Nuclear Uncertainty Lingers As Clock Ticks For Survivors In Japan

A deepening crisis at a damaged nuclear power plant compounded the misery in Japan Tuesday as the death toll rose to 2,734 and the stock market plummeted for a second straight day.

In areas decimated by the strongest quake in the country's history, survivors huddled in cramped shelters with temperatures forecast to drop below freezing by Wednesday. And in cities spared the devastation, the specter of radioactive exposure loomed large in rattled residents' minds.

"I think from a sanity standpoint I'm trying to side with the cool-headed point of view because I don't want to think about the possibly of a full-blown meltdown," said Osaki resident Tyler Martin.

Radiation level readings have decreased at the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Tuesday afternoon.

"The level has come down to the level to cause no harm to human health, according to the report I have received," Edano said.

But for many, calming jittery nerves is becoming increasingly difficult as the situation at the damaged facility looks increasingly dire with each passing day.