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Second explosion rocks Japanese nuke plant

Hourly radiation levels back to '75 per cent of normal yearly dose'

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The first Japanese nuclear complex that reported problems following Friday afternoon's megaquake now has another problem with which to deal: a hydrogen explosion at its No. 3 reactor.

At 11:01am on Monday morning, according to Kyodo News (2am on Monday in the UK, 10pm Sunday in New York), "A hydrogen explosion occurred ... at the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's troubled No. 3 reactor, the government's nuclear safety agency said."

On Saturday, a similar explosion destroyed the structure housing the No 1 reactor at Fukushima No.1 (Daiichi), but did not breach the reactor.

Such explosions may turn the buildings that house the reactors into toothpicks, but they have no immediate impact on the integrity of the reactors themselves.

In addition, according to Kyodo News, hourly radiation levels around the plant have settled back to 75 per cent of normal yearly exposure. On Sunday, hourly radiation levels had been over 150 per cent that of normal yearly levels.

Japanese officials have upgraded the severity of the Friday afternoon earthquake to 9.0, up from previous reports of 8.8 and 8.9. ®

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