Thursday, March 17, 2011
Japan struggles to cool down nuclear reactors
Japan fought by all means to try to cool the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant, but increasing pessimism around the world, triggering a massive flight of foreigners in Tokyo.
Japanese engineers working to restore power mains at the atomic site damaged after the quake to begin pumping the water needed to put the fuel rods cool and prevent a catastrophe.
They said when they will finish installing a power line of 1.5 kilometers, but noted that the tasks will be stopped today to allow military helicopters and trucks to spray the plant back to Daiichi.
Nipponese authorities also had to face the growing impatience of some 500,000 victims, given the scarcity of drinking water and food, despite the unprecedented mobilization of some 80,000 soldiers, police and emergency workers in the devastated northeast.
The biggest concern is the nuclear crisis, the most serious in the world since Chernobyl in 1986.
For the first time, 4 army helicopters fired several tons of water on the damaged reactors, especially 3. 5 tankers also went into action. Its purpose was mainly to fill the pool of spent fuel that was damaged by an explosion and fire.
The operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said he could not determine the amount of water entering the pool because its leaders could not see it.
However, the Nuclear Safety Agency said it was steam coming out of the buildings that had been irrigated, which means that the water fell on hotspots in problem areas, as desired. The same operation will take place today.
Foreign experts believe that the pool of reactor 4 is now nearly dry, which could cause extremely high levels of radiation. The merger of fuel could cause the emission of radioactive particles causing a disaster.
The cooling systems failed on Friday after a 8.9 magnitude earthquake, the strongest I've ever met Japan, followed by a tsunami that struck the northeast coast.
Meanwhile, U.S. President, Barack Obama proposed more nuclear experts sent to Japan in a telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan. France also made a massive offer of cooperation.
The French Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) said the 48 hours are crucial.
For its part, China called on the authorities Nipponese concrete and precise information to calm public opinion concerned about the eventual arrival in the country of radioactive emissions.
Japan's government for now set up a perimeter of 30 kilometers and said radiation beyond the exclusion zone of 20 kilometers would not pose an immediate danger to health. As a precaution, 10,000 people in the Fukushima prefecture will undergo tests for radioactivity.
While abroad queen a concern bordering on panic, the local population, especially in Tokyo, shows surprisingly calm, disciplined, pending further instructions from the government.
The winds will likely continue to be favorable, pushing the Pacific Ocean radioactive waste nuclear power plant.
An intense cold and heavy snow further degraded living conditions and working for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami and relief workers deployed in the northeast.