Radiation release after fire at Japan reactor: IAEA

VIENNA - The spent fuel storage pond of the quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in on fire and radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere, the UN atomic watchdog said Tuesday.

"Japanese authorities today informed the IAEA at 4:50 am (0350 GMT) that the spent fuel storage pond at the Unit 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is on fire and radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere," the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

The authorities had also informed the IAEA that there had been an explosion at around 6:20 am local time at the unit 2 reactor at the same plant, which may have been caused by a hydrogen explosion, the watchdog said.

"Dose rates of up to 400 millisievert per hour have been reported at the site," it added.

The IAEA said "is seeking further information on these developments, was continuing to liaise with the Japanese authorities and was monitoring the situation as it evolved.