The United States military is providing high-power pumping vehicles, which are standing by. The helicopters are not being ruled out if the weather and other conditions are met. The U.S. is calling its rescue mission “Operation Tomodachi,” (Operation Friend).
Water hose vehicles used for demonstrations and riots will also be used to pour water into the reactors. The Self Defense Force will provide protection gear for workers at the Dai-ichi plant against high levels of radiation.
The radiation levels are safe, Yukio Edano, a top government spokesman said in a news conference at 5:55 p.m.
“I want everyone know this includes the 20 to 30 km zone.” He did not give any specific information about the pumping of water into the reactors.
Self Defense helicopters were unable to drop water on reactor No. 3 at Dai-ichi plant due to high radiation.
See below update:
At 4 p.m. the Japanese government requested Self Defense Force helicopters pour water over reactor No. 3., which has reached critically low water levels. Meanwhile, the helicopters are in a holding position, waiting for further clearance.
At 4:34 p.m. Emperor Akihito sent a video message, giving his deepest personal condolences and sympathies to Japanese citizens. This is the first time a Japanese Emperor sent a message by video.
More details to follow.
White smoke was observed starting at 8:30 a.m. today billowing from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. At 10 a.m. the radiation at the front gate of Dai-ichi plant was rapidly increasing. Workers were evacuated from the plant at 10:40 a.m. At 10:54 a.m. the radiation had rapidly dropped, and by 11:00 a.m. the levels were fluctuating between 2,900 and 3,391 microsieverts.
The initial radiation spike was probably caused by the release of steam from reactor No. 3, and that the No. 3 containment vessel was probably leaking, Yukio Edano, the top government spokesman said at a press conference shortly after 11 a.m.
Further, Edano said these were unconfirmed facts and just theories for now. In addition, TEPCO, (Tokyo Electric Company) and Edano have a discrepancy about where the white smoke is coming from: TECO said reactor No.4 and Edano said reactor No.3.
Because the radiation levels are so high, it is difficult to get near the plant to confirm the facts, including the spent fuel rod’s pools water levels at reactor No. 4. Reactor’s No. 1, 2 and 3 water levels are uncertain. Edano said they “are doing their best to pour water into these reactors.”
Links to previous information and updates: