Plutonium leaked; Japan PM announces ''maximum alert''

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Osaka, Mar 29: Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan said his government is in a "state of maximum alert" over the crisis at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.

Kan told a lower house budget committee meeting that the situation "continues to be unpredictable" and that the government "will tackle the problem while in a state of maximum alert," media reported.

Radiation worries have disrupted efforts to restart the cooling system of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which was battered by a huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that left more than 28,000 people dead or missing.

Plutonium has been detected in soil at the facility northeast of Tokyo and highly contaminated water has leaked from a reactor building, the operator said on Monday, Mar 28, while nearby sea water has shown high iodine readings.

PTI

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