Radioactive cesium leak has been registered at the first unit of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, which was badly hit by a powerful earthquake on March 10, the Kyodo news agency said on Saturday.
People from nearby areas have been evacuated.
Increased radiation levels were registered at the Fukushima nuclear plant in northeast Japan as power shortages caused the reactor to overheat, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said.
In some parts of the plant, radiation levels rose up to 1,000 times above the norm, and are about eight times above the norm outside the station, the Kyodo news agency said on Saturday.
Until now, Japanese officials have been making controversial comments on the accident, mostly denying the leak.
Japan has more than 54 nuclear energy units in operation, and about one quarter of all energy produced in the country comes from nuclear power plants.
An 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck about 373 km (232 miles) northeast of Tokyo on Friday afternoon, sparking a series of tsunamis. Police said at least 413 people were dead, 1,000 injured and hundreds went missing. Several aftershocks occurred shortly after the initial quake. The strongest was measured at 7.1 on the Richter scale.
TOKYO, March 12 (RIA Novosti)