A new fire broke out early Wednesday at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan, news agencies reported.
It followed a blast at the plant on Tuesday morning, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said, according to the Japanese public broadcaster NHK
. It was the third explosion in four days.
Radiation levels spiked near the nuclear plant after the explosion and officials expressed concerns that fuel rods in the reactor cores had partly melted, the Kyodo news agency reported
Japan's prime minister, Naoto Kan, said in a televised address Tuesday that further radiation leaks were expected at the plant and he urged people living 20 to 30 miles from the facility to stay indoors. People have been evacuated from the area within 20 miles of the plant.
On Tuesday a fire broke out in the nuclear plant's No. 4 reactor. The new fire is in the northeast corner of the building that contains that reactor, The Washington Post
The explosions and fires at the plant came in the days after an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 and a tsunami devastated northeastern Japan on Friday. The nuclear plant was damaged in the earthquake and the Tokyo Electric Power Company has been scrambling since then to prevent meltdowns in its reactors, even pumping seawater into them to try to keep the nuclear fuel cool.
The first explosion shook the No. 1 reactor on Saturday; the second hit the No. 3 reactor on Monday.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Monday that is sending eight additional reactor experts to Japan in response to the government's request for help. On Saturday, the United States dispatched two experts to Japan.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government raised the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami to 2,414, but that number is expected to rise much higher because at least 3,118 are still missing, CNN reported
, nuclear power