Japan's ongoing nuclear crisis escalated on Wednesday, as authorities acknowledged that a second reactor at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have been compromised. All but 50 workers have been evacuated from the complex as radiation levels surged and emergency workers struggle to deal with a fire at yet another reactor.

  • Conflicting reports of full evacuation emerged after a briefing by Chief Cabinet Minister Yukio Edano; it's unclear exactly what's been happening but at this point, most outlets are reporting that only 50 emergency workers remain, though they may have been briefly evacuated in the face of a surge in radiation levels, possibly brought on by a fire are the No. 4 reactor. Here's an interactive graphic keeping track of problems at each specific reactor. [NPR; WaPo; WSJ]
  • Reactor No. 3 is now thought to be leaking radioactive steam, making it the second of the plant's six reactors to have its protective steel encasing ruptured. (In the photo above, Reactor No. 3 is on the left and Reactor No. 4, which was on fire for much of Tuesday and Wednesday, is in the right.) [NYT]
  • While information is scarce in part because the plant is so volatile workers are having trouble examining the damage, it's also because the plant's owner—The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCo—is doing a terrible job keeping the public informed. [FT]
  • The Times has a good piece on the anonymous 50 workers (who may actually be more than 50 working in shifts) staying behind at the plant.

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