Japan: Reactor "relatively stable" after hosing

In this image taken from footage released by the Japan Defense Ministry, a fire engine from the Japan Self-Defense Forces sprays water toward Unit 3 of the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex on Friday, March 18, 2011. In the backgrounds is Unit 4. Military fire trucks sprayed the reactor units Friday for a second day, with tons of water arching over the facility in attempts to prevent the fuel from overheating and emitting dangerous levels of radiation. (AP Photo/Japan Defense Ministry) EDITORIAL USE ONLY


In the ongoing battle to prevent meltdown, there may be signs of hope after a seven-hour operation by Japan's Self Defense Force to spray the damaged Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima Dai-ichi with over 40,000 gallons of water.

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SDF teams spent all day Saturday desperately trying to cool the damaged reactor in Fukushima, and now say there may be signs that the dangerous situation is stabilizing. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that conditions at Unit 3 have become "relatively stable" after the third day of hosing the plant, according to Kyodo News.

In the seven-hour operation, technicians used a "super-pump" to move seawater directly to an unmanned fire truck stationed in front of the reactor, allowing for an uninterrupted jet of water. The high-tech truck was able to shoot nearly 100 gallons of water per minute, according to Japan Times.

After the operation, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa told reporters that temperatures at reactors 1 through 4 were lower than initially feared.

Another sign of hope comes from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and their efforts to connect the damaged reactors to the power grid. All of the reactors are now connected, raising the possibility that the plant's own cooling system to bring the situation under control. Officials say they will wait until Sunday to supply power to the plant.

This news comes on the heels of reports that radioactive iodine has been detected in food and water in Tokyo and other areas of the country. Authorities have said that the levels of radiation are within safety limits.

  • CBS News Staff

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