Progress at Japan reactors as disaster death toll rises

Japan hoped power lines restored to its stricken nuclear plant may help solve the world’s worst atomic crisis in 25 years, triggered by an earthquake and tsunami that also left more than 21,000 people dead or missing.

The Asian nation’s people are in shock at both the ongoing battle to avert deadly radiation at the six-reactor Fukushima plant and a still-rising death toll from the March 11 disaster.

The world’s third largest economy has suffered an estimated $250 billion of damage with entire towns in the northeast obliterated in Japan’s darkest moment since World War Two.

Tokyo’s markets are closed for a holiday on Monday.

Elsewhere, investors will be weighing risks to the global economy from Japan’s multiple crisis, along with conflict in Libya and other unrest in the Arab world.

Easing Japan’s gloom briefly, local TV showed one moving survival tale: an 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson rescued from their damaged home after nine days.

At Fukushima, around 300 engineers were working round-the-clock inside an evacuation zone to contain the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986.

They have been spraying the coastal complex with sea-water so fuel rods will not overheat and emit radiation. Hopes for a more permanent solution depend on connecting electricity cables to reactivate on-site water pumps at each of the reactors.

Read the rest of the story: Some progress at Japan reactors as disaster toll rises.

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