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Explosion At Japanese Nuclear Plant Prompts Fears of Meltdown

In this satellite view, Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power plant is damaged by an earthquake which caused a tsunami in Okuma, Japan. DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(OKUMA, Japan) -- The container protecting a nuclear reactor at a plant facing a possible meltdown was not damaged in an explosion that injured four workers and destroyed the exterior walls of the plant, a Japanese government spokesman said Saturday.

Government spokesman Yukio Edano said the blast did not damage the nuclear reactor itself at the Fukushima Daiichi, which would cause radioactive material to leak out.

Contrary to initial reports of radiation levels rising around the Fukushima Daiichi plant after the blast, Edano said that radiation is decreasing and that the pressure inside the reactor is also dropping.

A top U.S. scientist said Japan must come to terms with the severity of the nuclear accident it is facing, and work to immediately protect its most vulnerable residents from the damage of radiation exposure - particularly protecting children against exposure to radioactive iodine.

"Any attempt to make it seem that this is not the worst case imaginable is foolhardy," said Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, located about 200 miles northeast of Tokyo, was one of two run by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. whose cooling systems were damaged in the 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan Friday.

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