Japan declared a state of emergency as 5 nuclear reactors in 2 power plants experienced compromised cooling capacity and rising pressures. Radiation levels inside the control room of unit number 1 (oldest of these reactors), reached 1ooo times normal while levels outside the plant increased to 8 times normal. The government has authorized release of radioactive vapor to prevent a full scale meltdown. Some 20,000 people will need to be evacuated from a 20 km area. Electricity supply will be severely curtailed.