JAPAN - The death toll in japan climbed Monday, including at least one American, as efforts to stabilize a crippled nuclear plant continue.
A Virginia family announced its daughter, a teacher in Japan, was confirmed among the dead.
Cable is being laid to reconnect electricity to cool troubled reactors, but amid reports things may be stabilizing are reminders the situation is not yet under control. Smoke rose from two of the reactors, and workers had to be temporarily evacuated. "We're not out of the woods yet and some serious radiation releases can still happen if the Japanese are not careful." said David Albright, President of the Isis Nuclear Research Group.
Some drinking water near the plant has tested positive for radioactive materials. Shipments of milk and spinach produced near the crippled plant were stopped after they showed trace radiation. Experts say not enough to cause health concerns, but feeding fears among Japanese consumers.
Monday the E.P.A. tweeted American radiation monitors show fluctuations far below levels of concern. At a meeting near Washington the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported containment at the Japanese reactors appears intact, and that nuclear plants here remain safe. "We have a high degree of confidence that the 104 currently operating reactors there's an adequate basis to assure adequate protection," remarked Bill Borchardt the N.R.C. operations executive director. But at President Obama's request, the commission is preparing a comprehensive safety review of all U.S. plants and their ability to cope with what was once unthinkable disaster.
The head of the United Nations nuclear agency said the crisis in Japan has already exposed weaknesses around the world as he urged countries to change their emergency responses.