It's been a week since Japan's devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami. Amid the disaster cleanup and relief efforts, new problems continue to evolve, such as the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Anxiety over the damaged facility increased Wednesday as the United States' top nuclear regulator told Congress the situation was worse than reported by the Japanese government and that "extremely high" radiation levels could hamper containment efforts. On Friday, Japan's nuclear safety agency raised the severity of the crisis to level 5, up from 4, on a scale going up to 7, according to The New York Times.
The American Embassy in Tokyo, meanwhile, recommended evacuation to U.S. citizens within 50 miles of the plant--an area much larger than the approximately 12-mile radius established by the Japanese. Still, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission maintained that there was little cause for worry about radioactive drift on the part of residents of Hawaii or the West Coast of the U.S.
Among other efforts to address the issues at the plant, the facility's operator said it hoped to be able to connect a new power line Saturday to help restore crucial cooling systems.
As supplies in Japan dwindle, prices may increase
Other quake news: The U.S. military blocked popular sites like Amazon and YouTube from the .mil computer network to reserve bandwidth for use in quake recovery efforts, and Google is digitizing lists of Japan shelter dwellers. At the same time, tech industry watchers are concerned about how the earthquake will affect companies and consumers. For example, it's likely to lead to shortages of memory, LCD displays, and other key electronic components, thereby increasing their prices.
See our roundup for more complete coverage of the earthquake and how Japan is dealing with the aftermath.
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