Top Nuclear Expert: Japan Reactor 'Stabilizing'

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A top U.S. nuclear regulator had calming words today for both Japanese and Americans worried about those nuclear plants damaged by Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami that struck March 11.

U.S. NRC Executive Director Bill Borchardt told other members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Monday that the situation at Fukushima plant, the one hit worst, is now stabilizing.

Borchardt reported readings show Americans don't need to fear radiation leaking from those damaged plants.

"In fact, natural background from things like the rocks, sun, buildings, is a 100,000 times more than any level that has been detected to date," he said.

Seven workers did evacuate the nuclear plant for a while on Monday, as a cloud of grey smoked puffed out of the Unit 3 reactor. It's unclear what caused the smoke.

Operation Blessing is continuing to help the people of Japan. In just three days, Operation Blessing has helped 2,500 earthquake and tsunami victims. David Darg gives an update on efforts to keep the people in shelters warm. Click play for more.

Food Chain Affected

Meanwhile radiation leaked last week is showing up in Tokyo's tap water and food supply. Stores refused to sell milk, spinach, and other leafy vegetables from near reactor.

Tests showed they had unsafe levels of radiation.

"For consumers in the affected areas, they should be cautious about what they eat." Caroline Smith Dewaal, with the Center for Science and the Public Interest, said. "For American consumers, there's really nothing to worry about."

The government has blamed Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the troubled nuclear complex, for failing to make crucial inspections in the weeks before the disaster.

The government said 33 pieces of equipment were not inspected, including back-up generators and pumps.

Miraculous Survival

Japanese officials now believe more than 18,400 people died as a result of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck the island nation.

But there was reason to celebrate some. Nine days after the quake, rescuers pulled an 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson out of their collapsed home. Both were relatively unharmed.

The World Bank said rebuilding in Japan may cost $235 billion.

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