The situation deteriorated around Japan Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Tuesday as another explosion rocked the crippled nuclear power station complex. The cascading chain of events that saw three explosions in four days initially damaging reactor number 1, 3 and now number 2 signals a turn for the worse at the stricken plant. Since the Tsunami-related damages to cooling systems at the station, emergency workers had resorted to pumping seawater inside of the reactors casings where overheated uranium fuel rods were at risk of melting-down. The subsequent series of explosions and fires along with increased levels of measured radiations at the site were clear indications that leaks had occurred in and around the fuel casings and their protective mechanisms. Prime minister Naoto Kan and its government latest announcement ordering citizens living within 19 miles of the site to remain indoor was aimed at re-assuring citizens that the worse could be averted. This latest development is also impacting negatively Japan’s economy as the Nikkei 225 fell 10.6% amidst speculations that the cost of economic recovery from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami could surpass the $60 Billion bar.
On the relief front the human toll had already passed 2,000 fatalities with several thousands missing and probably 400,000 without homes. Still the magnitude of the catastrophe appeared to be of a lesser importance as fears of an actual nuclear catastrophe were amplified by all the negative developments at Daiichi. On monday the US 7th fleet participating in the relief effort was taking steps to avoid exposure to radioactive particles released in the air. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan altered its course in order to avoid a radioactive plumes presumably emanating from Daiichi. Prior to that seventeen helicopter crew members from the carrier had already come into contact with low levels of radiation released in the air. The helicopter crews underwent decontamination washing upon their return on board following flights relief to Sendai. The navytimes.com site quoted Capt. Thom Burke, the ship’s commanding officer indicating that everyone on board was safe. The navytimes.com article also indicated that the Ronald Reagan was being supported by numerous ships assigned to the carrier battle group formation. The ships the cruiser Chancellorsville, the destroyers Preble, Mustin, Fitzgerald, John S. McCain, McCampbell and Curtis Wilbur all part of the 7th fleet.