Crisis and Devastation in Japan

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An aerial view shows the quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in the Japanese town of Futaba, Fukushima prefecture on March 12, 2011.
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The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is being called the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. There have been explosions at three reactors. Meanwhile, radiation levels are on the rise. Takeaway listeners have expressed concern about nuclear reactors near them. David from Manhattan wrote on our website: I live in NYC, near enough or downwind of many. I'm concerned because unlike other materials, nuclear material's toxicity doesn't simply dilute away over time. A release of nuclear material is necessarily a disaster.

Robert Hernan is the author of “This Borrowed Earth: Lessons from the Fifteen Worst Environmental Disasters Around the World.”  He's written about nuclear meltdowns, including the crisis at Three Mile Island in 1979 in Pennsylvania. He helps put this nuclear crisis in historical and environmental perspective.

Back in Japan, a U.S. rescue team has been working to find survivors, where there are none. Battalion Chief Chris Schaff from the U.S. rescue team, Virginia Task Force 1 from Fairfax County Virginia fire and rescue, said his team dropped into the northern coastal town of Ofunato only to find most of it washed away.