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FIRST ON 3: GE-Hitachi workers away from nuclear plant in Fukushima, where radiation levels are 1,000x normal level

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Japanese nuclear officials say radiation levels inside a nuclear power plant have surged to 1,000 times their normal levels after the cooling system failed.

Wilmington-based GE-Hitachi said it had 50 workers at the Fukushima plant when the earthquake hit. Those workers are away from the plant and OK, according to GE-Hitachi spokesman Mike Tetuan.

The Associate Press reports that Japan's nuclear safety agency said early Saturday that some radiation has also seeped outside the plant, prompting calls for further evacuations of the area. Some 3,000 people have already been urged to leave their homes.

The cooling system for a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant failed on Friday after a massive earthquake caused a power outage.

GE-Hitachi says its workers at the plant were doing a planned outage on the No. 4 reactor. The company says the problems at the plant are in reactor No. 2.

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