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Sendai Airport reopens, but Japan still lacks plan to end nuclear crisis

One month after the March 11 quake that triggered a tsunami and damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese authorities say they're still crafting plan to end the nuclear crisis.

By Staff Writer / April 13, 2011

A Japan Airlines aircraft lands over the rubble near the Sendai Airport in Natori city, near Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, on Wednesday, April 13. Commercial flights to this coastal city resumed partially Wednesday, just over a month after a tsunami scoured the airport's runways.

Sergey Ponomarev/AP

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This timeline will be updated with the latest nuclear developments in Japan.

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Week 5, April 9 - April 13

April 13: Sendai Airport reopened for local flights today, more than a month after the 30-foot tsunami poured over the runways. Progress was also reported nearby at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to Reuters, despite tests showing increased radiation levels in the sea near the complex. Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant operator, announced today it is still working on a blueprint to end the nuclear crisis. "As instructed by Prime Minister Kan, we are working out the specific details of how to handle the situation so they can be disclosed as soon as possible," Tepco's president told reporters at a news conference in Tokyo.

April 12: Japan raised the severity rating at Fukushima to level 7, the most serious on the international scale and the same rating that was given 25 years ago to Chernobyl. Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said the crippled nuclear reactors may eventually leak more radiation than was released at Chernobyl.

April 11: It has been exactly one month since a 9.0 earthquake struck the northeast coast of Japan and triggered a 30-ft. tsunami that damaged a nuclear power plant. The country observed a moment of silence for the tens of thousands missing or dead in its worst crisis since World War II. Then, shortly after Japan widened the evacuation area around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, another substantial aftershock shook Japan, about 100 miles north of Tokyo. Japan's meteorological agency measured the temblor at 7.0, but a US agency said the quake was about magnitude 6.6. The latest quake halted cooling systems at the plant for about an hour as authorities continued to pump low-level contaminated water into the sea.

Meanwhile, safes that people used at home to store cash and valuables are washing up along the tsunami-battered coast, and police are trying to find their owners. About $350 billion worth of Japanese currency doesn't circulate, according to one estimate.

April 10: Some 2,000 people marched in Tokyo Sunday calling for Japan's nuclear power stations to be shut down. Tepco, the Tokyo Electric Power Company that operates the Fukushima facility, reported that a worker who was placing hoses to collect contaminated water from reactor No. 2 was taken to the hospital but that no radioactive substances were found on his body. He was treated for exhaustion.

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