Japan warned radioactive levels had become "significantly" higher around a quake-stricken nuclear power plant on Tuesday after explosions at two reactors, and the French embassy said a low level radioactive wind could reach Tokyo by the evening.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged people within 30 km (18 miles) of the facility north of Tokyo to remain indoors, underscoring the dramatic worsening of Japan’s nuclear crisis, the world’s most serious since the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986.
As concern about the crippling economic impact of the nuclear and earthquake disasters mounted, Japanese stocks plunged 13 percent – heading for their biggest drop since 1987 — compounding a slide of 7.6 percent the day before. The two-day fall has wiped $720 billion off the market.
In a sign of mounting fears about the risk of harmful radiation, Air China said it had canceled flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Tokyo, but there was no sign that people were rushing en masse to the capital’s airports to leave.
"There has been a fire at the No. 4 reactor and radiation levels in the surrounding area have heightened significantly. The possibility of further radioactive leakage is heightening," a grim-faced Kan said in an address to the nation.
Read the rest of the story: Radiation leaps after Japan plant blasts.