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Nuclear safety fears after quake

July 17, 2007

Officials at a Japanese nuclear power plant have reported 50 malfunctions caused by Monday's strong earthquake near the town of Kashiwazaki.

In addition to a fire, there were leaks of radioactive water and gas and drums containing nuclear waste burst open. The company running the plant has said none of the leaks are harmful to people or the environment. But the industry's safety is being questioned and the problems were not reported soon enough. Large parts of Kashiwazaki remain without power and water and about 10,000 people are spending a second night in evacuation centres. Riken Corp, which makes car parts for companies such as Honda and Toyota, says it is unsure when it will be able to resume production at its factory in Kashiwazaki after the quake injured some of its employees and damaged equipment. Fuji Xerox has also had to halt production at its Kashiwazaki plant, which mainly assembles printers, because it is without power and there has been some damage to the building.

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