Heightened state of alert at Japan atom plant: IAEA

Japan also reported a fire at the Onagawa nuclear power plant.

Vienna: Japan has told the UN nuclear wathchdog that a heightened state of alert has been declared at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after Friday`s major earthquake, the Vienna-based agency said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had also been informed that the plant had been shut down and that no release of radiation had been detected.

Japanese media reported separately that a leak was possible at the plant north of Tokyo as water levels fall, and that some 2,000 residents had been told to evacuate the area.
The government earlier said a cooling function at Tokyo Electric Power`s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was not working, but there was no radioactive leakage.

The IAEA said in a statement that nuclear fuel requires continued cooling even after a plant is shut down.

"The IAEA is seeking further details on the situation at Fukushima Daiichi and other nuclear power plants and research reactors, including information on off-site and on-site electrical power supplies, cooling systems and the condition of the reactor buildings," it said.

Japanese authorities also reported a fire at the Onagawa nuclear power plant, which has since been extinguished, the IAEA statement said.

"They say Oganawa, Fukushima-Daini and Tokai nuclear power plants were also shut down automatically, and no radiation release has been detected," the statement said.

"The World Meteorological Organization has informed the IAEA that prevailing winds are blowing eastwards, away from the Japanese coast," it said.

Bureau Report

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