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article imageWorkers enter Fukushima Nuclear power plant for first time

By Leo Reyes     May 5, 2011 in Environment
For the first time since the devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami hit the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in northeastern Japan, workers were able to enter one of the reactor buildings of the disabled plant.
Workers have installed a ventilation system to filter radioactive materials from air. The recent earthquake has disabled the reactor's cooling systems causing the fuel rods to overheat.
There were 12 engineers who worked inside the reactor building. They worked in shifts of 10 minutes for about an hour according to Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)
"The ventilator system and filters are reported to be running", the TEPCO report said
Tepco said it would then take about three days to vent the contaminated air, filter it, and return purified air to the building - allowing workers to remain inside the reactor for longer periods.
"After that we plan to start work on actually installing the cooling system," spokesman Naoyuki Matsumoto said.
Three other reactors have to be dealt with the same way as the first reactor.
TEPCO engineers are hoping the overheating reactors will be neutralized before the end of the year for a possible cold shutdown.
A 20-kilometer evacuation zone is in effect in areas surrounding the nuclear power plant.
"A total of A total of 14,358 people were confirmed dead by Japan's National Police Agency, 11,889 were missing" since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan, the guardian reports.
136,000 people living within 30 km of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, but outside the 20-km radius, have been advised by the government to also consider leaving, the report added.
More about fukushima nuclear plant, Radiation leak, japanese earthquake, japan tsunami
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