Mumbai: The BSE Sensex on Tuesday plunged 272 points on brisk selling, triggered by dips in global bourses amid fears of more leakages from Japan's nuclear plant damaged in last week’s earthquake and tsunami.

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index Sensex dropped by 271.83 points to close at 18,167.64. It fell below the 18,000 level in view of huge losses recorded in Asia following reports that nuclear radiation leaks in Japan could increase.

Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty lost 81.85 points to 5,449.65, after touching the day's low of 5,373.65.

Banking and interest sensitive stocks were also hit as investors turned cautious ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy meeting slated for March 17.

Stocks of realty, auto, metal and power sectors suffered the most on heavy unloading by investors as Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the danger of more leaks was rising at the crippled facility.

Bucking the general weakening trend, the heaviest on the benchmark, Reliance Industries rose for the second day, adding Rs 18.65 to Rs 1,036.30 on reports the company paid higher advance taxes for this quarter.