(NaturalNews) The situation in Japan seems to be going from bad to worse, as officials from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently came forward saying that water pools used to cool spent fuel rods in Unit 4 have run dry, and that temperatures are rising rapidly in several of the other reactor units.
"There is no water in the spent fuel pool and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures," said NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko before the US House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the six-unit Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex, and the Japanese nuclear safety agency conflictingly deny that the water is gone, and that conditions at Unit 4 are "stable." But NRC and its staffers believe their information is reliable, and that the situation may very quickly divulge into a very serious meltdown.
Temperature readings from the reactor units seem to confirm that the situation is spiraling out of control, with Units 4, 5, and 6 showing significant temperature rises in recent days. And Unit 4 is of particular concern because it has already registered much hotter than the other units, clocking in at 183 degrees Fahrenheit (84 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday. Wednesday readings from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna for Unit 4 were strangely unavailable.
On Monday, a large explosion occurred at Unit 4, and radiation readings near the site jumped to around 400 millisieverts/hour, which is highly dangerous to humans. The yearly average for background radiation from natural sources is roughly three millisieverts (http://my.firedoglake.com/scarecrow/2011/03/...).
The large amount of spent fuel rods present at Unit 4, the allegedly depleted water supply used for cooling, and the ever-escalating temperatures all clearly indicate a recipe for massive disaster. And since remediation teams have largely been evacuated due to escalating radiation levels around the plant, it remains unclear whether or not the situation can feasibly be contained.
Japanese authorities are currently urging people within 12 miles of the plant to evacuate the area, and those within 20 miles to remain indoors. However the US Embassy in Tokyo has taken a more severe approach, advising those living within 50 miles of the site to evacuate immediately.
If you live in western North America, particularly in Southern California, you may want to begin taking precautionary preparedness steps, should the situation escalate into a serious threat. A recent UN analysis indicates that radiation plumes may begin hitting Southern California by Friday (http://www.naturalnews.com/031733_radioactiv...).
Since radiation levels from the initial plumes are still relatively low, there is no need to panic. However, based on what continues to develop it is best to be aware and prepared as early as possible. NaturalNews has provided some practical steps you and your family can take to protect yourselves from radioactive fallout should it affect the US: http://www.naturalnews.com/031731_radiation_...
Also, be sure to stay tuned to NaturalNews for regular updates of the situation in Japan as it develops.