Another reactor at the Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant is in process of releasing radioactive steam, the Kyodo news agency reported on Sunday, quoting Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.
The breaking news alert on Kyodo's English-language website provides no other details.
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported earlier on Sunday that the Fukushima Number Three reactor had lost its emergency cooling system. An agency official said additional water supply to the reactor should be established urgently to avoid a blast due to overheating.
On Saturday, a powerful blast hit the Fukushima Number One power station, about 250 km (155 miles) northeast of Tokyo, which was badly damaged by Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The explosion destroyed the wall of the reactor turbine building, but Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the reactor itself, covered with a steel container, was not damaged.
In a report to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Japanese authorities assigned the accident at the Fukushima Number One power station the level 4 on the international INES scale that runs from 1 (anomaly) to 7 (major accident), the DPA news agency reported.
According to the IAEA's definition, a level-4 accident is defined as having "local consequences," such as a "minor release of radioactive material."
The Japanese chief cabinet secretary said on Saturday although radiation around the plant earlier was on the rise, it was gradually decreasing. Meanwhile, the Fukushima prefectural government has expanded the evacuation area around the plant from an earlier established 10-kilometer radius to a 20-kilometer radius and began handing out iodine, which helps protect the body from radioactive exposure, to residents of nearby areas.
The number of victims of Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake, the most powerful ever recorded in Japan, and a subsequent tsunami may reach 1,800 as thousands remain unaccounted for following the disaster.
MOSCOW, March 13 (RIA Novosti)