Newser reported this morning that a building in Japan containing a nuclear reactor has exploded in the devastating aftermath of yesterday’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake and the following brutal tsunami. Footage showed the walls of the building collapsed, with only the metal framework remaining as the structure bellowed out smoke. Japan has declared emergencies at two other power plants.

Photo via NTV Japan/AP

The New York Times reported this morning that the death toll could potentially top 1,300. It was the strongest earthquake ever recorded by Japan. There are still approximately 700 missing.

The evacuation zone around the collapsed nuclear structure has been widened, and the Times reported an unspecified amount of radiation has leaked.

One nuclear expert weighed in, “It’s not a fast reaction like at Chernobyl. I think that everything will be contained within the grounds, and there will be no big catastrophe.”

Robert Alvarez of the Institute for Policy Studies, speaking to CNN, disagreed and said that it could indeed spell an intense catastrophe.

Several workers at the plant were injured.