Japan Update

Since the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan last month, the news stories that seem to be getting the most attention, and understandably so, are stories of hopefulness and happiness—found survivors, reunited family members, lost dogs returned to owners. But the reality for much of the affected area remains grim:
The death toll from Japan's earthquake and tsunami rose to nearly 14,000 on Monday as efforts continued to stabilize a crippled nuclear reactor plant.

Another 14,030 people are missing, according to Japan's National Police Agency. Police and soldiers still are combing the ruins of coastal villages in search of more bodies.

The March 11 magnitude 9.0-earthquake and the tsunami it spawned have killed 13,843 and displaced more than 136,000 people, police said Monday.

The tsunami also caused an ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant that workers continue to fight.

On Monday, safety officials said that remote-controlled robots and the workers controlling them have recorded high levels of radiation inside and around two reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northern Japan. The tsunami damaged the plant's cooling systems, unnerving hundreds of thousands of people.

The U.S.-built robot probes measured radiation doses as high as 57 millisieverts inside the housing for reactor No. 3 and up to 49 millisieverts inside the No. 1 reactor building, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported.

Levels found between the double doors of the airlocks of the reactor buildings were much higher -- 270 millisieverts in the case of reactor No. 1 and 170 millsieverts in No. 3, the agency said.

By comparison, the average resident of an industrialized country receives a dose of about 3 millisieverts per year.
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