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Japan Races To Cool Damaged Nuclear Reactors


Japan desperately continued emergency operations on Friday to cool down a damaged reactor’s spent fuel storage pool at a disaster-stricken nuclear power-plant in hopes of averting a catastrophic radiation leak.

The Self-Defense Forces (SDF) dispatched seven fire trucks to the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant located at 230 kilometers north of Tokyo and shot a total of 50 tons of water at the No.3 reactor’s fuel storage pool in the afternoon, the second day of their operation.

The pool’s water level is believed to remain low despite the water-spraying mission by the SDF on the previous day. As part of efforts to further cool down the overheating reactors, the government decided to repeat the operation from the ground.

On Thursday, the SDF also carried out operations involving dumping water into the No.3 reactor’s fuel storage pool from the air and ground.

The Tokyo Fire Department is also set to launch the cooling mission at plant with 30 trucks capable of discharging massive amounts of water to high places and 139 fire-fighters, including elite rescue teams.

The spent-fuel storage pools of the No.3 and No.4 reactors have overheated as the both reactors lost cooling functioning following the March 11 disaster, posing a risk of leaking a massive amount of radiation.

The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Friday morning that radiation levels at the plant have dropped slightly since Thursday’s SDF water-spraying operations.

According to the Defense Ministry, the SDF personnel involved in Thursday’s operations were each exposed to several millisieverts of radiation, which are below the safety limit for emergency personnel.

Meanwhile, the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it continues efforts to restore power to some of the reactors’ cooling systems, which broke down in the wake of the a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Electricity is needed to resume pumps for pouring cold water on overheating fuel rods. At a press conference in the morning, the company expressed hope that it will restore the cooling functions at the No.1 and No.2 reactors by Saturday.


KUNA is the Kuwait News Agency

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