The Latest From Japan

The Daily What rounds up weekend developments from around the web:

Several injuries reported after an explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (see video [here]) caused by a pumping system failure damaged the building housing nuclear reactor No. 1, but did not not damage the reactor itself; French Nuclear Safety Authority: Favorable winds will blow radioactive pollution from explosion out over Pacific; Japanese PM Naoto Kan: I will take all necessary measures to keep residents safe from harm; evacuation area around plant expanded to 12 miles, 45,000 evacuated so far; seawater is being used in “last-ditch effort” to avoid a meltdown; STRATFOR: Meltdown already taking place; AP: “[M]eltdown may not pose a widespread danger“; FEMA: What to do during a nuclear power plant emergency; additional tips at SLOG; Reddit AMA: “I live in Fukushima city.”  

Latest Figures [as of Saturday]: 686 confirmed deaths; Kyodo: Death toll could exceed 1,700; ... 4.4million households without power.

Figures as of this morning: "The official death toll is now 1,647, with at least 1,720 people missing and 1,990 injured." And that toll is climbing dramatically:

About 1,000 bodies were found coming ashore on hardest-hit Miyagi's Ojika Peninsula and another 1,000 have been spotted in the town of Minamisanriku where the prefectural government has been unable to contact about 10,000 people, or over half the local population.

TDW also finds two dramatic clips from Friday, one of a tsunami sweeping away a parking lot of cars outside Sendai Airport and another of reclaimed ground rupturing in Chiba City. The above video, shot this morning, shows the latest explosion at Fukushima:

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. confirmed that the 11:01 a.m. blast did not damage the container of the No. 3 reactor, allaying concerns that the explosion may have caused a massive release of radioactive substance. TEPCO said three workers, including its employees, were injured by the blast. All of them suffered bruises.

''According to the plant chief's assessment, the container's health has been maintained,'' Edano told a press conference. ''The possibility is low that massive radioactive materials have spattered.''

The latest nuclear updates at Brave New Climate. And as if Japan wasn't having enough problems:

Sunday's eruption [on Kyushu island], which was the biggest volcanic activity in Shinmoedake in 52 years, caused widespread destruction and panic. The blast could be heard for miles, and shattered windows four miles away, the BBC reported. Hundreds of people fled the area as the volcano spewed debris, including hot ash and rocks, more than 6,000 feet in the air, according to BBC reports.