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Fukushima nuclear technicians on their way to the damaged reactor.



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Update: Heroic efforts to cool Fukushima nuclear reactors

19.03.2011, Age: 2775 days

As the population of Honshu is still suffering from the effects of Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is still critical. The Fukushima Fifty risk their own lives to prevent complete meltdown. Today, engineers will bring back power to the cooling pumps.

If it weren't enough, thousands of people who have lost their homes, relatives, everything, after the earthquake and tsunami a week ago, are now threatened by a nuclear disaster, while having to spend the night in freezing cold shelters and with little to eat.

According to the BBC: "At least 7,200 people were killed in the disaster on 11 March. About 11,000 more remain missing."

The officials have raised the nuclear events level for the Fukushima nuclear plant from 4 to 5, which means severe damage to a reactor core, a release of radioactive material and several deaths from radiation. Tecnicians and firefighters in protective gear (the Fukushima 50 - really 180 working in shifts) are desparately trying to cool the radioactive fuel rods inside the damaged reactors. These brave people know very well that they are risking their lives due to the very high radiation levels inside and near the buildings.

Engineers are almost ready to revive the pumps that are needed to cool the plant. In the meantime, firefighters continue to spray water inside the damaged reactors.

Steve Herman. Frantic Cooling Efforts Continue at Japan's Crippled Nuclear Plant. Voice of America.

Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News: Japan steps up cooling operation.

Michael Marshall. Why Fukushima Daiichi won't be another Chernobyl. New Scientist.


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