High radiation levels around plant prevent helicopters from dumping water on spent fuel rods at Fukushima

Published: March 16th, 2011 at 7:23 am ET
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URGENT: SDF choppers unable to drop water on nuke reactor due to radiation, Kyodo, March 16, 2011:

The Self-Defense Forces will not conduct a planned operation Wednesday to drop water from helicopters on the troubled No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima nuclear power plant because of the high radiation level around the plant, Defense Ministry officials said.

SDF gives up on dousing No.3 reactor, NHK, March 16, 2011 at 5:06 am EST:

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have postponed a mission to dump water by helicopter on the No.3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, because radiation above the facility has climbed too high for such work.

White plumes started rising from the reactor on Wednesday morning. Tokyo Electric Power Company says the vapor was steam caused by water evaporating from the reactor’s storage pool for spent fuel rods, which is heating up.

In an effort to avert the fuel rods’ exposure, a Self Defense Force CH47 helicopter took off from the Sendai base hauling a large container of water on Wednesday afternoon.

But the plan was aborted after radiation levels above the plant were found to have largely exceeded 50 millisieverts — the maximum permissible for SDF personnel on a mission.

Published: March 16th, 2011 at 7:23 am ET
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