Fukushima Alert Raised

    In this aerial photo taken from the Asahi Shimbun helicopter, reactors of the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant stand in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Monday, May 28, 2012. Reactors are, from top center, Unit 1, covered with a beige cover, Unit 2, covered with a light blue cover, Unit 3 and Unit 4, showing their damaged structures surrounded by cranes. The prime minister during Japan's nuclear crisis last year said Monday he had to use an emergency law that never anticipated major radiation leaks and lacked experts capable of giving him guidance. (AP Photo/Tom Curley)

    Tom Curley/AP

    On fears that storage tanks are leaking contaminated water at Fukushima, Japanese officials on Wednesday raised alerts to the highest levels since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that prompted a meltdown. Japan’s chief cabinet secretary called the situation “deplorable” and said he feared it could become the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency said on Wednesday that it is are taking the situation “seriously” and is prepared to help out if needed, while China’s foreign minister said he was “shocked” to learn that contaminated water is still leaking. The plant’s operator, Tepco, has been accused of not being prepared for the disaster, and of covering up how much the crisis has spread.

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