Japan scrambling to contain Fukushima crisis

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 07:50 hrs

Tokyo: Japan has abandoned plans to spray water from helicopters into an overheating spent fuel storage pool at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.

A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the owner of the facility, said that helicopters were deemed impractical, but other options were under consideration, including fire engines.

According to reports, officials were also considering a boric acid drop.

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Masami Nishimura, an official of the country's nuclear safety agency, said that boric acid is "important because it captures radiation and helps prevent radiation from leaking".

He said that the government had also ordered TEPCO to immediately spray water on reactor No. 4.

"Both reactors 1 and 3 have no roof after earlier blasts, making it easy to dump water onto them," Fox News quoted Nishimura, as saying.

"Reactor No. 4 has holes in the building, allowing fire trucks to spray water inside," he added.

Boric acid contains boron, which helps slow nuclear reactions by absorbing neutrons, said Naj Meshkati, a nuclear power plant safety expert at the University of Southern California.

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All six of the plants reactors are experiencing problems following last Friday's earthquake and tsunami, in which an estimated 10,000 people have died.  

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