The good news, which is not really "good" news much at all, is that Japan's Fukushima nuclear reactors didn't all fully melt down in the last 12 hours. That may sound cynical, but if you were following the fast developments in last night's news, a total nuclear catastrophe really did seem imminent. It's still unclear, though, how much radiation is leaking into the air, and another mid-size (6.1 magnitude) earthquake did strike southwest of Tokyo overnight. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasuries are soaring! Here's the latest news.
- People within 20-30 km of the Fukushima reactors are still urged to stay inside, and a 30 km no-fly zone is still in effect to prevent planes from spreading the radiation around. Fortunately the radiation levels have fallen from their imminent-apocalypse highs of yesterday.
- The 6.1 magnitude aftershock occurred at 10:30 p.m. local time in Shizuoka — "Home to Mount Fuji," Bloomberg explains. It didn't present a tsunami risk, and the prefecture's Hamaoka nuclear plant was not damaged. Good!
- Radiation levels in Tokyo — 250 km from the Fukushima site — are still above normal, but not high enough to present a health risk.
- This seems a bit speculative before all the proper data is collected, but it's another issue that will need to be assessed in the long reconstruction and cleanup that's ahead: "Radioactive materials spewed into the air by Japan's earthquake-crippled nuclear plant may contaminate food and water resources, with children and unborn babies most at risk of possibly developing cancer."
The Nikkei lost a killer 10.55% yesterday, while the Dow is down ~200 points so far today. Meanwhile, the price of U.S. Treasuries has been booming as nervous investors move their assets to a safe spot. And since the dollar's rising, oil prices, which are traded in dollars, have fallen to their lowest levels in weeks.
[Image via AP]