Sunday, April 3, 2011

Japan's nuclear efforts are focused on crack reactor pit

.- Japanese officials struggled Sunday to end the nuclear crisis worst since Chernobyl in the world focused on a crack in a concrete pit that filters radiation in the ocean from a damaged reactor. The operator Tokyo Electric Power Co, said it had found a crack in a concrete pit that was leaking water in reactor No.

2 of the Fukushima plant, measuring a thousand mSv of radiation per hour in the air into the well. "With the rise in radiation levels in the seawater near the plant, we tried to confirm the reason (...), is could be the source," said Hidehiko Nishiyama Saturday, Deputy Chief of Nuclear Safety Agency Industrial (NISA).

But he warned that could not be sure to review the results. The leak did not stop after the concrete was poured into the pit and Tokyo Electric now plans to use polymers that absorb water to prevent contaminated fluid reaches the sea. Employees at the plant said that the revisions to the five other reactors found no cracks.

Nishiyama said to cool the damaged reactor, NISA was reviewing alternative ways to pump water, including a makeshift air conditioning system, spraying the fuel rods from the reactor with water vapor or use the cleaning system of the plant. Three weeks of the disaster that left more than 27 000 people missing or dead, Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, toured the devastated coastal towns in northern Japan on Saturday, providing government support for refugees to rebuild their homes and lifestyles.

"The government will work hard with you until the end. I want everyone to also make their best effort," said Kan was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency, a survivor in a shelter in the fishing village of Rikuzentakata, devastated by tsunami following the earthquake of 11 March. Already unpopular before the disaster, Kan has been criticized for his handling of the nuclear and humanitarian crisis in Japan.

Some tsunami survivors said the visit comes too late. Kan entered after the evacuation zone of 20 kilometers. He also visited a sports center that works as an office for emergency crews trying to cool the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The plant operators are not even close to regaining control of the damaged reactor because the fuel rods are superheated and high levels of radiation streaming towards the sea.

Japan faced the damage could exceed 300 billion dollars, the biggest loss by a natural disaster. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday that Japan's economy would receive a short-term stroke and could not rule out further intervention on the yen. The third world economy and manufacturing has been falling to a minimum of two years.

Power outages and damage caused by the earthquake has affected supply chains and production. Hundreds of thousands of people remain without shelter, housed in evacuation centers, while raising the death toll from the disaster. Thousands of Japanese and U.S. soldiers conducted a search Saturday for dozens of bodies using boats and helicopters to track the areas still submerged along the northeast coast.

The teams expect when going down a big spring tide will be easier to spot the bodies. Radiation was detected 4 000 times the legal limit in the seawater near the plant Daiichi and engineers would use a floating tanker sent to Fukushima to contain contaminated water. However, until you reconnect the internal cooling system of the plant will continue to radiation escaping.

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