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Another earthquake shakes Japan, Fukushima evacuated: a nuclear timeline

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Day 5 – Tuesday, March 15

  • An explosion hits Fukushima Daiichi's No. 2 reactor in the morning. Readings indicate some damage to the No. 2 reactor's suppression pool, a donut-shaped reservoir at the base of the reactor's containment vessel.
  • A fire is ignited in the No. 4 reactor building Tuesday, but is later put out, according to officials.
  • The plant is emitting as much radiation in one hour as it normally would in six months, but government spokesman Yukio Edano says: "The possibility that a large amount of radiation has been released is low."
  • The head of France's Nuclear Safety Authority, upgrades the international alert from a level 4 disaster to a level 6 incident.
  • Foreign companies begin to order evacuations of their employees.

Day 6 - Wednesday, March 16

  • A fire breaks out at the building housing the No. 4 reactor. It's believed to be the same spot where a fire broke out Tuesday.
  • The roof of reactor No. 4 is believed to be cracked.
  • Japan suspends operations at Fukushima after a surge in radiation makes it "too dangerous for workers to remain at the facility."
  • After a brief suspension, workers are allowed back on site.
  • Japan's emperor makes a rare national appearance, officials say it is his first ever TV appearance
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko indicates in remarks to a House committee that the US believed the damage at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex was even graver than Japanese officials had outlined in public.
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