US Rushes Fresh Water to Fukushima

Worry spikes about corrosion from seawater
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2011 7:38 AM CDT
Japanese Nuclear Crisis: US Rushes Freshwater to Fukushima Dai-Ichi
US Navy barge YOGN-115, foreground, is towed by a Japanese ship, Saturday, March 26, 2011. The barge is carrying 275,000 gallons of freshwater bound for Fukushima Dai-ichi.   (AP Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun, Yasushi Kanno)

With the crisis in Fukushima Dai-ichi deteriorating, US naval barges are speeding toward the foundering plant with loads of fresh water to cool the reactors. The move comes amid rising concern about the corrosive nature of the saltwater the Japanese have been using; the fresh water should prevent pipes from clogging and will afford Tokyo Electric a chance to remove dangerously contaminated water from the plant, reports the AP.

A Japanese minister said late yesterday that the switch was "an extremely urgent" request of the US government, which immediately dispatched barges loaded with 500,000 gallons. A Japanese government spokesman said today the outlook was grim, saying the crisis would last "a long time." "We seem to be keeping the situation from turning worse," he said. "But we still cannot be optimistic." (More Japan nuclear plant stories.)

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