(Reuters) – The operator of Japan’s earthquake-stricken nuclear power plant may pour water by helicopter to cool a spent-fuel pool in a reactor within two or three days, the plant operator said.
Tokyo Electric Power Co may pour the water in the building housing the No.4 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, a company official told a news conference.
A blast earlier punctured two holes in the wall of the outer building of the reactor, exposing the nuclear spent fuel pool to the outside air.
Japan is facing a potential catastrophe after cooling problems and explosions at the Fukushima plant, which released low levels of radiation that the wind could carry to Tokyo.
Meanwhile, rising radiation levels are keeping people in the Fukushima exclusion zone confined to their homes:
SOMA, Japan – Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami.
In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation had spread from the four stricken reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant along Japan’s northeastern coast. The region was shattered by Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that is believed to have killed more than 10,000 people, plunged millions into misery and pummeled the world’s third-largest economy.
Still others, notably residents of Tokyo, have begun to flee:
Terrified residents began to flee Tokyo today as a nuclear power plant destroyed by the tsunami threatened to send a cloud of radioactive dust across Japan.
The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant suffered a third reactor explosion overnight and another reactor on the site caught fire.
Radiation levels are soaring across the country this afternoon as radioactive material is spewed directly into the atmosphere – while emergency crews fight to avoid a catastrophic meltdown.
Levels of radiation were ten times were 10 times normal in the capital today and continue to climb, as experts warned that Japanese could face an increased cancer risk even if the situation does not deteriorate.