Helicopter water drops, water cannon trucks reportedly having little success at lowering temperature, radiation levels at plant...
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2011, 2:41pm PT  

New aerial footage released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) today details even more of the extensive damage to numerous reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following explosions at reactor Units 1 through 4 which occurred in the days following last weekend's record earthquake and tsunami.

Early word so far today is that yesterday's dangerous helicopter water drops onto Unit 3 have not succeeded in lowering the radiation levels at the crippled plant, as much of the water may have missed its target in the four drops. Radiation levels were so high that helicopter crews, outfitted in special protective gear, were forced to keep flying as they made their drops, rather than hovering over the No. 3 reactor.

As we reported yesterday, Japan's Defense Minister said during a pres conference following the missions that, despite risks to both the fuel rods at the reactors and the safety of the helicopter crews that forced them to scrap plans for a similar drop the previous day, the severity of the situation had increased such that they "could not delay further."

Water cannon trucks, normally used by Tokyo Police for crowd control, were dispatched to the plant after the air drops, but those efforts as well, reportedly, have been less than successful at lowering the temperature at the stricken nuclear reactors or the radiation levels at the plant itself.

As the UK's Guardian reports today...

Attempts to cool down a stricken reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan have suffered a further setback with radiation levels rising rather than falling after attempts to douse it with high-pressure hoses.

Six fire engines and a police water cannon were sent in on Thursday evening to spray the plant's No 3 reactor. But afterwards radiation emissions rose from 3,700 microsieverts per hour to 4,000 per hour, the Kyodo news agency quoted Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) as saying.

An earlier attempt in which military helicopters dropped thousands of litres of water on the plant also appeared to have failed.

We will continue our coverage of noteworthy developments in Japan's nuclear crisis as warranted here at The BRAD BLOG, as well as via our Twitter account 24/7. You can follow us there at: @TheBradBlog.

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