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Japanese Power Company Says Leak at Nuclear Plant Larger Than Reported


A Japanese power company has acknowledged that more radioactive material leaked from an earthquake-hit nuclear power plant than it previously reported.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the nuclear plant in Kashiwazaki, says the level of radiation in water that leaked into the Sea of Japan was 1.5 times higher than initially estimated. The company says the leak still is not a health hazard.

Tokyo Electric also has acknowledged that around 100 barrels containing low-level nuclear waste tipped over and some lost their lids during Monday's 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

Earlier Wednesday, the mayor of Kashiwazaki summoned the head of Tokyo Electric and ordered him to keep the nuclear plant closed until its safety is ensured.

Japanese researchers also are investigating whether a fault line runs underneath the seaside plant.

International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, chief Mohammed ElBaradei has called for a thorough investigation of the incident. He offered his agency's assistance in reviewing the accident and drawing any necessary lessons.

Authorities say 10 elderly people died and as many as 1,000 were injured in the earthquake, which also destroyed homes and cut water, gas and power supplies. More than 12,000 people have sought shelter at schools and community centers.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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