Confusion, Uncertainty Surround Japan Nuke Plant

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A good news - bad news pattern of confusing reports concerning Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex continues to come from the island nation in the wake of the plant's nuclear crisis, which began with the earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company continues to struggle to bring their coastal nuclear complex under control. The company has acknowledged publicly that at least four of the plant's six reactors will have to be decommissioned once the crisis subsides.

Click to see a special AP Photo Atlas of the Japan Earthquake.

But the nature of the threat to both humans and the environment seems to change day to day -- even hour to hour.

One week ago, scientists said plant workers were essentially engaged in a suicide mission.

"Workers can only go in for 30 minutes, getting a full year dose of radiation. This is really bad," said Michio Kaku, a physicist.

 

Dr. Robert Gayle spent years working at the nuclear plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, and he is now in Japan, offering his assistance.

"I don't think they are at extraordinary risk unless something goes wrong," he said.

Some news reports indicate that officials want to drape tarps over three of the reactors to contain the radiation. Seawater near the plant is at its highest radiation level yet -- more than 3,000 times greater than normal.

In the meantime, the public continues to receive conflicting messages from Japanese plant officials.

The confusing reports coming from the crippled complex may continue for weeks to come. But tragically, there's something else most experts can agree on. The land and water inside the 12-mile exclusion zone surrounding the nuclear facility could take years to recover.

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