Efforts to cool reactors
Tokyo (CNN) — Japan turned helicopters, fire trucks and police water cannons on the No. 3 reactor at the quake-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the pool housing its spent fuel today in its latest attempt to stave off a nuclear disaster.
Military helicopters began dumping water on the reactor this morning, with police and fire trucks opening up after 6. Japan’s Defense Ministry said the first effort lasted 40 minutes, and the Tokyo Electric Power Company said the efforts would continue throughout the night in order to keep the reactor and its adjacent spent fuel pool from overheating.
“In order to cool the spent fuel storage pool, we have carried out water drop operations and the spraying of water from the ground,” TEPCO officials said at a Thursday night news conference. “This needs to continue in several ways. Therefore, we will continue to ask for cooperation of the involved people so we can carry out continuously. The helicopter water dumping operation is something we have asked (the) government to provide us help with, and also the spraying of water.”
Friday’s earthquake and tsunami caused damage at four of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, located on the northern coast of the Japanese island of Honshu. TEPCO also was attempting to restore power to the facility, but those efforts have not been completed, the company said. Restoring power would help get the plant’s pumping systems going again, to try to get water to the pool.