SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

The World

March 17, 2011

Japanese choppers dump water on stricken reactor

(Continued)

ZAO, Japan —

Chopper crews were flying missions of about 40 minutes each to limit their radiation exposure, passing over the reactor with loads of about 7,500 liters (about 2,000 gallons) of water.

The dousing is aimed at cooling the Unit 3 reactor, as well as replenishing water in that unit's cooling pool, where used fuel rods are stored, Toyama said. The plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said earlier that pool was nearly empty, which would cause the rods to overheat and emit even more radiation.

Defense Minister Toshifumi Kitazawa told reporters that emergency workers had no choice but to try the water dumps before it was too late.

U.S. officials, meanwhile, said Unit 4 also was seriously at risk.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said at a congressional hearing in Washington that all the water was gone from that unit's spent fuel pool. Jaczko said anyone who gets close to the plant could face potentially lethal doses of radiation.

"We believe radiation levels are extremely high," he said.

Tokyo Electric executives said Thursday that they believed the rods in that pool were covered with water, but an official with Japan's nuclear safety agency later expressed skepticism about that and moved closer to the U.S. position.

"Considering the amount of radiation released in the area, the fuel rods are more likely to be exposed than to be covered," Yuichi Sato said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that along with the helicopter water drops, special police units would use water cannons — normally used to quell rioters — to spray water onto the Unit 3 storage pool. The high-pressure water cannons will allow emergency workers to stay farther away.

Military vehicles designed to extinguish fires at plane crashes will also be used, said Gen. Ryoichi Oriki.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
The World

AP Video
Today in History for July 29th Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Today in History for July 28th Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Today in History for July 27th Thousands at Peace Rally in Tel Aviv Raw: Sirens After Explosions in Israel Video Shows Smiling American Bomber in Syria Raw: Planes With MH17 Victims Land in Eindhoven Kerry Lays Out Ceasefire Goals for Gaza Family of MH17 Victim Pay Respects at Crash Site US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Clashes Raw: Tanks Patrol Gaza Streets During Ceasefire Raw: Residents Come Home to Rubble in Gaza 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years