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Japan Promises Aid for U.S. Flooding; Workers Return to Nuclear Plant
May 2, 2011

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Responding in kind to a huge relief effort in response to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Japan announced that it would deliver blankets and other supplies to victims of the deadly tornadoes and thunderstorms that ripped through the American South, killing more than 300 people.

The announcement came from the office of Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto, who was on a visit to Washington, D.C. Matsumoto said that the supplies would come from a warehouse in Miami that stores supplies normally sent to disasters in Central and South America.

In Japan, workers returned to the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor building most damaged by the 9.0-magnitude quake, intent on installing a ventilator to try to lower levels of radiation. The filter is designed to absorb radioactive particles from the air, and workers will also install ducts to filter air within the building.

The building, rocked by explosions that sheared away most levels of protection and resulted in damage to the reactor's cooling systems that resulted in large amounts of radiation leaking into the surrounding soil and water, has until now been entered only by robots. The most recent robot expedition found that radiation levels had dropped enough for workers to enter safely. Even so, workers stayed inside the building only 10 minutes at a time, working in shifts and carrying their own oxygen tanks.

The longer range plan is for Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to reinstall cooling systems on the way to making the plant inhabitable by the end of the year.



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