March 17th, 2011
08:58 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Working to Restore Power at Nuclear Plant

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/17/japan.nuclear.reactors/c1main.radiation.girl.afp.gi.jpg caption="A girl is checked for possible radiation exposure in Japan. " width=300 height=169]

Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° tonight beginning at 10pm ET to get the latest from Anderson Cooper and CNN's team of correspondents and producers on the ground in Japan. We'll also have the latest out of Libya.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Workers in Japan are scrambling to cool the damaged reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. After deploying water cannons and helicopters to dump water on the facility, officials are now working to restore power at the site.

Engineers have an emergency diesel generator running at the No. 6 reactor, which is also supplying power to reactor No. 5.  There's also been confusing reports on efforts to install a cable to restore power to reactor No. 2. Citing Japanese authorities, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the power cord reached the unit and would be connected after the spraying of water on the No. 3 reactor was completed.

But a Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)spokesman said the electrical line is not connected, though they hoped it would be by Friday night.

Meanwhile, we're getting new details on the health of those workers risking their lives at the plant. According to the IAEA, at least 20 people have fallen ill because of possible radiation contamination. The agency also reports 19 people were injured and two are missing at the plant.

There are also breaking developments on Libya. The U.N. Security Council voted tonight to impose "all necessary measures", including a no-fly zone, as forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi approach a key rebel stronghold.

"Today the security council has responded to the Libyan people's cry for help," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said.

The resolution was approved with 10 votes, including the U.S. There were no opposing votes of the 15-member council, but Russia, China, Germany, India and Brazil abstained.

It's unclear when the international community might take military action in Libya.

A defiant Gadhafi addressed his country on the radio earlier today.

"Let the whole world launch war against us. Bomb us even with atomic bombs. This is our country. We will never give up."

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Jeanine

    The "glint" that is shown on the video taken by the helicopter fly-by of the plant appears to be a green glow reflecting off what appears to be a crane inside the plant. The source of the green glow would be the pool. That glow can only occur as radiation interacts with water. Therefore, there must be water in the pool. However there is no way for Tepco to know how much water is in the pool unless they stand at the edge of the pool and look down. I don't think Tepco is trying to be deceitful, when they say they do not know. No one knows at this time, including the American official that testified that there is no water in the pool. Unless he looked, he is just guessing. I don't think anyone has looked as the radiation level is too high. A robot or drone may be able to do so.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  2. Charles E. Bennett

    The technology exists to seal the reactors using lead/titanium alloy based ceramic as used previously to seal nuclear waste. The objects of resistance are the private utilities owner's need to preserve assets, the Japanese government's need to save face and the limited test scenario experience of the reactor safety directors. Cool, experienced heads need to prevail here now concentrating on completely sealing the crippled reactors.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  3. Rhonda

    What about hauling chunks of ice out of the north and dropping them on the those spent rods?

    March 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  4. Carol Lynch

    Is anyone talking about entombing these reactors in cement like Gorbachev did with Chernobyl to stop the increasing radiation?

    March 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  5. john dutzy

    If you look at reactor 4 its right next to the water. Put it into a computer and you will see what it will take to make a wave that will soak the reactor.
    It will work. Striffing 2000 pounders or a nuke to make another wave.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  6. Marianne B. Copp

    Let's assume that the worse with Japan's nuclear plants is inevitable, and it seems pretty close. What would be the affected radius? Should people on that radius be already moving out? A last minute effort could be just catastrophic in itself when millions try to leave at once.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  7. Ron Wilson

    I would just like to say that it's not the workers at the neuclear plant's fault for the failer of the plant or the non-capability of get things undercontrol. If upper management would have had the correct safegards in place and equipment updated, the employee's wouldn't have to be risking there lives. GOD BLESS JAPAN!!!

    March 17, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
  8. Hadassa

    The workers of the plant should be taken care of for the rest of their lives. Their food, rent, medical, and schooling for their children. I have up most respect for these workers in this plant because they are making the ultimate sacrifice to protect others at a heavy cost of their own lives. May they be blessed in all of their efforts.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  9. dot

    Anderson, The recator that your looking at from above could what you are actually seeing as water is ice because of the cold tempature there. And could the cold tempatures be helping to cool it also. Maybe the cold weather is a blessing.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  10. Hilary Stookey

    Even if they get the power up and running, they must replace the water, surely? It's not going to work to rely on the trucks and the helicopters....

    So, how are they going to be replacing the water?

    March 17, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  11. Dave Waerren

    For Jim Walsh on Fukushima reactor cooling:

    Why not get a petrol generated pump placed on an anchored mobile inflatable raft/dock and move it into the bay closest to the reactor. supplied by a small tanker full of fuel for the generator.

    Bring in a pre-fab scaffold or take apart in transportable pieces- a roller coaster scaffold -one that is closest to the site- or electrical transmission towers for example.
    quickly put them into place by stanchioning w/ cables after lifting w/tower cranes.

    Then build an 8" pvc pipeline to the highpoint of the head via the scaffold. On the down run from the highpoint, make the pipe somewhat flexible so that it can be moved around by the crews on the ground who have large bobcats/ tractors that are jerry rigged with adaptors that hold the hose while they maneuver them into position...

    March 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  12. Witte Michagan

    Hello Anderson cooper.

    Keep up the great work you do so well with your reporting.

    Please review the video that you are showing tonight.

    Look close you will ss one of those giant domes
    the (LID) laying on its side.

