We've been updating this item all day and night --- having started the earlier this afternoon --- as events have developed...See bottom for latest updates through the EXPLOSION which has 3/12/11 1am PT.
We are now moving the UPDATES as of the EXPLOSION to a new item here...
This now deserves its own item --- as I've feared it has since last night's cryptic official comments --- so I've broken off the UPDATES from the previous item, concerning the nuclear emergency declared at Fukushima in the wake of last night's earthquake and tsunami in Japan to this item, dedicated to the nuke issues.
We asked, snarkily, at the end of the original item earlier today: "Nuclear Energy for America: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"
We may be learning exactly that tonight, as radiation levels are reported to be 1000 times normal levels; "emergency" declarations now exist for two plants --- Fukushima Daiichi plant on east coast, 200 miles north of Tokyo and the Fukushima Daiichi complex --- with a total of five reactors said to be at risk; evacuations around the plants have been expanded to 10km; and, as one of the experts has said (and several others have concurred), "the possibility of some sort of core meltdown" exists.
If there was nothing to worry about here, it seems that officials would be saying that over and over. They are not.
So, the original UPDATES to the earlier item, and the additional ones we've added throughout the day, all follow below --- with new UPDATES, and what seems to be the increasingly bad news, including two nuclear experts who have just appeared on Rachel Maddow moments ago saying the more they hear, the less assured they are that things are safe --- all added to the bottom of the article, where we'll continue to update as warranted.
We're also continue to tweet quick updates and links via: @TheBradBlog.
UPDATE 12:41pm PT: More details here on the "Nuclear Crisis at Fukushima". The article is already outdated, however, as the 2km evacuation has just now been expanded to 10km by the Japanese Prime Minister, according to tweets from VOA's Asian Bureau Chief Steve Herman who adds: "Officials now saying radiation at Fukushima nuke plant 1,000X normal level." (BBC report on levels.)
Herman adds Kyodo is reporting "This suggests radioactive steam could spread around the facility."
Really not good.
UPDATE: 2:41pm PT: CNN has an update now, including an expert who says, "If they can't restore power to the plant (and cool the reactor), then there's the possibility of some sort of core meltdown."
Key excerpts now follow below...