After yesterday’s failed attempts to pour seawater on the boiling reactors, due to the increasing levels of radiation, two lead-lined military chinook helicopters were able to make four drops each of 7.5 tons of seawater onto the No. 3 reactor. Only one actually hit the target, reportedly.
While it was deemed safe enough to drop water from the air, many precautions were still made – the pilots wore protective clothing and were limited to just 40 minutes of flying above the Fukushima plant. While exact figures haven’t been publicised by TEPCO, it’s thought that the radiation levels didn’t shift post-drop.
Now, it’s up to the ground workers to employ the use of a police water cannon, and 11 fire trucks’ water hoses, to cool the reactors down. As TEPCO is no longer able to monitor the water levels of the reactors accurately, the US military is said to be planning an unmanned Global Hawk aircraft flight as early as today, to scope out the No. 4 reactor’s situation and take images from inside the protective building.
The US Embassy in Japan is going further in its quest to help American citizens living within an 80km radius of Fukushima, by advising them to evacuate the area. They will also offer charter flights to airports in the region.
Meanwhile, the death toll is rising (currently it’s at 5198), and thousands of people are still missing. It’s thought that the official death toll could be closer to 100,000 than 10,000. [Al Jazeera, Kyodo and Gawker]