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Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday that there is a high risk of elevated levels of radiation from a reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant where an explosion occurred earlier in the day, and urged people within 30 kilometers of the plant to stay indoors.

"Substantial amounts of radiation are leaking in the area," Mr. Kan said on television at 11 a.m. in Tokyo. "We are making utmost efforts to prevent further explosions or the release of radioactive materials," he said.

Early Tuesday morning local time, authorities said that an explosion inside part of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant appeared to have caused damage to the unit, and some staff were evacuated from the facility as radiation levels at the site rose sharply.

Mr. Kan began his address by asking people to be calm about the situation. He said that the government is doing everything it can to prevent further radiation leaks.

The Daiichi plant, located 160 miles northeast of Tokyo, was brought down by Friday’s massive earthquake, which automatically shuts off the power generation by the reactors, while the tsunami damaged the generators designed to supply backup power.

"Kan Warns of High Radiation Levels," from the Wall St. Journal