Japan sees some stabilization in nuclear crisis

One of Japan’s six tsunami-crippled nuclear reactors appeared to stabilize on Saturday but the country suffered another blow after discovering traces of radiation in food and water from near the stricken power plant.

Fire trucks sprayed water for nearly half a day on reactor No.3, the government said, cooling overheating nuclear fuel rods considered the most dangerous in the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi complex because of their use of highly toxic plutonium.

"The situation there is stabilizing somewhat," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference.

But traces of radiation exceeding government limits were found in milk from a farm about 30 km (18 miles) from the plant in Fukushima prefecture and spinach grown in neighboring Ibaraki prefecture, he said.

Tiny levels of radioactive iodine were also found in tap water in Tokyo, one of the world’s largest cities about 240 km (150 miles) south, where many tourists and expatriates have already left and where many residents are staying indoors.

The sample contained 1.5 becquerals per kg of iodine 131, well below the tolerable limit for food and drink of 300 becquerals per kg, the government said.

Edano said higher radiation levels still posed no risks. But the International Atomic Energy Agency said radioactive iodine in food can cause short-term health problems.

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