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11:42 AM
Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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After a Fortnight, Japan Situation Remains Unclear

News this morning, two weeks after the original earthquake, of a potential reactor breach at a stricken nuclear plant headlines the week's developments.

Despite a midweek lull, the situation in Japan took another scary turn today when the government said it suspected a breach at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant that would mean higher than expected levels of radiation release.

From the AP via Yahoo:

Japanese leaders defended their decision not to evacuate people from a wider area around the plant, insisting they are safe if they stay indoors. But officials also said residents may want to voluntarily move to areas with better facilities, since supplies in the tsunami-devastated region are running short.

The uncertain nuclear situation halted work at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex, where authorities have been scrambling to stop the overheated facility from leaking dangerous radiation. Low levels of radiation have been seeping out since the March 11 quake and tsunami knocked out the plant's cooling system, but a breach could mean a much larger release of contaminants. The most likely consequence would be contamination of the groundwater.

On the insurance side, AIR Worldwide , after adding in the effects of the tsunami, which was not in its original estimate.

And, AIG's Chartis division announced that it would acquire a total of 98.25% of the outstanding shares of Fuji Fire and Marine Insurance Co., Ltd.; eventually delisting the company and operating it as a wholly owned subsidiary. Fuji Fire and Marine was in the news earlier this week as well, because its participation in the Japan Earthquake Reinsurance Company (JERC), a government-backed program that handles earthquake claims, led to questions about AIG's exposure to the disaster.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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