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Developments in Japan's disasters, nuclear crisis

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 5:05am
The Associated Press

POWER LINES CONNECTED: Crews connect all six reactors at the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant to the electrical grid Tuesday, a day after smoke triggered an evacuation from the facility. But the plant's operator cautions that pumps, motors and other equipment must be checked before the power can be turned on. It's likely to be days before cooling systems can resume functioning.

— SPENT FUEL POOL COOLING. After dumping tons of water on a storage pool that was nearly boiling, crews manage to bring the temperature down to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius). The pool holds 2,000 tons of older, spent nuclear fuel and the heating caused steam — possibly carrying radioactivity — to spew out.

— MISSING VIRGINIA TEACHER'S BODY FOUND. The body of a 24-year-old English teacher from Virginia is discovered in the wreckage of the tsunami. Taylor Anderson could be the first known American victim in the Japan disaster as authorities continue the daunting task of finding and identifying the missing. Anderson's family says the U.S. Embassy in Japan told them her body was found in Ishinomaki, a city about 240 miles (390 kilometers) north of Tokyo.

— POLICE SAY DISASTER DEATH TOLL TOPS 9,000. The National Police Agency says the overall number of bodies collected so far tops 9,000, while some 13,500 people are listed as missing. Those tallies are likely to overlap, but police officials estimate that the final figure will likely exceed 18,000 deaths. A police spokesman from one of the of the hardest-hit prefectures, Miyagi, estimates that the deaths will top 15,000 in that region alone.

— JAPANESE MANUFACTURERS STRUGGLE TO RESTART PRODUCTION. Toyota says its shutdown will last until Saturday, while Honda's is extended through Sunday. Car manufacturers say they are struggling to resume production after damage to power plants and a shortage of components. The maker of Subaru autos says it will start making parts for foreign production Wednesday but that production at factories in Japan is still suspended at least through Thursday. Sony Corp. says it is suspending production through the end of March at some plants in Japan that make popular consumer electronics due to shortages of components and raw materials.

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