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Opponents in California say Japan's tragedy is more evidence for not building new reactors on the earthquake-prone West Coast. The tragedy also renews questions about Entergy Corp's two Indian Point reactors, 24 miles north of New York City. They provide 25 percent of power for New York City and are near the intersection of two seismic zones. Hugh Wynne, an analyst at Bernstein Research in New York, expects new regulatory scrutiny for all U.S. reactors near seacoasts and tidal rivers.

Worldwide, governments started back-pedaling on nuclear plans in recent days. German Chancellor Angela Merkel shut off seven of Germany's oldest nuclear plants. The European Union is reviewing all its nuclear plants. Switzerland said it would not renew three of its five nuclear plants. Engineers in large nuclear markets like France and the United States are likely to test back-up systems-particularly on reactors using the same GE's boiling water reactor technology that the troubled reactors in Japan use.

As the reactor situation worsened this week, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, said the roughly 100,000 people who live within 18 miles of the troubled plant should stay indoors, close windows, and make their homes airtight.

As phone lines were restored, Joshua Ogawa, a New York-based correspondent with Japanese business newspaper Nikkei, tracked his younger brother Kengo Shibahara, 37, who lives in a town 18 miles west of the Fukushima region. Shibahara, a social worker, is now over-seeing 8,000 people displaced because of the radiation.

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