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The unstable condition of nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant — about 160 miles outside Tokyo — could prevent six Brown students from attending programs at Keio, Sophia and Waseda Universities this semester.

"Several Tokyo universities have begun sending students and faculty home or telling students not to come to campus until the situation becomes clearer," wrote Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron in an e-mail to The Herald. But the situation is still in flux, she wrote.

Keio University already announced its study abroad program will be postponed for about two weeks, said Jack Boeglin '12, one of the students enrolled in the Keio program for the semester.

"If you are currently outside of Japan, please remain there," Keio University program coordinators wrote in an e-mail to students yesterday. "If the situation in Japan does not improve, it will not be necessary for you to come to Japan right away."

Boeglin said orientation originally scheduled for March 24 has been moved to April 4. Students may also defer their study abroad plans until next semester.

"My hope is still to go, but, at the same time, I'm going to monitor the situation as closely as possible," Boeglin said. "My study abroad experience is nowhere near as important as the health of the Japanese people," he said.

 The universities are closed until March 22, partly due to planned power outages in the city, according to postings on the colleges' websites.

Fears of a reactor meltdown — a result of last Friday's earthquake and tsunami — increased as radiation levels rose yesterday and workers left the plant. Officials are now working to install a new power line that would facilitate cooling of the reactors.

If the schools in Tokyo resume classes soon, the programs would likely end later in the summer to adjust for the later start date, Bergeron wrote. The University will also consider contingency plans if the schools do not open this semester.

"In other crisis situations, we have worked to identify alternative study abroad options for students or other ways to complete the semester," she wrote.

Three students are currently studying abroad in Kyoto, which was not affected by the earthquake or tsunami. Their program does not have plans to close at this time, Bergeron wrote.

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