Work underway to reduce radioactivity off nuclear plant
Apr 16, 2011, 3:01 GMT
Tokyo - Workers in the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant were attempting to reduce radioactive contamination in waters off the coastal power station, but the levels of highly radioactive water keep rising, the Jiji Press agency reported Saturday.
Some 300 kilograms of zeolite, a mineral that authorities hope will absorb radioactivity from water being pumped the Fukushima reactors, were deposited into the Pacific Ocean, just outside a pipe leading out of reactor 1.
More of the mineral is available for use over the weekend.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co is assessing the potential of reducing radioactive contamination flowing into the sea. If effective, zeolite could be used inside damaged reactor buildings, which are flooded with highly radioactive water.
Several reactor buildings of the Fukushima plant were damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, leading to leakage of radiation.
The level of highly radioactive water at reactor 2 had risen by 1.5 centimetres overnight to 88.5 centimetres, Jiji reported. Groundwater may have seeped in, adding to the water used for cooling the reactor, the company said.
Another strong earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 shook the region around Tokyo early Saturday, but there were no reports of damage.
Efforts to build temporary housing were gaining speed. Some 1,300 units were to be finished by the end of April in Miyagi prefecture, one of the most affected areas. Construction of 10,000 more units is to start by mid-May, the Kyodo News agency quoted the governor, Yoshihiro Murai, as saying.
The March 11 quake killed 13,645 people and 14,384 remain listed as missing, the National Police Agency said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was expected for a half-day visit in Japan on Sunday. Local media said Clinton would assure Tokyo of further US support, but will not travel to the north-eastern disaster zone.
Washington is aiding Japan's disaster management efforts with more than 200,000 soldiers, equipment and 20 navy ships. Clinton is expected to meet with her counterpart Takeaki Matsumoto and Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
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