Environment

U.S. Military to Pump Water to Cool Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Thank You USA"

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) U.S. military ships will transport large amounts of fresh water to cool reactors and spent nuclear fuel pools at the crisis-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said Friday.

Kitazawa told a news conference the United States has strongly urged that fresh water be used early in place of seawater because salt in seawater causes corrosion of equipment at the nuclear plant.

Two large barges will reach the port of Onahama, some 60 kilometers away from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in about three days, Kitazawa added.

Each of the vessels, set to depart the U.S. Navy's Yokosuka base shortly, can carry up to 1,000 tons of water.

According to the Defense Ministry, two U.S. warships carrying fresh water will be towed by a Maritime Self-Defense Force warship to Onahama port in Fukushima Prefecture from the U.S. Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) plans to take in fresh water from a nearby dam and U.S. forces will supply fresh water to offset a shortage.

U.S. forces will begin supplying the water probably early next week, Kitazawa said.

Photo: ONAGAWA, Japan (March 23, 2011) An aerial view of a helicopter landing zone near an evacuee center shows a "Thank You" message in the mud deposited by a tsunami. (U.S. Navy photo)

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