed that the No. 1 reactor appeared to have been destroyed, with its outer walls seemingly collapsed.

Click the image below for video from Nippon TV’s News 24 service, which shows the blast.

Author

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke (Twitter: @danbrekke) has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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