In Japan, Tokyo Electric Power Co. workers have begun "the unprecedented and potentially risky measure" of flooding the containment vessels of three troubled Fukushima nuclear reactors with water. The Asahi Shimbun reports that this is the first known attempt ever in the world to saturate an entire containment vessel with water in order to cool the pressure vessels inside, and in turn, cool the reactor cores within.
In related news, TEPCO has released to the public for the first time a map of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant detailing radiation levels throughout the site.
The map released Sunday shows high levels of radiation in different parts of the site, including 300 millisieverts per hour from debris near the No. 3 reactor, the outer building of which was damaged in a hydrogen explosion more than a month ago. The map, which shows radiation levels at about 230 locations within the nuclear plant complex, indicates the dangers of working at the plant for long periods.
A TEPCO spokesperson said the information revealed by the map would not affect the timetable for stabilizing the reactors that was released by the firm this month.
"It'll take more than six months to remove all the debris from the site. Data included in the survey map were taken into consideration when the timetable [for stabilizing the reactors] was compiled," the spokesperson said.
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