Thursday, March 17, 2011

SDF helicopters dumping water on No.3 reactor

SDF helicopters dumping water on No.3 reactor

Helicopters from Japan's Self-Defense Forces have begun dumping water on the Number Three reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in an effort to cool down a spent fuel storage pool.

Two CH-47 helicopters began scooping up seawater and releasing it over the reactor on Thursday morning after another helicopter checked radiation levels in the air.
The first water-dropping operation was completed at around 10:15 AM.

The mission is part of efforts to cool the storage pools at the Number Three and Four reactors. The cooling systems at both reactors are not functioning, raising fears that spent fuel rods could melt and release radioactive material outside the building.

Water is believed to be evaporating from the Number Three reactor's storage pool. Authorities have confirmed that temperatures in the Number Four reactor's storage pool are rising.

Efforts are also being made to douse the Number Three reactor from the ground. Eleven large-capacity fire trucks from the SDF are heading to the site.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has sent riot-squad trucks equipped with water cannons. The trucks were originally deployed to douse the Number Four reactor, but they will be used to spray water on the Number Three reactor instead. The work is expected to begin around noon.

Workers will wear protective gear borrowed from the SDF. They will keep a safe distance from the reactor while authorities monitor radiation levels.

Cooling operations at the Number Four reactor will be carried out from the ground after authorities judged that it would be more effective to spray water from gaps in the wall of the reactor building.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 11:44 +0900 (JST)