Japan Struggles To Cool Damaged Reactors


(RFE/RL) — Japanese crews are pushing forward with emergency operations aimed at reconnecting electricity to cooling systems at a quake- and tsunami-damaged nuclear plant in hopes of averting a catastrophic release of radiation from the overheating reactors.

Efforts were expected to be made to again dump tons of water in a bid to cool the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, about 250 kilometers north of Tokyo.

Yukiya Amano, the Japanese head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has called the Japanese nuclear emergency an “extremely serious accident,” and that international cooperation will be required to handle it. Amano spoke as he made a visit to Japan.

The Japanese nuclear disaster is being described as the world’s worst such crisis since the 1986 Chornobyl disaster in Ukraine.

In another development, the AFP news agency quotes Japanese police as saying the official number of dead and missing people from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami one week ago has risen to at least 16,600, with more than 6,405 confirmed dead.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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