    I dont know what building but check it out.

    Thanks Witte

    March 17, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  13. William

    Anderson – Why can't the a drone with camera be used to fly close to all reactors to determine the level of water in pools.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  14. Jill Barefoot

    Anderson, please ask or explain if I missed it already. How is it possible that we can't get eyes inside those reactors. Bomb robots, any robots, fiber optics, even the hummingbird camera I've seen sold on TV! Do I watch too much TV, or would the radiation prevent any of those options from working? With all our inovation, I just don't understand. My heart goes out to all of Japan and to those that MUST find a solution with time and so much against them.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  15. Paul Hetrick

    consider discussing how many off shift workers are not available because they probably lived near the power plant. I'm an SRO at a BWR with a Mark 3 containment. We have operators on call for an emergency, but how to you make it to work when an act of nature wipes out your homes and probably access to the plant. I'm thinking all the extra help couldn't make it to work. Maybe a lot of the of shift licensed operators were injured or killed in the flood that lived near the plant.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  16. Zach

    They could lower (not drop) a loading bucket with 3-4 tons of ice about 10-20 lbs each w/ wenches that have been added to helicopter. Load after load. The ice would melt, turn into water and cool fuel rods.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  17. Mr. Anonymous

    The reason there is no damage control is because they would be exposed to lethal levels of radiation.

    Water cooling for a reactor is very complicated, you have to factor in water temperature, salinity, pressure, and many other factors. If the water is too cold it could compound the problem and make things worse.

    Dumping water is a waste of time anyways, the water is vaporizing before it gets anywhere close to the rods, that is why you still see steam billowing out.

    What they need to do is focus 100% on evacuating everyone in the area, the contamination levels are extremely high. People will be effected for the rest of their lives from ingesting contamination. When they use the contamination probes at the airport that only shows what is on the surface, not what you have inside you.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  18. John

    Why doesn't the Japanese government ask TEPCO step aside and bring in experts from aorund the world who have already offered help and gain control of the situation and start giving honest and accurate status in a timely fashion. I keep seeing the same videos and pictures and lack of information for days. Absolutely nothing new or accurate.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  19. Ray

    Why don't the use a helicopter drone to look and phograpy what the actual situation is instead of guessing?

    March 17, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  20. Tom Vranich

    Since dropping water from helicopters seems ineffective, how about lowering LARGE blocks of ice into the reactors? Must be a better way!

    March 17, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  21. Laxmi


    Please forward to Japanese government:

    Instead of having helicopters drop water please ask them to drop "large water balloons" into the nuclear reactor to cool the exposed nuclear rods. These will be more precise rather than what they are doing. These large water balloons can be made easily by welding large pieces of plastic together.

    March 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  22. Henry Gil

    Andreson, GOD Bless you man and your Doctor CNN friend, "no greater love is there to put your own life on the line for those of your brother" Same for the nuclear operators of Tesco Japan. No one is perfect especially ina time of crisis, can fault anybody, look at Kathtina a bunch of mistakes, yes ib the end its all in good faith. Good bless us all.


    March 17, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  23. TODD

    I work for a water transfer service company we use high rate pumps providing water to fracture oil & gas wells we use 10" aluminum pipe to discharge water up to 100 barrels per minute. These pumps can be set at far distance from the danger and fill the tanks. This is an ideal to try.

    March 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  24. Linda

    Can the Japanese bring in their whaling ships which have water jets they use to ward of the Sea Shepard boats? Would the jets reach the reactors? Just an idea to possibly help using their own forces.

    March 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  25. Darren Olson

    Watching CNN I am continually amazed at how inefficient the damage control continues to happen at the Nuclear plant.

    When I was in the Navy every member of the ships crew was trained in damage control.

    Please get some Navy trained firemen in to set up vital power and portable water pumps to provide water the spent fuel tanks.

    Gas turbine fire pumps are portable and get pump water from 18 stories up. Put a couple on
    the roof and let it run continuously.

    I don't understand why it is so difficult to solve this water cooling problem

    March 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  26. Jack

    I thought Japan was more advanced in robotics. Too bad people have to give their lives to put a band-aid on a monster!

    March 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  27. Terry

    Why dosn't the US give Japan DRONE helicopter to see if there is water in the holding tanks.

    March 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm |

    No one has addressed this issue yet.Please ask Anderson. What quality of sea water did the Japanese use to cool thoses reactors? If there was mud or debris in this water from the tsunomy,than the fuel rods would be packed with hardened mud therefore unable to cool and raising the heat level as no water can get to the bottom of the rods. You may never find out as they will keep this secret.
    Huge generaters are available and huge pumps are available but they knew they could not use these as it was too late from day one

    March 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  29. Annie Kate

    I'm surprised that Germany abstained from the vote; I hope that in the story tonight you will tell us why Germany as well as the others abstained. I just hope that this move saves some lives and isn't too little too late.

    I'm not surprised there are people at the reactors getting sick. I hope they can recover and haven't been exposed to a fatal dose of radiation. They are very brave people to stay, knowing the dangers, but staying anyway to try to contain the damage from spreading and getting worse.

    March 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  30. Mr. Anonymous

    It's not radiation people should be worried about, it contamination. They are seeing levels as high as 10,000,000 micro micro curies!! That's 250000 X's the normal. Everyone within a 100 mile radius is breathing this in which has devastating effects on the body (blood, bone marrow, liver). They will all have to be internally monitored and decontaminated.

    March 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm |