Japan tries air, land tactic to quell nuclear disaster

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By Christine Jared-Perrin | March 17, 2011 5:37 PM EST

Pursuing a dangerous tact to quell a nuclear disaster, Japan has used helicopters to cool down the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power facility.

Japanese authorities have announced that this is a very dangerous strategy, but did it this morning along with the use of the fire trucks on land.

Helicopters dropped in some water to the ailing reactors 3, 4, 5, 6 and land-based vehicles manned by both military and private citizens fired hoses of water before lunch time to quell a possible meltdown and further disaster in the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facilities.

Japan's Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said in a news briefing today that the aerial and land water hosing strategies have been pursued today in spite the risks posed by radiation exposure.

"This was planned yesterday, but the very high radiation levels prevented us from doing so. But this morning we in the Defense Ministry and Prime Minister Kan decided it must be done now no matter what the risk," Mr Kitazawa said in Japanese and translated by an interpreter during a news briefing.

Military personnel dropped off water from helicopters, while some ground personnel comprised by the plant staff and even civilian volunteers are now involved in the nuclear facility.

CNN reported that in the afternoon, engineers were planning to begin the process of restoring power to the stricken nuclear complex, a government official said. The complex lost its power Friday, when a 9.0 earthquake followed by a tsunami hit northeastern Japan.

"Today, we are trying to restore the power supply using the power lines from outside," said the official with the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. "This is one of the high-priority issues that we have to address."

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