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Japan weighs need to bury nuclear plant

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Shinichi Saoshiro and Mayumi Negishi
Reuters
March 18, 2011

Japanese engineers conceded on Friday that burying a crippled nuclear plant in sand and concrete may be a last resort to prevent a catastrophic radiation release, the method used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl in 1986.

But they still hoped to solve the crisis by fixing a power cable to two reactors by Saturday to restart water pumps needed to cool overheating nuclear fuel rods. Workers also sprayed water on the No.3 reactor, the most critical of the plant’s six.

It was the first time the facility operator had acknowledged burying the sprawling complex was possible, a sign that piecemeal actions such as dumping water from military helicopters or scrambling to restart cooling pumps may not work.

“It is not impossible to encase the reactors in concrete. But our priority right now is to try and cool them down first,” an official from the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, told a news conference.

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Japan weighs need to bury nuclear plant 161008pptv3

This article was posted: Friday, March 18, 2011 at 5:53 am





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