Workers Venture Back Into Exploded Reactor

They're attempting to use ventilation system to clear radioactive air
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2011 6:48 AM CDT
Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Masataka Shimizu bows in apology for the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear crisis to a villager, left, at a temporary town office of Namie in Fukushima prefecture.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
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(Newser) – Workers entered one of the damaged reactor buildings at Japan's stricken nuclear power plant today for the first time since it was rocked by an explosion in the days after a devastating earthquake, the country's nuclear safety agency said. They'll attempt to connect ventilation equipment in Unit 1 in an attempt to absorb radiation from the air inside the building, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The work is expected to take about four or five days.

The utility must lower radiation levels inside the reactor before it can proceed with the key step of installing a cooling system that was knocked out by the March 11 quake and subsequent tsunami that left more than 25,000 people dead or missing along Japan's northeastern coast. Workers have not been able to enter the reactor buildings at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant since hydrogen explosions at four of the buildings scattered radioactive debris in the first few days after the tsunami.

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