Helicopters drop water on Japan’s troubled nuclear reactor

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces helicopters dropped water on the troubled No. 3 reactor of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant on Thursday to prevent the reactor from releasing radioactive steam, the Kyodo news agency reported.

A blast hit the Fukushima No. 3 reactor on Monday. Japanese officials said the blast might have damaged the containment vessel inside the reactor, which means radioactive material may be released from the reactor if fuel rods begin melting at high temperatures.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Wednesday Fukushima’s blast-hit units 1, 2 and 3 were being “successfully cooled” and radiation levels around the plant did not pose a health threat.

The Japanese government earlier studied a plan to deploy Ground Self-Defense Force helicopters to spray water over the reactors, but the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday it had given up on the idea because of the high radiation level.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator, reported on Thursday that radiation levels have slightly lowered around the reactor.

The Japanese police are planning to use a water cannon truck on Thursday to attempt to cool a spent fuel rod pool at the Fukushima No. 4 reactor, Kyodo said. A fire broke out at the reactor on Wednesday, a day after it was hit by what appeared to be a hydrogen explosion.


MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti)

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