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Another earthquake shakes Japan, Fukushima evacuated: a nuclear timeline

A month after the March 11, a 9.0 earthquake triggered a 30-foot tsunami that damaged several nuclear reactors in northeastern Japan, causing the country's worst crisis since World War II, a 7.4 temblor shook the country again.

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Day 13 - Wednesday, March 23

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  • Gray smoke is seen coming from reactor No. 3 again
  • Workers temporarily halt repair work at Fukushima for the second time this week.
  • Power is restored in the control rooms at reactor No. 1, 2, 3, and 4, says TEPCO.
  • Reactors 5 and 6 are reportedly cooled to safe levels after their shared diesel generators is repaired.
  • Tokyo warns that infants should not drink city tap water because radioactive iodine found in it exceeds legal limits for babies.
  • The US blocks imports of milk, fresh fruits, and vegetables from the four areas worst affected.

Day 14 - Thursday, March 24

Week 3

Day 15 - Friday, March 25

  • Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Friday that residents living between 20 and 30 km from the Fukushima nuclear power plant are being urged to “voluntarily evacuate.” Residents in those areas had been previously told to stay indoors.
  • Edano stressed that current radiation levels in the area do not necessitate immediate evacuation.
  • Workers began pumping fresh water into the Unit 1 and Unit 3.
  • White smoke continues to be seen coming from the Unit 2 and Unit 4 reactors.

Day 16 - Saturday, March 26

  • Levels of radioactive iodine reached 1,250 times above normal in seawater off the coast of Japan's stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, raising concerns about a containment crack.
  • Fresh water is being pumped in to cool reactors 1,2, and 3.
  • Electricity has been restored to the control room of Unit 2.

Day 17 - Sunday, March 27

  • Radioactive iodine higher than the acceptable limit for infants has been found in tap water in Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Chiba Prefectures.
  • Authorities of Tochigi Prefecture as well as the cities of Hitachi and Kasama in Ibaraki Prefecture have advised not to give tap water to babies.
  • Workers evacuated from the Fukushima complex after radiation readings outside Unit 2 were reported to spike to 10 million times normal levels.
  • TEPCO apologized for mistake in readings, which they said were 100,000 times higher than normal, not 10 million times normal levels.

Day 18 - Monday, March 28

  • A lack of fuel, coordination, and logistical issues are still the biggest challenges facing Japan’s emergency relief efforts.
  • Officials are working to contain high levels of Radioactive water detected at the No. 2 reactor underground tunnels and basement.
  • Small amounts of plutonium have been discovered outside Fukushima's reactor buildings. The radioactive material was found in five separate soil samples. External exposure poses little health risk, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
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