Water pumped in nuclear plant from U.S. barge

04/01/2011
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A U.S. military barge carrying fresh water to help cool nuclear reactors arrived near the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

The barge was brought close to the shore near the plant, and on April 1 a pump carried fresh water directly into a cooling tank that can hold about 3,500 tons of water. The U.S. purchased the water pump from Australia and delivered it to the U.S. Yokota Air Base in Japan by a military cargo plane. When the barge is out of fresh water, more will be retrieved from a Self Defense Force (SDF) vessel, and the process will be repeated.

Japan’s Fire Department and the SDF had been spraying seawater on damaged plant buildings from fire trucks equipped with high pressure sprays, but after urging from the U.S. to use fresh water to prevent equipment from corroding, Japanese officials changed their method.

A second U.S. barge left Yokosuka U.S. Naval Base on March 25 and is expected to arrive at the plant soon.

The 50-meter-long barges can each store about 1,100 tons of fresh water and are towed by SDF support vessels.

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