Disaster in Japan: Latest developments, March 23

CBSNews: March 23, 2011

The latest data from Japan's National Police Agency, issued Wednesday evening in Tokyo, puts the confirmed death toll from the nation's triple-disaster at 9,452. According to the police, 14,671 people are still missing and 261,118 have been left homeless by the earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

(AP) Tokyo's utility company says black smoke has been seen emerging from Unit 3 of the crippled nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, prompting a new evacuation of the complex. Officials with Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that workers from the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have been temporarily evacuated. Operators of the power station have been desperately trying to cool the reactors and spent fuel pools at the plant after it was damaged by this month's tsunami, which knocked out power to the cooling systems.

Radiation in Tokyo water; Smoke at nuke plant;

(AP) Tap water in Tokyo tested two times above the limits for radioactive iodine considered safe for infants, officials said Wednesday. Levels of radioactive iodine in tap water at a water treatment center in downtown Tokyo that supplies much of the city's tap water contained 210 becquerels per liter of iodine-131, officials from the Tokyo Water Bureau said. The recommended limit for infants is 100 becquerels per liter.

Japan disasters: No quick fix at nuclear complex:

Black smoke billows from Unit 3, prompting a new evacuation of the complex. On Tuesday workers were able to switch on some lights for the first time since the disaster — a significant step toward restarting the cooling system. Smoke rose from it Monday but was later under control. Pressure in the unit rose early on Sunday but stabilized later. Last week, the building was damaged by an explosion. High-level radiation was measured nearby and smoke was seen. Emergency workers have been trying to cool the reactor, as well as replenish water in the unit's cooling pool. The core has partially melted down and about half of the fuel rods are uncovered.

(AP) Japan's government says the economic costs of the catastrophic March 11 earthquake and tsunami could reach $309 billion. The damage to housing, infrastructure and businesses in northeast Japan could cost between 16 trillion yen and 25 trillion yen ($309 billion), according to the Cabinet Office.

Almost two weeks after disaster struck Japan, thousands of displaced survivors are still struggling to find adequate food, water and shelter in the face of disease and radiation scares. Lucy Craft reports from Tokyo:

(AP) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it would halt imports of dairy products and produce from the area of Japan where a nuclear reactor is leaking radiation. The FDA said Tuesday that those foods would be detained at entry and would not be sold to the public. The agency previously said it would just step up screening of those foods.